When French-filmmaker Jean Renoir offered his 1934 version of Flaubert's Madame Bovary to the distributors, he was compelled to cut it severely. This was not due to the subject matter, but because Renoir's "director's cut" ran nearly 3 and a half hours! Though Renoir steadfastly defended his choice, Valentine Tessler was much too old for the part of Emma Bovary, a Frenchwoman whose life is ruined because she seeks escape from a boring bourgeois upbringing and an even more tiresome marriage. Renoir saw the character as "noble and elegant," which Flaubert most certainly did not; still, he was reasonably faithful to the source novel, even to the point of sometimes exasperating slowness. Madame Bovary was filmed several times, most famously by director Vincente Minnelli in 1949.
by Hal Erickson synopsis