Benjamin (1968 film)

Benjamin (original title: Benjamin ou les Mémoires d'un puceau; U.S title: The Diary of an Innocent Boy) is a 1968 French comedy film directed by Michel Deville who co-wrote the screenplay with Nina Companéez.

Film poster
Directed byMichel Deville
Produced byMag Bodard
Written byMichel Deville
Nina Companéez
StarringMichèle Morgan
Catherine Deneuve
Pierre Clémenti
Michel Piccoli
Music byJean Wiener
CinematographyGhislain Cloquet
Edited byNina Companeez
Marianne Productions
Parc Film
Distributed byLes Films Paramount
Release date
  • 12 January 1968 (1968-01-12)
Running time
90 minutes
Box office2,542,714 admissions (France)[1]

"Benjamin was a role that I really liked," said Deneuve later. "It was a comedy, but in the spirit and tone particular."[2]


In the eighteenth century, seventeen-year-old virgin Benjamin comes with his old servant to stay at the estate of his aunt, Countess de Valandry, who is having an affair with Count Philippe. Benjamin is pursued by various woman, including the beautiful Anne, who really loves Philippe.



Filming began in June 1967.[3] The day before, Catherine Deneuve's sister and fellow actress Françoise Dorléac had died in a car accident.

"It is a painful time in my life," she later recalled. "I was in a cloud. I shot like a misty PLC. Fortunately, grief did not score the film."[2]


Box Office

The film was the eleventh most popular movie at the French box office in 1968.[4]

Critical response

The critic for The Guardian claimed that "the dialogue is stylish without being witty and it is continuously and tiresomely arch."[5] The Los Angeles Times said the film was "as superlatively acted as it is photographed and scored".[6] The Washington Post said the film "has little to be said for it except is evidently authentic chateux".[7]

Pauline Kael wrote that Pierre Clementi "indicates adolescent innocence by being loose-limbed and girlish. It is essential for the boy to suggest the kind of man he will become once he has learned what everyone is so eager to teach him, but Clémenti looks as though he would become a lesbian."[8]


  1. Box office information for Catherine Deneuve films at Box Office Story
  2. Interview with Catherine Denuenve, Catherine Deneuve Tribute site accessed 15 Sept 2014
  3. Eva Renzie in 'Pink Jungle' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 28 June 1967: e11.
  4. "French Box Office 1968". Box Office Story.
  5. Death by adventure Lennon, Peter. The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 22 Jan 1968: 6.
  6. 'Benjamin' Playing at Plaza Theater Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 11 Apr 1968: 31.
  7. 'Kinetic Art' Diverting Bill By Richard L. Coe. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) [Washington, D.C] 06 Apr 1968: C6.
  8. Pierre Clementi obituary, The Guardian January 2000 accessed 13 September 2014
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