In the suburbs of Paris, an old maid has just been murdered. Every body talks about that, except the misanthrope Mr Hire. The same evening, Alice, just getting out of jail, arrives and ... 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 »
Young, handsome, dashing but cynical, Octave Mouret arrives in Paris, determined to conquer the belles of the capital. His first attempts are not too successful though as he is rebuffed by ... 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 »
In a moment of madness a respectable pharmacist kills a young woman who is sun-bathing by a lake. Unable to take in what he has done, he flees from the scene of the crime and behaves as if nothing has happened.
Fifteen years after WWII, a group of ex-resistance fighters are brought together by Marie-Octobre, so that the former members of the network can finally relive one fateful night and find out who betrayed their murdered leader, Castille.
Aboard the freighter Glencairn, the lives of the crew are lived out in fear, loneliness, suspicion and cameraderie. The men smuggle drink and women aboard, fight with each other, spy on ... 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 »
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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