"A priest is a defeated man, a man who has given up !", the son says to his bourgeois father. How not to think of Autant-Lara's previous masterpiece Douce (1943) where the old dowager (Marguerite Moreno) consoled the Poor : "patience and resignation". Paul Vialar's novel "Mpnsieur Dupont est mort" takes place during M. Dupont 's funeral. Behind the hearse, all those who have known him, wife, children, platonic lover, associate, they all remember... Monsieur Dupont, who used to look as if the butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, was a good man. He was a bastard too.
The movie was faithful to the novel, but as Danielle Darrieux played the lover, her part needed developing. In the book, each character had a chapter. In the movie, Darrieux's prominent part throws the film off balance : the parts of the son -probably the hardest scene of the movie- and the daughter suffered accordingly.
This is a good Claude Autant-Lara effort though, the construction of the film is clever, sometimes flouts chronology, which makes sense for the flashbacks come from different persons. All these memories which come back to haunt them resurface as the funeral procession is slowly getting to the church. Autant-Lara spares us the ceremony and his final message is a message of hope : the three young people hand in hand might represent a hope for a better future, recalling Fabien and Irene when they were leaving the aristocrats' house, with Christmas carols everywhere, in Douce.
Source : IMDb