Le Grand Amour

Synopsis: Pierre married Florence, the only daughter of a small industrialist. 15 years later, he is the boss, but his middle-class life worries him a lot. When a new young and lovely secretary comes, he starts dreaming.
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director(s): Pierre Étaix
Production: Criterion Collection
  1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
87 min

The hours pass

And I wait for you

With a beating heart

The hours pass

And I wait for you

With a beating heart

It's just a long journey

To the land of infidelity

Go on, you'll come back wiser

With more maturity

I wait for you, while others

Can enjoy tender days

Love is a countdown

I love you and always will

I wait for you

It had all started badly.

Oh, yes...

very badly indeed.

In those days, I remember -

this was four or five years back -

I'd just finished

my military service,

and when I came home,

I met Irne...

waiting for me at the station,

right where she'd seen me off

18 months earlier.

Sweet Irne!

So I'd just finished

my military service,

and when I came home,

I met Irne

waiting for me at the station,

right where she'd seen me off

18 months earlier...

with Martine.

Charming Martine!

Irne, Martine, and I

had known each other a long time.

We were inseparable

childhood friends.

We lived in the provinces,

in the same city...

all three of us.

Depending on the days

and their moods,

I'd go out with Martine,

or I'd go out with Irne.

Sometimes I'd even go out with both,

especially on Sundays.

We'd go dancing together.

We'd take walks

when the weather was nice.

I remember...

there was also -

what was her name again?


She was nice, Thrse.

She was very sweet,

and from a good family.

Her father was a notary

and regional councillor.

Her mother did watercolors.

They'd given her

an excellent education -

Latin, piano, sewing.

They'd taught her everything.

In those days,

when I knew her,

she'd just finished

her schooling at the convent.

But quickly,

too quickly, she went bad.

But when I think about it,

I could just as well

have married Martine.

Why not?

Martine... or Irne.

And even lots of others.


who would become my wife,

I first met on the terrace

of the Caf de Paris.

No, that's not right.

It wasn't on the terrace,

but inside

the Caf de Paris.

Not so.

I know what I'm saying.

It was on the terrace.

What am I talking about!

It wasn't the terrace...

Make up your mind!

The terrace is the terrace.

Inside is inside.

I'm starting to get -

It's hot.

Let's go sit on the terrace.

Yes, on the terrace.

After that, obviously,

Florence and I

saw each other again.

We'd meet as if by chance...

as chance would have it.

So, without realizing it,

we began going out together.

More and more often,

almost on a daily basis.

It easily becomes a habit.


Then one thing

leads to another, like it or not.

You never know

how these things happen...

but they happen.

For Florence and me,

it all happened so fast.

I didn't even realize.

One fine day in spring,

Florence suddenly decided

to invite me to her home.

She got it into her head

to have me meet her parents.

An obsession.

And I said all right, of course...

totally unsuspecting.


Go in.


Pleased to meet you.


Pleased to meet you.

Mr. and Mrs. Girard

were utterly charming people.

I should have known.

My grandmother.

Florence adored her parents,

especially her mother.

And her parents adored her.

There were pictures of her

all over the house.

Is that you?

You studied dance?

- A little.

- I like dance.

Will you have a drink?

I declined all drink and smoke,

as if I had no faults.

This might amuse you, children.

Shall we?

You'd think I was trying hard

to make a good impression.

I succeeded only too well.

- Who's this little girl?

- That's Papa.

That's cousin Elisa.

Your grandmother's goddaughter.

And that's her husband...

who's up there in the frame.

He was killed in World War I.

That's Uncle Firmin.

I didn't know him,

but they say I look like him.

I don't know who that is.

That's Uncle Albert.

Papa says he was funny

around company.

Do you recognize her?

That's me, at Florence's age.

So there.

In just a few moments

I'd met the entire family.

A fine family.

From that moment on,

events snowballed.

The very next day,

Mr. Girard invited me

to visit his plant.

Quite a fine plant, of course.

A tannery,

and a successful one at that.

It had been founded

by his grandfather in 1894.

He told me the whole story.

He was very proud of his plant,

and with good reason.

He showed me around

the buildings and workshops,

as well as the offices,

of course.

He introduced me

to the secretary.

Madame Louise, our secretary.

My future son-in-law.

Madame Louise welcomed me

with her most gracious smile.

I had the distinct impression

things were going badly for me.

Everything was getting

worse and worse.

Florence was an only child,

and Mr. Girard made it clear

there was a place for me

in his business...

in his tannery.

I'd have so liked

to be a musician!

A musician or a pilot...

or even...

So one fine day

I found myself engaged.

I chose a ring for Florence.

Of course.

This is the one you chose?

So naturally I had

to break up with Martine.

And break up with Irne.

And I so hate hurting people.

Ah, Florence.

What can I say about Florence?

She was exquisite.

As her mother

kept telling me day after day:

"She's so well-behaved.

She's so gentle, so charming.

And she can do everything.

And she loves you so much.

What more can you ask for?

She has so many fine qualities."

Yes, Florence had

so many fine qualities

that one day I decided

to go see her mother and say:

Madame Girard,

I've thought it over.

I don't think

I'm ready for marriage.

I'm fond of Florence,

but I've decided not to marry her.



their marriage doesn't seem

to be doing too well.

No, it doesn't.

Just because they're always

arm in arm doesn't mean -

But they don't need our pity.

No, the factory

seems to be doing well.

With a business like that,

you bet they're doing well.

I don't know if they're doing well,

but I can tell you she's worn

the same coat the last 10 years.

And she's quite the fussy one!

At the plant,

they say he's vile to the staff.


Well, I'm not surprised.

You haven't noticed the way

he looks at you?

He must have quite a temper!

It can't be a picnic

for her every day.

You know,

she must have a temper too.

If everybody only spoke

their mind!

Simple enough:

It seems that at home,

morning and night, they never let up.

It's hell!

I know all about it.


who knows them told me.

- Who told you?

- I can't say.

But believe you me, it's hell!

It's a crying shame!

People who have

all they need to be happy.


that's how things are.

Everyone has their woes.

As you say...

everyone has their woes.

I have to run.

So soon?

I have a long day ahead.

- Eat enough, honey?

- Fine. Excellent.

Suzanne, you may clear.

All right?

See you tonight.

Don't forget dinner at my parents'.

It's Wednesday.

You know what I just saw?

You don't say!

Thanks so much.

Bye, and thanks again.

Hello, my dear.

How are you?

- You know what I just heard?

- Heavens, no!

I'll let you go.

See you soon, my dear.

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Pierre Étaix

Pierre Étaix (French: [etɛks]; 23 November 1928 – 14 October 2016) was a French clown, comedian and filmmaker. Étaix made a series of short- and feature-length films in the 1960s, many of them co-written by influential screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. He won an Academy Award for best live action short film in 1963. Due to a legal dispute with a distribution company, his films were unavailable from the 1970s until 2009.As an actor, assistant director and gag writer, Étaix worked with the likes of Jacques Tati, Robert Bresson, Nagisa Oshima, Otar Iosseliani and Jerry Lewis, the last of whom cast the comedian in his unreleased film The Day the Clown Cried. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Le Grand Amour" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 Jul 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/le_grand_amour_9254>.

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