[Clair remarked that the dramatic problem of Les Grandes Manoeuvres] lies in its change of mood halfway through; what begins as a comedy of seduction ends as a tragedy of love. (p. 146)
Through Armand's discarded loves Clair introduces us to various conditions of life in the town, sketching in unwitting cuckolds, indignant fathers and jealous rivals with light, penetrating strokes. Up to the time that Armand and Marie-Louise realise they are in love, indeed, the development on both levels—their relationship, and the background of provincial busybodies, gossips and interested parties—is faultless. The sense of period is exact but unostentatious; using colour for the first time, Clair...
(The entire section is 619 words.)