Spotted doing a cockney accent in a play while still at high school, Farley Granger was signed to a seven-year deal by MGM in 1943 and soon put to work alongside Anne Baxter and Dana Andrews in The North Star, a pro-Soviet war film about the sufferings of a Ukrainian village under the Nazi yoke.
With a script by blacklistee Lillian Hellman, The North Star – later reissued under the title Armored Attack! – was cited by the House Committee on Un-American Activities as a prime example of Hollywood communist propaganda.
After one more film – The Purple Heart (1944) – and a spell in the navy where he discovered his bisexuality, Granger found himself cast in what would become his breakthrough film, They Live by Night. Shot in 1947, Nicholas Ray
In that 1906 case, Stanford White, a big-shot architect and well-known womanizer, was murdered by the husband of his much-younger mistress, chorus girl turned model Evelyn Nesbit, who became known as the Girl in the Velvet Swing.
Chabrol's stylish and intelligent melodrama also concerns an older man and a younger woman.
The gentleman is Charles Saint-Denis (Francois Berleand), a novelist who lives in a comfy home with his sexy wife of 25 years.
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