ⓘ The Possessors


ⓘ The Possessors

The Possessors is a 1958 French drama film directed by Denys de La Patelliere, starring Jean Gabin, Pierre Brasseur, Bernard Blier, Jean Desailly, Françoise Christophe and Annie Ducaux. It tells the story of a forceful tycoon wholly devoted to the business he has nurtured, at the expense of his family and above all his only son. The screenplay is based on the novel Les grandes familles by Maurice Druon, which won the Prix Goncourt in 1948.

The film recorded 4.042.041 admissions in France. Gabin received the 1959 David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor.


1. Plot

Noel Schoudler is the autocratic head of diversified family enterprises which include a bank, a newspaper and a sugar refinery. His only son François considers the whole set-up archaic and, while his father is on a business trip to the US, starts jazzing up the staid newspaper. On his return, the father is furious and decides to teach his son a lesson. He tells François that he can have the run-down sugar business, to manage as he pleases. Painfully lacking the necessary expertise, the young man launches into enthusiastic modernisation and expansion. It is rapidly brought home to him that he needs capital, which he will have to raise.

When his father tells him he is on his own, he turns to their cousin Maublanc, a malicious playboy who for several reasons hates the Schoudlers. One immediate grievance is that he asked their newspaper to promote his latest mistress, an aspiring actress called Sylvaine, and was not only refused but Noels devious assistant Lachaume having just made Noels niece pregnant took over the young woman. Feigning helpfulness to François, Maublanc says he will arrange everything with his brokers, but in fact tells them to leak the news that the Schoudler empire has run out of capital. As this will depress the share price, his plan is to buy a controlling interest on the cheap. When the market price starts falling, François is in despair and Maublanc tells him that the only decent thing to do is to put a bullet through his head. Unfortunately, the impressionable young man does so. Noel then goes down to the stock exchange where, speaking to brokers, he reassures them that his businesses are sound. The share price soars and Maublancs plot is foiled.


2. Cast

  • Julien Bertheau as Lesquendieus father
  • Bernard Blier as Simon Lachaume
  • Françoise Christophe as Jacqueline Schoudler
  • Annie Ducaux as Adele Schoudler
  • Jean Desailly as François Schoudler
  • Aime Clariond as Gerard de la Monnerie
  • Pierre Brasseur as Lucien Maublanc
  • Françoise Delbart as Isabelle de la Monnerie
  • Daniel Lecourtois as Canet
  • Jean Gabin as Noel Schoudler
  • Louis Seigner as Raoul Leroy
  • Jean Wall as Pierre Leroy