La Maternelle (film)

La Maternelle (International title: Children of Montmartre) is a 1933 French film directed and written by Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein. It was adapted from Léon Frapié's Prix Goncourt winning novel La Maternelle (1904).[1] In 1935, it was ranked as the 6th best foreign film by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures,[2] and has received a 7.3 ranking (out of 10) by 71 reviewers at the Internet Movie Database.[3]

La Maternelle
(Children of Montmartre)
La maternelle scene.jpg
Directed byJean Benoît-Lévy
Marie Epstein
Written byScreenplay:
Jean Benoît-Lévy
Marie Epstein
Léon Frapié
StarringMadeleine Renaud
Music byEdouard Flament
CinematographyGeorges Asselin
Distributed byDenmark:
Kosmofilm (1934) (theatrical)
United States:
Metropolis Pictures (1935) (USA) (theatrical) (subtitled)
Release date
16 September 1933 (Paris)
12 October 1933
25 March 1934 (Wien)
14 October 1934
United States:
14 October 1935 (New York City, New York) - Nationwide:
15 November 1935
Running time
83 minutes


Rose, a girl from a well off family faces a series of tragic events that leaves her penniless and without a home. She is hired as an attendant at a day-care center in Paris with 150 poor children. She finds herself tenderly caring for them and soon they become very fond of her. One young girl named Marie, who is the abandoned daughter of a prostitute, becomes so attached to Rose that she becomes jealous when anyone else steals Rose's attention. Marie even tries to kill herself when she learns of Rose's plans to marry Dr. Libois, the school's physician. Despite this, La Maternelle ultimately finds its way to a happy ending. [1]


Critical reviewsEdit

In 1935, the New York Times called it "a film of extraordinary insight, tenderness and tragic beauty", adding "Mr. Benoit-Levy presents a heart-breaking cross-section of this tatterdemalion kindergarten in such minor portraits as the little boy who has never learned how to smile." [4]

Also known asEdit

  • Children of Montmartre: International (English title)
  • La maternelle: Italy (dubbed version)
  • Moderhaender: Denmark
  • Mutterhände: Germany


  1. ^ a b Hal Erickson, La Maternelle, All Media Guide,, 2009; accessed February 20, 2010.
  2. ^ National Board of Review Awards 1935,; accessed February 20, 2010.
  3. ^ La Maternelle profile,; accessed 20 February 2010.
  4. ^ Andre Sennwald, "Movie Review: La Maternelle (1933)", The New York Times, October 15, 1935; accessed 20 February 2010.