My Gleanings

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Carné's atmosphere

Probably, the most famous quote in any French film is, "Atmosphere, atmosphere, est-ce que j'ai une gueule d'atmosphere?" ("Atmosphere, atmosphere, do I have a face full of atmosphere?") was written by screenwriter Henri Jeanson for Marcel Carné's Hotel du Nord.

In this short note, Jean Aurenche explains how Arletty’s famous dialogue in Hotel du Nord came to be written. It is from Aurenche’s memoirs “La Suite à l’Ecran” and was reprinted in “Jeanson par Jeanson” (page 551)
"Jeanson wrote all the dialogue but he had serious difficulties with Carné. One day, he exploded at me, “Every time I try to speak to Carné about a scene or a dramatic conflict, he gives me a mechanical response, ‘Yes, but I am afraid that then there will be less atmosphere. Because, understand this, for me, atmosphere is essential,’ or ‘ Okay, but add another train, the haziness will create atmosphere’. I am beginning to become fed up with his atmosphere” ...It was thus that he got the idea for Arletty’s harangue. where, in reality, he was getting back at Carné.

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