Scen.: Jacques Becker, Maurice Griffe. F.: Claude Renoir. M.: Marguerite Renoir. Scgf.: Robert-Jules Garnier. Mus.: Jean Wiener, Mezz Mezzrow, Claude Luter. Int.: Daniel Gélin (Lucien Bonnard), Maurice Ronet (Roger Moulin), Brigitte Auber (Thérèse Richard), Pierre Trabaud (Pierre Rabut), Bernard Lajarrige (Guillaume Rousseau), Gaston Modot (il professore), Louis Seigner (Levase), Philippe Mareuil (François Courcel), Francis Mazières (Frédéric), Louisa Colpeyn (Betty). Prod.: U.G.C., S.N.E.G. – Société Nouvelle des Établissements Gaumont. DCP. D.: 99’. Bn.
Jazz remains the symbol of the affirmation of youth. It is by searching for the purity of the old New Orleans style that Claude Luter defined, albeit in a rather bizarre fashion, a movement that ended up establishing a sense of fraternity between French youth and the equally oppressed American blacks. Luter and his orchestra officiated in the first cellar to open in rue des Carmes, Lorientais. Even though I have little inclination for religious turns of phrase, in this case it is necessary to think in such terms. Only the ‘initiates’ frequented these new ‘catacombs’ in which real ‘collective ecstasies’ frequently took place. And so it is good that Becker carefully selected Lorientais as one of the ‘places’ in his film, because here you can find youth in its purest state – hard-up but sure of itself and of the value (imperceptible at the time) of that to which they consecrated and sacrificed a great deal. Here, too, there is a bohême and its anecdotes would be similar to those of others, but in much harsher conditions.
Raymond Queneau, in Raymond Queneau, Jean Queval, Rendez-vous de juillet, Chavane, Paris 1949