The missing link between the French thirties and the nouvelle vague?.
It's 1948,the French "nouvelle vague" is yet to come,and nevertheless "une si jolie petite plage" seems to announce the era. Gerard Philippe's character might be the missing link between Carné's desperate characters of the thirties ("le jour se lève","Quai des brumes")and the mistreated rebels of the late fifties/early sixties(Truffaut's Antoine Doinel ,Franju's "la tête contre les murs" hero). The landscape has rarely been so depressing that in this Allégret's masterwork;like Poe's "Usher house",it seems to influence the characters,to rub off on the hero .These desolate shores never seem to see the sun,the inn itself is hostile .For the hero,this is the end of the road,he has become a murderer,and having lost all his illusions,he comes back to this eating-house where he used to work as a child (he was an orphan)As the rain which keeps falling down,bad luck is here to stay:a young boy ,an orphan too,is working now in this miserable place and the hero urges him not to accept this miserable life with no future in sight,but in vain.The servant (Madeleine Robinson) tries to do the same for the young man whom she loves.All in vain.In the last pictures,a breathtaking tracking out takes us faraway from this doomed place as if the director himself wanted to escape such a darkness.Gérard Philippe used to regard this film noir as one of his very best.
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