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Les Visiteurs du Soir More at IMDbPro »Les visiteurs du soir (original title)

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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:


Author: Gary170459 from Derby, UK
4 July 2011

This was the fifth of the six Great films directed by Marcel Carne between 1937 & 1945, again with writing collaboration from Jacques Prevert, and perhaps the most neglected. So much so I've yet to see a good print, my latest one from French TV seems to have horses galloping (albeit softly) throughout the soundtrack while the film seems to have been bashed about a bit. Never mind; Carne's career was littered with excellent films but Visiteurs was one of his best - maybe it's best seen now without thinking of metaphorical allusions to the then resistance against the Nazis (except as a piece de resistance?) And the best was still a few years off: the utter magnificence of Les Enfants Du Paradis.

France 1485: shady Gilles (square jawed Cuny) and Dominique (worldly wise Arletty) arrive at Baron Hugues castle as melancholic minstrels intent on disrupting the marriage preparations going on – as any self respecting devilish envoy would. Alas it goes awry for Gilles when he actually does fall in love with Anne the Baron's daughter (Dea) but Arletty manages to keep to her usual cynical straight and narrow course, and leads the Baron off his. It's beautifully photographed on black & white nitrate film capturing atmospheric sunny days and romantic arc-moonlit nights, gorgeous costumes and fascinating sets equally well. One can almost smell the fresh air! One slight downer: the three midgets go from startling to plain irritating with their omnipresence. It's all about Love, Honour & Purity poetically and elegantly related – which makes the denouement with the supposedly pure Anne and the for once nonplussed Devil so delightful and droll. Even if out of scope for him he should still have been able to guess that all's fair in love!

Remember: the Devil will always find work for idle hands to do, including his own. Watch it for a thoughtful two hours of breath taking beauty strolling through a lost world as portrayed by another lost world. Next: Les Enfants Du Paradis.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Once upon a time..

Author: dbdumonteil
9 August 2001

It's the only Carné-Prévert movie that takes place in another era,the Middle Ages.During the German occupation,it was an alibi:the Devil was meant to represent Hitler and the two lovers the Resistance.But for the people at the time,their hints at French plight were so disguised -or else,it would have been banned by the censorship-,they only saw the escapist movie which they did need.Over the years,the movie has lost some of its charms:after a brilliant introduction,the pace remains too slow and it's hard to believe that Alain Cuny and Marie Déa are eaten with desire.As always in Carné's movies,it's the supporting cast that walks out with the honors:Arletty is as splendid as ever in her androgynous beauty,and Jules Berry is ideally cast as the Devil.Though it remains inferior to "le jour se lève" and "les enfants du paradis" ,"les visiteurs du soir" is a curiosity for French movies buffs.People who like it should see "l'éternel retour",a collaboration between Jean Delannoy and Jean Cocteau.

NB :"Children of paradise " also takes place in another era ,the nineteenth century;sorry.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Carné and Prévert at their best

Author: cat-that-goes-by-himself from France
5 September 2006

Simply the most beautiful and moving movie that stemmed from the "réalisme poétique" movement. A truly atemporal story, despite the resistance allusions which can live long after the end of WWII.

What makes me really love this movie is the contrast between the very dated conventions of acting, the seemingly slow pace that was the rule at a time the video clips were still waiting in an unforeseeable future and the perfect consistency of the characters and psychology. The emotion is still intact no matter how much the way actors and directors are supposed to convey it has changed over decades.

What a bunch of great actors! True professionals working seamlessly together to serve a masterly written script. I really advise non-french speaking people to watch it in original version with subtitles, to enjoy the music of Prevert's poetic lines.

This movie is a real gem.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

a beautiful movie

Author: ( from Montreal Canada
9 December 1998

The heavy censorship imposed during the german occupation made it difficult for cineasts to find non controversial subjects. Jacques Prévert and Marcel Carné came up with this medieval tale of love and sorcery with a prestigious cast of great actors. It has been claimed that the beating heart in the statue was a symbol of the Resistance.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Great, fascinating tale

Author: Andres Salama from Buenos Aires, Argentina
29 December 2006

A relatively little-known but fascinating movie. Made during the German occupation of France, the film is set in the Late Middle Ages and deals with two envoys of the devil, Gilles and Dominique (Alain Cuny and Arletty, wonderful both) that arrive posing as wandering minstrels at the castle of a Baron where preparations for an upcoming wedding are being made. Their intention is to create havoc by breaking the hearts of all involved. These envoys have extraordinary powers to achieve these goals, like slowing time to a stop so that they can work on their targets at ease. Eventually, the very devil shows up at the castle in disguise. One can argue that the devil in the movie stands for Hitler and the Nazis and so forth, but the film works even if you don't try to watch it as a metaphor for the contemporary events of the time. The movie is memorable and evocative, with many great scenes and a great ending.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

What A Night

Author: writers_reign from London, England
20 February 2004

The beauty of this stand-out collaboration between Jacques Prevert and Marcel Carne - in the middle of their great hitting streak - is that it works even without the 'coded' references which were a necessity at a time of German Occupation in France. So even when you watch Jules Berry as just the Devil and not a symbol for Hitler and likewise view the two visitors not as symbols of the Resistance but merely two wandering minstrels it still plays and you'll go a long way to find a more poetic image/symbol than Prevert's finale in which the Devil turns the lovers to stone before our eyes yet their hearts keep on beating. Not least of the pleasures on offer is future icon Simone Signoret as an extra but the whole schmeer, complete with some tasty lyrics by Prevert, is a total delight. 8/10

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A masterpiece

Author: Zoooma from Oakland, New Jersey
2 June 2014

Unbelievably great film. And chilling. At one point I had to press pause and walk away. Granted I do not watch very many truly shocking films but that never happens with me. The story takes place in 1485 but it's about events in 1940. The great director Marcel Carné, for whatever reason, insisted, until his death, the film was not an allegory for Hitler and WWII and that any correlation was unintentional. Why would he deny it for 52 more years after the liberation of Paris? The similarity is astounding and it's surprising that Nazi censors never caught on to ban this film. Carné was under Nazi leadership when he made this. It could have gotten him sent to a concentration camp. But he was sneaky and to this day we have an amazing film about Hitler's rise and the French Resistance. Tremendously well acted. Some complain the film's a little slow but everything builds so nicely and has its place. A masterpiece and highly recommended!

8.7 / 10 stars

--Zoooma, a Kat Pirate Screener

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A high class fantasia

Author: Donat Champagne from Montréal, Québec, Canada
7 October 1999

Here is a fine production by Julien Duvivier.

I had the impression to be one of the castle's festivity and the arrival of the "Visiteurs" added a mysterious ingredient that had, at the beginning at least, nothing of the despair that was part of their demoniacal mission.

The enchantment provoked by the satanic couple was a pure wonder. That momentary paralysis of a whole small world between two exciting scenes emphasized Arletty's and Cuny's masterly talent.

Jules Berry's play (the Devil) was so fascinating that it made me longing for a ticket to Hell.

That high class "fantasia" glide far over all those easy big budget "fantastic" productions which flood the film fans since too long.

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