A French lieutenant makes a bet that he can seduce any woman in town in the two weeks before his regiment leaves for maneuvers, but his chosen target (a Parisian divorcée) isn't like other girls he's known.
Set against the picturesque springtime in Paris, the prime minister's daughter marries a buttoned down cabinet official, but when her new husband starts stepping out behind her back, the young bride takes of for the Riviera.
Ursula leaves the convent where she was educated, to start living with her uncle, the count Ribera, and her aunt Florentine. When she arrives, she is confronted with a local drama: a ... See full summary »
A young girl rescues a man from a suicide attempt. He turns out to be a sociopath, who begins to take over her life, abusing her both verbally and emotionally, yet she can't seem to tear herself away from him.
How truly odd it is that so little attention to this film is evident in these archives. Apart from some quibbles one might have with its casting, the occasionally stilted dialogue, or some melodramatic nonsense here and there, it really is an important addition to the Kirk Douglas oeuvre as well as a story about a character very much like those he played later in "Paths of Glory" and "Lonely Are the Brave."
Douglas must have had more than a passing hand in choosing roles for himself during his career. Unlike many of his contemporaries (Brando comes to mind), he has played characters that require a fine balance between kinetic displays of a true hero and moments of self-effacing and troubled doubt. It is not so much the quality of the writing at work here as it is his own deliberate and skillful willingness to interpret the role honestly, without regard to any supposed preconceptions of what his audience expects of him.
I write this with a degree of reservation, because I never much cared for his voice or his looks. The fact that I admire his acting skill is perhaps all the more enhanced by this admission, however. With a profile a little less vivid and a better vocal range and timbre, he might have played Shakespeare.
His French colleagues in the present effort are more stereotypical than one cares for. They are made to speak a kind of pidgin English that was generally thought acceptable in 1953 for American audiences. Subtitles accompanying actual French would be requisite for any remake.
Moreover, there is that recurrent tinge of sentimentality and bathos. But I still liked it on the whole, giving it a solid 7 out of 10.
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