Fire in the Straw (Le Feu de Paille) was the final directorial effort of French filmmaker Jean Benoit-Levy before he left his wartorn native country in favor of a teaching post at the New School for Social Research. Based on Henri Troyat's award-winning novel Grandeur Nature, the film details the progress of 12-year-old Christian Vautier (Jean Keller), who rises to fame as a movie star. Christian's father Antoine (Lucien Baroux), himself a failed actor, is gratified by his son's popularity, though he knows it's only a matter of time before the boy falls out of public favor. The film paints a fairly bleak portrait of show business, which in France at least seems to be in the hands of sycophants, fly-by-night opportunists and backstabbers. Filmed in 1940, Fire in the Straw was released in the US three years later.
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