Leopold Lindtberg

Scen.: Richard Schweizer. F.: Emil Berna. M.: Hermann Haller. Mus.: Robert Blum. Int.: Josiane Hegg (Marie-Louise Fleury), Heinrich Gretler (direttore Ruegg), Anne-Marie Blanc (Heidi Ruegg), Margrit Winter (Anna Ruegg), Armin Schweizer (istitutore Bänninger), Mathilde Danegger (Päuli), Fred Tanner (Robert Scheibli), Emil Gerber (Ernst Schwarzenbach), Pauline Carton (signora Gilles), Marcel Merminod (signor Bertheau). Prod.: Lazar Wechsler per Praesens-Film. DCP. D.: 115’. Bn. 

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

In 1943, Lindtberg and the screenwriter Richard Schweizer took in hand the fate of the children lost in the torment of the world conflict with the film Marie-Louise. […]
Its quasi-documentary approach, unembellished scenes and generous intentions set the tone for all subsequent Praesens films. This melodrama depicts the stay in Switzerland of a little French girl, rescued from an air raid and selected by the Red Cross, along with a convoy of undernourished children, to spend three months with a Zurich family. Thus for the first time a taboo personage appeared on the screen: the refugee. The war of 1939-45 and its atrocities was finally irrupting into the Swiss national cinema,  but  still  under a politically neutral, non-compromising aspect. Along with the familiar faces of the Swiss cinema (Gretler, Anne-Marie Blanc, etc.), Lindtberg added numerous amateurs as well as an abundance of exteriors and a mixture of idioms (French and dialect), which give the film an unusual note of realism; the desire to get out of the studio and shoot scenes on the street is already manifest. An authentic refugee played the title role. Lindtberg hoped most of all to show the psychological problems posed by the temporary asylum of foreign children in a region spared from the war, the alienation of the child, its slow ada tation to the host families, followed by the forced return to hell. […]
Seen by one million people throughout Switzerland when it was released and given a triumphal distribution everywhere in Europe after the War, it was indeed the crowning work of Praesens. The English-speaking public seemed particularly captivated by the film; in March 1946 Marie-Louise won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award, the first ever given to a non-American production. For Wechsler, this universally coveted award opened up the best-guarded gates in Hollywood.

Hervé Dumont

Copy From

courtesy of Praesens-Film e SRF. Restored in 2011 by courtesy of Cinémathèque suisse in collaboration with Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, Ecublens at Egli Film & Video laboratory from the original nitrate negatives. With funding provided by Memoriav