After the rejection of their latest - and preposterous - scenario, two script writers get back to basics to prepare a new movie. The new scenario centers on Henriette, a pretty, lively ... See full summary »
Those five are unemployed penniless workers. Together they win 100,000 Francs with the national lottery. Instead of sharing the money, they buy a ruin and build an open-air cafe. But ... See full summary »
Viktor, a methodical hit man, probably on his last job, has no plan for his retirement. He does not kill Nina, a woman sleeping beside his latest mark; then he follows her and rescues her ... See full summary »
Francois comes back to his home village in France after more than a decade. He notices that the village hasn't changed much, but the people have, especially his old friend Serge who has ... See full summary »
1) Jerôme Chambard, a retired man, taken in by nuns in a convent, swears like a trooper. 2) Françoise takes a lover because he has promised her a diamond necklace. 3) Denis, a seminarist, ... See full summary »
André Chatelin is a restaurant owner in Les Halles in Paris. One morning, a girl named Catherine asks to see him. She happens to be the daughter of his estranged wife, Gabrielle, that André... See full summary »
Jojo has been living for a while in a room under the roof of a block of flats in Pigalle. He has chosen to leave home since he realized his stepmother has hated him from day one. Among his ... See full summary »
Aged penniless actors are living in a old people's home. They always talk about their past glory or failures. One day Raphael Saint-Clair comes; he has been a famous actor and had a lot of ... See full summary »
Jacques Chabassol attempts to find justice for Daniel Gélin
Young and idealistic Jacques Chabassol becomes interested in a homicide case in which his father, Charles Vanel, was prosecutor, sending an innocent man, Daniel Gélin, to prison for the past 18 years. Gélin is Maurizius. He married an older woman with money, Madeleine Robinson, thinking it love but finding this was not so when he met her sister, Eleonora Rossi Drago. The latter was the object of conquest of Anton Walbrook who had a mysterious hold on her even though she did not love him and her hidden affections went out to Gélin. Robinson was shot to death and Gélin convicted, based heavily on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of Walbrook. Chabassol investigates and even gets the hidebound and domineering Vanel to look into the matter again.
From these elements of a novel by Jakob Wassermann, Julien Duvivier creates a very bleak noir. Chabassol will have nothing less than justice but is told by Walbrook in a series of dark reflections on life that humanity doesn't want justice. Where is justice in concentration camps, he asks.
The story of what happened in the past unfolds through flashbacks and even a flashback within a flashback. It is a story of passions largely uncontrolled that erode any chance of happiness. Dreams become wrecked flotsam tossed in unexpected directions by the turbulence of hidden emotional seas pulling and pushing in crossed directions.
I quote Sam Rohdie in "Julien Duvivier: Love Unto Death": "The escapees and exiles who populate Duvivier's films, though having apparently escaped destiny, are pursued by it and end (as in the Gabin vehicles) haunted and destroyed by it. There is no turning back for these characters to what they once had been nor to where they had been; nor is there any possibility for them to move forward, to liberate themselves from the past as if caught between, in a limbo betwixt past and present, memory and actuality, reality and the fantastic, reality and dream, here and elsewhere, this love and that."
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