Cast & Crew
Boston schoolteacher Elizabeth Rockwell arrives by ship in the French Riviera to claim a castle she has inherited from her grandfather. She is met at the dock by Mons. Poisson, an elderly real estate agent, who has handled her grandfather's affairs. As they drive to the castle, Elizabeth tells Poisson that she has decided to live in the castle and is expecting to lead an exciting life, quite different from that of a schoolteacher. During the trip, Poisson unsuccessfully attempts to tell her something, and once Elizabeth enters the castle she discovers that it is filled with squatters. Poisson explains that there is a housing shortage and that all over France, squatters have moved into abandoned castles. Poisson then introduces her to Paul Rencourt who, on behalf of the many others, welcomes her to her own castle. Paul then introduces a few of the residents, including Bleubois, a blacksmith who has set up business in the stables, and Mobet, who works on the railroad and whose wife cooks for the various families. After Elizabeth decides that she wants to evict everyone, Poisson advises her that he has already prepared a petition for a court-ordered eviction notice and suggests that while they wait for the case to be heard, she stay in a small hotel in Cannes. However, Elizabeth is short of funds and insists on staying in the castle. After Paul moves to another room, Elizabeth almost barricades herself into the master bedroom, but her attempts at sleep are interrupted by a constant parade of men, women and children who enter to use her bathroom, the only one in the house that is working. She eventually goes to sleep on some hay in the blacksmith's shop. The next day, several children take her to meet their teacher, Paul, who is repairing a piano. He wants to be friendly with Elizabeth, but she does not reciprocate. Later, Elizabeth's attempts to clean and bring order to parts of the castle are unsuccessful and while she is away consulting with Poisson, the families ask Paul, who was with the French Resistance in World War II, to lead them in their fight against eviction. Two young people, François and Marie-Claire, are to be married that evening, and Marie-Claire is upset about not having a suitable dress, so Paul borrows one of Elizabeth's. When Elizabeth sees her dress in the wedding procession, she accuses Paul of taking it and gives him $250 to leave, but he declines the money. That night, during a severe storm, the roof leaks over Elizabeth's bed, the lights fail and she is visited by a figure in ancient armor, carrying a sword. While attempting to flee from the figure, Elizabeth stumbles upon a concealed passage and falls down a flight of stairs. Another dirty passageway leads out to the castle grounds, where she is comforted by Paul and some of the others. When she discovers that Paul was inside the suit of armor, she chases him with a sword. Later, Elizabeth, who taught music appreciation, discovers that Paul is a composer and has played in New York's Carnegie Hall, but now is penniless and has five children to support. After his young daughter Jacqueline reveals to Elizabeth that their mother is dead, Elizabeth begins to involve herself with the castle's children and criticizes Paul for his lack of involvement in Jacqueline's upbringing. Time passes and Elizabeth helps out in the kitchen and plans a birthday party for Jacqueline. Paul has forgotten about her birthday, but Elizabeth has bought her a new dress on his behalf. Paul finds Elizabeth lying on a hillside near the castle, and kisses her. He tells her that he has received a check from his music publisher and she reminds him that the children are in need of many things. Later, although Elizabeth is hesitant about her relationship with Paul, the children tell her they want her to be their mother. After Paul invites Elizabeth to dinner at the casino, she takes the children on a shopping spree and is waiting for him in the restaurant while he is in the casino playing roulette with Yvette, a former girl friend. Elizabeth finds him and interferes with his bet, causing him to lose, whereupon Yvette slaps her. Elizabeth retaliates, knocking her out. Faced with Paul's lack of commitment, Elizabeth decides to leave but, while Poisson helps her pack, the children try to delay her departure. As she leaves the castle, Jacqueline takes her to say goodbye to Paul. They find that the police are evicting everyone and when she asks Paul why, he responds it is because she wants it. Elizabeth suddenly realizes that she has become attached to the residents and tells everyone to stay, then declares she is remaining with Paul.
George Thomas Jr.
This film was made in France, in both English and French versions. A May 1950 Screen Guide article indicated that for the French version Merle Oberon spoke her dialogue herself, but that Paul Henreid would be dubbed, as his accent was not appropriate for a French character. A modern source states that the French version was titled Dans la vie tout s'arrange, was directed by Marcel Cravenne and opened in Paris on August 2, 1952. The Screen Guide article also reported that the castle used in the film was the Château Castelleras.
A synopsis in the film's copyright registration includes characters "Harvey Michaelson" (played by Charles Jarrel) and his mother (played by Betty Warren) who "Elizabeth" meets on the liner from America, but they were not in the print viewed. The onscreen credits for the English version misspell the names of actors Bonifas, Merenda, Defoucault, Rosset and Culazz. The child actress Marina was later known as Marina Vlady.
Released in United States Summer August 10, 1951
Released in United States Summer August 10, 1951