At the end of the 15th century, two minstrels Gilles and Dominique come from nowhere into the castle of Baron Hugues. Gilles charms Anne, Hughes' daughter, while Dominique charms both ... See full summary »
In an interview, Orson Welles said that he and Charles Lederer were hired by the producers to rewrite the script. They wrote a new script in just a few weeks, but the producers didn't use it, didn't make the last payment on their salaries, and on top of that, sued them. See more »
Let me ride on the wall of death one more time....
...You can waste your time on the other rides
But this is the nearest to being alive
Oh let me take my chances on the wall of death .
This is a mysterious film.The precedent user was cross cause they did not mention Maria Montez's name on the DVD or video cassette release.He must realize that it's aimed at the French market and in France ,who remembers this beautiful but limited (at least to my eyes)actress?
The French cast is a dream:first it was Arletty's comeback;after the problems she had in 1945,and the unfinished Carné's "la Fleur de l'Age,it was the first film she had made since "les Enfants du Paradis".The male cast is exciting too:Erich Von Stroheim,and two other Carné's favorites ,Pierre Brasseur and Jules Berry.
The subject is original.Brasseur portrays a stunt-man who rides his motorbike on the wall of death .He's married to Martha whose love is strong and true but he has come to hate her:he tries to kill her in the first sequence! But Martha forgives and she delivers a wonderful line"For once,the victim also provides the alibi".
Enter manager Montez:she wants the acrobat to work on a larger scale and she asks an engineer (Marcel Dalio ,who was in "la règle du jeu" and "Casablanca" )to build a huge track where the man will perform a terrifying looping the loop.
The script lacks sometimes rigor and Von Stroheim's character -a disabled man ,after working for Montez- repeats more or less the same lines every time he appears.On the other hand, Bernard-Roland perfectly captured the fair/circus atmosphere.He even hired the Fratellinis ,a famous clowns family.
Probably influenced by Carné and Duvivier,the director continued the Realisme Poétique of the pré-war years and its pessimism .He could have been a heir to that tradition,as contemporary Yves Allégret was.But he essentially worked for TV.
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