Pagnol was a famous French novelist, playwright and filmmaker, who distinguished himself by being the first filmmaker ever to be elected into the Academie Francaise. Although he started off his life as a playwright, it was in 1926 that Pagnol saw a screening of one of the first ever films in London, and this so impressed him that he decided to dedicate his life to filmmaking. Thus he contacted Paramount Picture Studios and came up with the idea of adapting one of his early plays to the cinema, which was duly released in 1931. Encouraged by this success, in 1932, Pagnol set up his own film studio in France, based near Marseille, which over the next ten years produced a number of French films.
Towards the end of his life, he turned to novel writing after another marriage and the death of one of his children. Two of his most famous works, both of which have been turned into very popular and successful French films, are called Jean de Florette and Manon de Sources, which capture the relaities of Provencale life. Pagnol died in 1974 leaving behind him a massive cultural legacy to which French filmmaking and literature is greatly indebted.