In 1848, a young Frenchwoman, Madeline Minot, goes to New York City to see Thevenet, the grandfather of her fiance. Thevenet had been with Napoleon and may be sympathetic to the political ... See full summary »
In 1848, a young Frenchwoman, Madeline Minot, goes to New York City to see Thevenet, the grandfather of her fiance. Thevenet had been with Napoleon and may be sympathetic to the political aims of his grandson. She finds the old man in very bad spirits, living in a large house with a housekeeper and a butler who are just waiting for him to die (and perhaps helping him along a bit) so they can inherit his fortune. They see Madeline as a threat to their plans. She is aided in her dealings with these strange people by a mysterious man in a cloak. Written by
John Oswalt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
After the first meeting with Madeleine, Charles Theverner addresses his pet raven named Villon, after the French poet François Villon, and quotes from Villon's "Ballade des dames du temps jadis" ("Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past"): "Où sont les neiges d'antant?" ("Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!"). Later, Dupin quotes the same Ballad in English. He also reads from the book a few lines of Edgar Poe's "The Raven." See more »
Peculiar, unusual, well-acted and thoroughly enjoyable...
In 1848 New York, a beautiful but naive French girl arrives by ship seeking out her fiancée's grandfather in hopes of securing funds for the young man's political cause back in Europe; instead, she finds the elderly millionaire under constant danger of being murdered by his mercenary household staff--with only a mysterious wine-lover (and unemployed town poet!) able to assist her. Screenwriter Frank Fenton, working from a story by John Dickson Carr, sets up the pieces within this gas-lit milieu very carefully, and his witty, theatrical dialogue is often a hoot. Newcomer Leslie Caron, in only her second Hollywood picture, works her tender vulnerability to good effect in a tailor-made role, though predictably it is Barbara Stanwyck as the household's 'mistress' who steals most of the thunder (she's a formidable foe--with a smirk of stone and bedroom eyes to boot). Joseph Cotten is also excellent as the man of the title who comes to Caron's aid, and the twist involving his character is a smashing one. Not an important movie, but an engaging one, with a well-upholstered production and solid supporting players. *** from ****
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