After having spent all his money to fullfill the smallest wish of his wife Dora, Robert is still madly in love with her. Now, she is at agony, and her mother comes. She will reveal to ... See full summary »
After having spent all his money to fullfill the smallest wish of his wife Dora, Robert is still madly in love with her. Now, she is at agony, and her mother comes. She will reveal to Robert how he has been fooled. Through some flashbacks, we will see the story through Robert's or his mother-in-law's eyes. A very misogynous movie... Written by
Having watched Frenchman Marc Allegret's BLANCHE FURY (1948) to inaugurate a foreign-language film marathon (albeit by way of a British production and, therefore, in English!), it was logically followed by an effort from his younger brother Yves. Alas, this study of a femme fatale (played by the director's own wife at the time, Simone Signoret) proved disappointingly dreary as a whole wasting a rather interesting noir-ish structure wherein the female protagonist goes through a 180-degree turn from victim (we first see the girl badly injured, with her devoted husband Bernard Blier then recounting preceding events) to schemer (as she asks her mother, Jane Marken, to tell Blier about their true grasping nature and how she frequently betrayed him with other more handsome men). Though, perhaps appropriately, the English title of the film is THE WANTON, the original was more subtle if no less obviously related to some of the themes involved; MANEGES, in fact, translates to riding-school and, indeed, Blier is the proprietor of one (not exactly an exciting milieu, I might add) but I suspect that the director also intended to use the figurative meaning of someone being "taken for a ride" here. The film does have most of the qualities one associates with French cinema of the period (especially with respect to the acting strength and monochrome photography) but, as I said, plotting is rather weak throughout while the iris effect utilized to depict the transition between past and present eventually becomes irritating with the repetition.
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