Madame Rose runs a seedy hotel in a suburb of Paris. Strong-minded but without the least moral scruple, she once killed her husband whose honesty was a hindrance to her business. Under a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
François
Félix Oudart ...
L'Hertier
André Roanne ...
Marvejouis
...
Marcel, le coiffeur
Georges Bever ...
Armand
Jeannette Batti ...
Mona (as Janette Batti)
Simone Max
André Nicard ...
Le voleur de draps
François Joux ...
Un inspecteur
Marcelle Rexiane ...
La patronne du bistro
Richard Francoeur ...
Le maître d'hotel
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Storyline

Madame Rose runs a seedy hotel in a suburb of Paris. Strong-minded but without the least moral scruple, she once killed her husband whose honesty was a hindrance to her business. Under a suspended sentence, she now indulges in smuggling. One day, Victor, one of her former accomplices hounded by the police, finds sanctuary with her. During a drinking spree, he has the bad idea to entrust to her a suitcase filled with bank notes, a loot with which Victor hopes to rebuild his life in South America. But Rose, lured by temptation, betrays Victor, who is arrested by the police. However, he manages to escape with only one thing in mind, to take revenge on Rose... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

JACQUES FEYDER creator of "Carnival in Flanders" and "Portrait of a Woman" presents the last of his distinguished films portraying the moral and ethical fiber of the French people.

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

27 November 1946 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Back Streets of Paris  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Featured in Mémoires pour Simone (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Disruptions in a disreputable hotel
7 September 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I rate "Macadam" (1946) quite highly, 3/4 or 7.5/10 if I could. This is clearly an under-viewed noir, as there is only one review. It's not discussed or widely known even by noir fans, but it's a very good noir.

The story's action occurs mainly in a cheap hotel in Paris, Montmartre I believe. It's run by Françoise Rosay, a formidable and shady character who scares people, men and women alike, because she once killed her husband. She does some small-time schemes. She has her wallflower daughter (Andrée Clément) under her thumb, working hard to keep the hotel up. Paul Meurisse, a serious criminal whom she knows from their paths occasionally crossing, arrives with a bulging briefcase looking for a temporary hideout which she supplies. He's made a big score and is ready to leave the country, but he has been warned to beware of a pursuer named François. In his fear, Meurisse confuses this person with a young street merchant, a handsome straight arrow (Jacques Dacqmine). Clement is strongly attracted to Dacqmine and has given him a room, against Rosay's drunken orders. Meurisse is in cahoots with Simone Signoret and holds her by a combination of strength and his sense of love. He uses her to lure targeted men with wealth. In this case, he uses her to place Dacqmine in a vulnerable position.

This setup is elaborated into a complex story with a good many twists and interlocking triangles that hold our attention. Rosay plots to double cross Meurisse and manipulates those around her to that end. Dacqmine is involved with both Clement and Signoret. Signoret is trying to break with Meurisse. Meurisse wants to silence Dacqmine. Clement plots to separate Signoret from Dacqmine. The story has its moments of inherent suspense due to these plot complications and interactions, but, apart from the final portion, it's developed more as a melodrama than a thriller.

The sets are flavorful and sometimes very elaborate and peopled with extras, as in some exteriors. The cramped interiors in the hotel nicely tie in with the story. If there one failing of the film, it is one that can be easily forgiven. The cast is strong. The individuals stand out, at times almost too much from the others around them. Signoret is so fresh and beautiful that she commands our attention; Rosay is so powerhouse that she does the same. Similarly, Clement is so repressed, Dacqmine is so upbeat, and Meurisse is so paranoid, that we focus on them strongly when they are on screen.

"Macadam" really should not be missed if one has the opportunity to see it.


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