Forbidden Fruit (1952): Henri Verneuil’s Romantic Melodrama, Starring Fernandel and Françoise Arnoul

Henri Verneuil directed Forbidden Fruit (French: Le Fruit défendu), a romantic melodrama, starring Fernandel and Françoise Arnoul.

Forbidden Fruit
Le fruit défendu poster.jpg

Film poster

Drawn from Georges Simenon’s novel Act of Passion (Lettre à mon juge), the movie deviates from the book’s grim resolution and instead offers a happy ending (sort of).

The tale centers on a doctor in a provincial city with a devoted wife and children who falls for a sexy but transient young woman and then loses her before his domestic and professional life are both ruined.

Under a transparent story of her being a patient, he introduces her into his house. Armande is sympathetic to the girl and suggests that she can work as Pellegrin’s assistant.

Amid the constraints of his job and his marriage, Pellegrin snatches moments with Martine, but if she has a drink or a dance with anyone else he becomes insanely jealous.

Unable to take the strain of this artificial life with no future, in a strange town where everybody knows the doctor, Martine decides to get out. Pellegrin rushes home to pack a bag and join her, but cannot find her at the railway station.

Walking home despondent, he sees her with a man in a bar before getting on a bus. Shattered, he returns to his welcoming wife.


Fernandel as Dr. Charles Pellegrin
Françoise Arnoul as Martine Englebert
Claude Nollier as Armande Barthelémy, the doctor’s second wife
Jacques Castelot as Boquet, owner of a bar
René Génin as Dr. Marchandeau
Fernand Sardou as Fontvielle