Le Blé en herbe (1954 film)

Le Blé en herbe (English title: The Game of Love) is a 1954 French film by Claude Autant-Lara based on the 1923 novel of the same name by French novelist Colette. The film stars Edwige Feuillère, Pierre-Michel Beck (as Philippe), Nicole Berger (as Vinca Ferret), Robert Berri and Louis de Funès. It is black and white with a monaural soundtrack.


The plot involves the relationship between a young man and an older woman,[1] or in one critic's summary, "an older woman ... introduces a teenager ... to the mysteries of love".[2]


Promotional materials for the film presented it as "the story of two adolescents' love affair and its interruption by an older woman" and called attention to the controversy the film had generated in France.[3] Feuillère was born in 1907, Beck in 1938.


The film was awarded the 1954 Grand Prix du Cinéma Français[1]


In the United States it was subject to a series of attempts to prevent its screening. It received a Class C or "condemned" rating from the Roman Catholic National Legion of Decency.[4] The film was banned in Massachusetts until a court ruling in July 1955 considering the case of Miss Julie, a 1951 Swedish film, held the state's motion picture censorship law unconstitutional.[5] Boston officials were unable to ban it but termed it "unwholesomely immoral".[6] A similar ban in Baltimore was overturned by a Maryland court.[7] The film's distributors sued unsuccessfully in federal court to overturn Chicago's ban. Eleven of the twelve jurors who viewed the film with U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Sam Perry supported his assessment that the film was "immoral and obscene".[8] After the Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, the distributors, the Times Film Corporation, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in November 1957 that the film did not meet the standard the Court used for determining obscenity, that is, appealing to prurient interest. The justices viewed the film and upheld Chicago's obscenity statute but objected to its application to this film.[7][9]


The literal translation of the French title is Ripening Wheat.[1]

See also


  1. "Controversial Film Honored" (PDF). New York Times. May 18, 1954. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  2. "Film Series and Movies Listings". New York Times. July 1, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  3. Weiler, A.H. (November 28, 1954). "Of Pictures and People" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  4. "Of Local Origin" (PDF). New York Times. January 28, 1955. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  5. "Censoring of Films in Bay State Voided" (PDF). New York Times. July 7, 1955. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  6. "Boston Passes Film". New York Times. August 2, 1955.
  7. Huston, Luther A. (November 13, 1957). "High Court Voids Chicago Film Ban" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  8. "U.S. Judge Upholds Chicago Ban on Film". New York Times. March 22, 1956.
  9. Lewis, Anthony (November 24, 1957). "Justices Viewed Censored Movie" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
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