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Because Jean Delannoy is now dismissed as cheesy by the new wave aficionados,most of his works are forgotten Too bad because his adaptation of William Irish is ,say,as good as the cold Truffaut's "the bride wore black" and much better than Robin Davis's poor and watered-down "J'ai épousé une ombre" (I married a shadow).Because watered-down this is absolutely not.The terrible and depressing conclusion of Irish's short story is thoroughly respected.
This "silent as a grave" short story is harrowing,suspenseful and deeply moving.The heroine -Irish's heroes are actually often heroines-see "the bride wore black") was born under a bad sign.All she tries to do in order to save her sentenced to death husband backfires on herself.The ending leaves the reader desperate.
As Clouzot did for Boileau Narcejac's "celle qui n'était plus" (which was to become the celebrated "diabolique"),the scenarists had to rewrite the story which took place in an American city probably NY city:they transferred the action to a French circus.This is no masterpiece,and we sense little of Irish's tragical genius.But Michele Morgan and Raf Vallone are strong actors and there's a good supporting cast.Suspense is sustained till the last minute ,and ,unlike Robin Davis,Delannoy does not indulge himself a happy end.Give it a chance!
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