The Grand Maneuver

Synopsis: A French lieutenant makes a bet that he can seduce any woman in town in the two weeks before his regiment leaves for maneuvers, but his chosen target (a Parisian divorcée) isn't like other girls he's known.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): René Clair
  3 wins & 1 nomination.
106 min

- Have you seen the time?

- Ready in two minutes.

That's what you think.

- What?

- She's upstairs.

- Who?

- The lady you were meeting last night.


Heavens, I forgot.

What did you say?

- Exactly what she said.

- Oh, dear.

My darling. What a lovely surprise.

Is it really you?

I can hardly believe my eyes.

When did you arrive?

You haven't been here all night?

I was on duty last night,

as a favour to a fellow officer.

If only I'd known.

- Why didn't you warn me?

- Didn't you receive my letter?

And I must be off,

we're on manoeuvres today.

Parades, brass bands, you know...

They're waiting for me.

- You didn't get my letter?

- But if only I had. Just think...

A whole night with you.

What a dream.

What did you tell your family?

That you were taking the morning train?

You're so clever.

Tonight, as soon I'm off duty,

I'll wait for you here.

But this morning, France needs me.

I waited for you all night.

France can wait a few minutes.

- A few minutes?

- To answer my question.

- You didn't receive my letter?

- If I had received it...

Then it would be in this drawer?

And here it is, unsealed.

Darling, I can explain everything.

But not now.

- Come back later.

- Now's the time for explanations.

- What did you throw out of the window?

- The key.

The key?

- Cavalryman.

- Yes, sir?

- Find the key that's fallen down there.

- Where?

I don't know. Look for it.

You see? A moment's anger

and the whole town is informed.

- I'm thinking of your reputation.

- But you leave my letter next to these.

Monsieur Armand de la Verne,

Yvonne, Rose...

Therese, who can't spell, Odette...

There are even two Odettes.

My dearest...

- My men are in the saddle.

- Is that your only answer?

I will answer you tonight, here,

when you return.

- There's no more to be said.

- Gisele.


My darling, I would have told you...

Sir. The key.

My brother has closed the window,

I can hear you better now.

My brother? Yes.

- Are you coming to the Red Cross Ball?

- I don't know yet.

He's definitely coming.

My sister asks if Lieutenant de la Verne

has taken care of the singer?

I shall ask the colonel. Olivier.

Isn't Lieutenant de la Verne

a friend of Mille Therese?

I'm no authority on his affairs.

Do you know this Therese?

- Will you always remember him?

- "Always" is only for love songs.

- And that one?

- She's a young lady.

- I thought he might even marry her.

- And?

That's when he met Gisele.

- No, that's Leontine. This is Gisele.

- And the young lady?

- The police chief's daughter.

- The one who's getting married?

Come, now. If you'd told me,

I'd have met you at the station.

There's no need to cry.

- You like Dragoons, do you?

- Yes, Mime Mathilde.

You can look as much as you like

through the window.

But take my advice. When they're here,

don't look too closely.

- Until tonight, la Verne.

- Until tonight.

Tell me, my sweet. Won't you look at me?

- Mime Mathilde told me.

- Not to look at men?

She's right. All of these gentlemen

are very friendly,

but if one of them becomes too friendly,

don't listen to him.

- And come and tell me. You understand?

- No, sir.

I'll explain.

One of them stops you as you pass by.

Then, playfully, he takes your hand.

Stop. He's already gone too far.

Because if he holds your hand,

he'll hold your waist

and if he holds your waist,

he'll try to kiss you.

And he mustn't.

You have plenty of time.

We'll talk again.

Come along. The Red Cross.

- The colonel's wife awaits.

- Forward march.

A soldier's life

is discipline, duty, sacrifice.

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René Clair

René Clair (11 November 1898 – 15 March 1981) born René-Lucien Chomette, was a French filmmaker and writer. He first established his reputation in the 1920s as a director of silent films in which comedy was often mingled with fantasy. He went on to make some of the most innovative early sound films in France, before going abroad to work in the UK and USA for more than a decade. Returning to France after World War II, he continued to make films that were characterised by their elegance and wit, often presenting a nostalgic view of French life in earlier years. He was elected to the Académie française in 1960. Clair's best known films include The Italian Straw Hat (1928), Under the Roofs of Paris (1930), Le Million (1931), À nous la liberté (1931), I Married a Witch (1942), and And Then There Were None (1945). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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