Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Having been showered with critical adulation for his 1935 adaptation of Crime and Punishment, writer-director Pierre Chenal was further honored for his film adaptation of Luigi Pirandello's Il Fu Mattia Pascal (The Late Mathias Pascal). Fed up with his present existence as a henpecked husband, Mattia Pascal (played by Chenal himself) disappears from view to start a new life in Monte Carlo. Winning a fortune at the gaming tables, he returns home in triumph, only to discover that everyone assumes that he's dead. This gives our hero the rare opportunity of attending his own funeral, where he learns quite a few unpleasant truths. Realizing that both he and his family will be better off if he remains "dead," Pascal heads to Rome, where as "Adriano Meis" he meets a whole new group of friends -- not to mention the true love of his life. Il Fu Mattia Pascal remains faithful to the spirit if not the letter of Pirandello until about five minutes before the end. Il Fu Mattia Pascal would be remade several times, but few of the later versions came close to the excellence of the original.
family, funeral, starting-over, casino, wealth