T. it.: Il diario di una cameriera; Sog.: dall’omonimo romanzo di Octave Mirbeau e dalla commedia di André Heuse, André de Lorde, Thielly Nores; Scen.: Jean Renoir, Burgess Meredith; F.: Lucien Andriot; M.: James Smith; Scgf.: Eugène Lourié; Cost.: Barbara Karinska, Laure Lourie; Trucco: Otis Malcolm; Mu.: Michel Michelet; Su.: William H. Lynch; Effetti speciali: Lee Zavitz; Ass. R.: Joseph Depew; Int.: Paulette Goddard (Célestine), Burgess Meredith (capitano Mauger), Hurd Hatfield (Georges Lanlaire), Francis Lederer (Joseph), Judith Anderson (Mme Lanlaire), Florence Bates (Rose), Irene Ryan (Louise), Reginald Owen (capitano Lanlaire), Almira Sessions (Marianne); Prod.: Benedict Bogeaus, Burgess Meredith per Camden Productions 35mm. D.: 87’.
I can’t help thinking that this film is incredibly cheeky. Even if it is not Jean Renoir’s greatest movie it is undoubtedly the most original and personal of his Hollywood period. Compared to the cowardly formulas of the studios, this film has an unprecedented boldness. What we see here is a festive, proliferating gallery of monsters. Perversions of all kinds. Behavioural metastasis. This is “artlessness” that scares the life out of you. More scornful than Cordelier, Diary of Chambermaid is the sort of film that is scarily joyful, spine chillingly amusing and amused. The characters are the same hybrid creatures (somewhere between the human and the zoological) that the director has always filled his films with, perhaps out of a certain love for regression and bestiality (Michel Simon in Boudu, Jean-Louis Barrault in Cordelier). Here Renoir really enjoys himself as he bangs the bass drum in an outrageous hullabaloo that is clearly more of a witches’ Sabbath than a mid- night mass.
Claude Miller, Cahiers du cinéma, juillet/août 1994