“I owed my next film to Michel Simon. We both thought that the Fauchois play, Boudu sauve des eaux, had the makings of a splendid film, above all because of the possibilities which the role of Boudu offered Simon. The part, which was that of a layabout incapable of adapting himself to life, might have been made for that brilliant actor. Thanks to Michel Simon’s reputation, the financing of the film presented no problem. It succeeded beyond our hopes, the public reaction being a mixture of laughter and fury.
Boudu foreshadowed the hippy movement long before it came into being - indeed, he was the perfect hippy. During one sequence in which he cleaned his shoes with a satin bedspread the audience, especially the women, cried out in horror; but they were soon won over by the outrageousness of the situation and the players. As usual, I had made great changes in the original story. Fauchois, the author, took this in very bad part and threatened to have his name removed from the credits. Thirty years later, upon seeing the film again, he was astonished by its enthusiastic reception. He was brought on to the stage, and the ovation he received caused him to forget my unfaithfulness to his story.”
Jean Renoir in My Life and My Films (1974)