Pascal and Isabelle have been happily married for fifteen years, but now a quarrel erupts and there’s only one thing for it: divorce! What they didn’t reckon on is Isabelle’s goddaughter Joelle, who has just got engaged, and has told her fiancé, Jean-Lou, all about the conjugal bliss of Pascal and Isabelle. To avoid disillusioning the lovebirds, the older couple find they have to pretend to be a perfect couple – and by doing so, they rescue their own marriage.
Maurice Horgues (1923-2002) is better remembered as a comic lyricist, but in 1970 he wrote the domestic comedy Accord Parfait around that plot. It’s another of those frustrating plays with no available script, though in this case there is at least a chance of something surfacing at some time in the future. The first production was at the Edouard VII Theatre, Paris, with Jacques Morel as Pascal and Odile Versois as Isabelle. Here she is:
What interests us about the play is the opening scene: a bitter domestic dispute that ends with Isabelle deciding to leave her husband forever. One thing that may have played a part in that decision is…
The play didn’t go down to complete obscurity after that. A decade later, it got a new production for the long-running television series Au Theâtre ce Soir (At the Theater Tonight), in which stage plays were given a week’s run at the Theatre Marigny, Paris, and then the Saturday performance was filmed for television and shown some months later. (Not strictly ce soir, then, despite the series title.)
Horgues’ play was produced at the Marigny in September 1979, with comic actor Jacques Ardouin as Pascal and film starlet Perrette Pradier as Isabelle. Here’s the set:
It was filmed on September 9 and broadcast on April 18, 1980. The recording isn’t publicly available, but that’s where we still have a chance to get the script back from oblivion. However, that comes with a caveat. The 1979 production had a change of title: the play was now called Un Amour Exemplaire (An Exemplary Love). So there’s always the possibility that there may have been other script changes, too. But if we take into consideration this photograph of Perrette Pradier…
… let’s hope the spanking scene was left intact!