Three teenagers find a briefcase with a beat-up old can in it. They throw away the can and pawn the suitcase. When they read in the papers that the can was full of uncut heroin and belonged... See full summary »
Although a co-production ,although it has a French title and features plenty of French luminaries,the film fell into oblivion in France.It's barely mentioned in the dictionaries of movies .
It was Anatole Litvak's return to France,where he had made some of his thirties movies ("L'Equipage" ,definitely a movie to rediscover, "Mayerling" the remake of which was filmed by Terence Young in 1968 or "Coeur de Lilas").But although I expected much of this film,I must admit I was disappointed.Particularly after watching his absorbing "decision before dawn" ,the movie he made just before "Un Acte d'Amour" The main problem is language:it's not very smart to make the French speak English between them.It's not a problem for a foreign audience,but for the French one it is one: Dany Robin and Serge Reggiani speaking English together is downright embarrassing.Not that their English is bad,but it is impossible to believe in THAT Paris,where almost everybody ,from a humble waitress to the hookers,speaks fluent English .And why didn't Litvak use Douglas' linguistic abilities?I once saw an interview during the Festival de Cannes and his French was quite good.
The French outnumber their American co-stars:Fernand Ledoux,Gabrielle Dorziat (whom Litvak had already directed in 'Mayerling" where she was miscast as Elizabeth "Sissi" from Austria),Dany Robin (who would be part of Hitchcock's "Topaz") ,the highly superior Reggiani (whose English delivery is much faster than when he speaks French: one should note he never says a single word in his first language,which is unlikely),and Brigitte Bardot (wearing braids) who appears in two short sequences as a waitress .
The best of this mushy story (the scene in the prison with a ridiculous voice over takes the biscuit when the young pure heroine winds up in the lions den (that is to say a cell with prostitutes)takes place in the prologue and in the epilogue :Douglas comes back to a place his love was happy when she was sixteen on the Cote d'Azur and he remembers her words .The meeting with his former superior and his wife,the room where the soldier feels nostalgic for a time that never was ,all this has Sirk accents and makes me feel the movie could have easily been boiled down into a good short.
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