Also known as The Naked Heart, Maria Chapdelaine beautifully supports and sustains French filmmaker Julien Duvivier's gift for "poetic realism." At base, this is a simple 19th century romantic triangle. Canadian lass Madeline Renaud is adored with equal fervor by aristocratic Jean-Pierre Aumont and by crude lumberjack Jean Gabin. Her indecision paves the way for tragedy. Yes, Maria Chapdelaine is a bit old-fashioned in technique and story material, but that fact never stopped Duvivier from turning out a film of genuine merit. Though the 1984 remake, directed by Gilles Carle, is superior to Duvivier's, the earlier film shouldn't be ignored.
by Hal Erickson synopsis