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The first to die in an epidemic of meningitis in Vera Cruz is a French tourist. His wife Nellie, detached and indifferent, feels little grief and realizes that her coldness is her own doom. Over the next two days, she is attracted to George, a local drunk who does odd jobs for brothels and dances grotesquely for tourists in exchange for drinks. George has his own dark secret, a tragedy he caused that leaves him with a death wish. In assisting the local doctor to cope with the epidemic, these two emotional cripples enable each other to rediscover reasons to live and to love. Written by
I sat through this movie this evening, forcing myself to stick with it even though I never cared about any of the characters or what happened to them, because the two leads, Gérard Philippe and Michèle Morgan, were major film stars of their era and I wanted to see them in "something different," which this certainly was. They both gave fine performances, but of distasteful characters.
Indeed, the whole movie is about a shabby little town in Mexico inhabited by almost uniformly distasteful characters (the doctor is, of course, the major exception). What Michèle Morgan ever sees in Philippe to fall in love with him is never explained.
This is supposedly based on a work by Jean-Paul Sartre. All I could think was that, if Sartre's work is anything like this movie, it must be a very mediocre attempt at imitating Camus' masterful novel The Plague, which dealt with a plague in North Africa.
A well-acted but uninteresting movie.
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