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My review is of the English-dubbed version of this film, entitled MURDER AT 45 RPM (interestingly, Reed Hadley seems to be voicing at least one if not two characters in the English-dubbed version). As a fan of murder mysteries, I must give this thumbs up. You are provided with a small group of suspicious characters, an interesting mystery that goes way beyond "who killed whom", and the usual French technical virtuosity and spiritual malaise. Serious mystery fans will probably place this on the same shelf with PLEASE MURDER ME and THE NIGHT WALKER, and it's as clever as either of those gems. I also like the fact that the writers of the film have constructed it in such a way that you really don't know if the victim is even dead until the film's final scene...which is AFTER the "resolution" of the crime! There are nice ironic twists throughout, but in unexpected ways. Overall, a nice little genre film that the serious murder mystery fan is sure to enjoy.
When Boileau-Narcejac heard that Hitchcock wanted to transfer "celle
qui n'était plus" (" Diabolique") to the screen,they made a lot of
books on the same pattern:the dead might not be dead.It gave a
masterpiece "Vertigo" (title of the book:"d'entre les morts" (=from the
dead))and "a coeur perdu" which Etienne Perier transferred to the
screen as "Meurtre en 45 tours" .
Darrieux's husband was killed in a car crash (accident? murder?)and did he really die?.The lady and her lover (Auclair) receive 45pm records ,with the dead's voice which threatens them "I'll come back...I'll come back".Pictures and photographs of the hubby which appear now and then are quite disturbing.
Actually this is one of the weakest Boileau-Narcejac's stories.You'll guess the culprit's name before the end .Add some very bland songs (Darrieux plays the part of a Chanteuse) and a captain not unlike Charles Vanel's in " Diabolique".
Etienne périer would continue in the detective film with such works as "la main à couper" or "Un Meurtre est un Meurtre".None of those works are particularly memorable.
This French noir is a B film similar to the American ones of the period, although France is not a country we normally associate with B pictures. It was the second feature film directed by the bilingual Belgian director, Etienne Périer. Périer is best known for two English language blockbusters which he directed in 1971: WHEN EIGHT BELLS TOLL and ZEPPELIN, both of which were hits at the time. Ten years earlier, in 1961, he directed BRIDGE TO THE SUN with Carroll Baker, set in Japan. He was thus equally at home with French language and English language films. This French film is available on DVD in a dubbed version, and no subtitled version appears to exist. The film is chiefly of interest because it stars Danielle Darrieux. The story of the film is based upon the novel A COEUR PERDU jointly written by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, who made film history as the authors of the novel filmed by Alfred Hitchcock three years earlier as VERTIGO (1958). This film was remade in 1994 under the title MEURTRE EN MUSIQUE (MURDER BY MUSIC), by the French Canadian director Gabriel Pelletier. The story involves the unhappy marriage of Darrieux to an egotistical husband played by Jean Servais, and her affair with a young pianist. (Darrieux is a popular singer and her husband composes the songs.) The husband is jealous and plots entrapments and revenge, but then is apparently killed in a car crash. However, he then comes back to life and starts claiming in 45 rpm sound recordings that he faked his death and is watching Darrieux's ever move. Everything becomes very complex, especially as the husband had a business partner with shady motives. All of the people in the story are rather unpleasant, one has no sympathy for any of them, and the story is therefore unrewarding because who cares what happens to any of them anyway, But nevertheless, for those interested in the noir genre, I would say that this French film of 1960 is a conscious attempt by the French to imitate the postwar American noir films, and it partially succeeds in doing so. For people interested in the history of the cinema, that is reason enough to be aware of it or even to watch the film.
I watched an excellent widescreen print of "Meurtre en 45 tours" (1960)
that allows one to appreciate the noir photography of this movie, which
is a noir mystery. English subtitles were fine. The movie can be viewed
on Amazon, but who knows what that version is? Amazon doesn't know
enough or have the sense enough or wish to incur the cost to say or
show anything about the content, aspect ratio or subtitles of their
All 4 of the existing reviews on IMDb are useful, including the short one for which only 1 of 7 people said it was useful and the other 6 said it wasn't. That review accurately says that this movie "unfortunately does not work as it should". Also: "Except for Jean Servais at his cynical best, the cast is not convincing and the action drags through the usual twists of the suspense scenario." This is correct. Ms. Darrieux is too stiff in this one and doesn't project enough of the shift in her character after her husband (Servais) dies in an auto accident. She has no sparks with her lover, Michael Auclair. Her suspicions of him are too unemotional. Her attractions to him are not evident. For his part, he seems mainly to mope around looking glum. The director went for too much understatement and underplaying. Servais is the only one of the major players who brings some fire to his role, even when he is only a voice on a 45 rpm recording. Jacqueline Danno is allowed to show her strong feelings as a competing singer to Darrieux, but her part is relatively small.
The movie is by no means without merit and I suspect it will play somewhat better on a second viewing, but it does tend to drag and its red herrings are not as effective as they should be. The movie is too bland. One of the more interesting things about the story is the mutual suspicion of the two lovers, but the script and direction do not allow this to rise to intense noir levels.
Doris Day, toned down some and suitably directed, would have livened up this movie. Her command of emotion is superb. She showed in "Julie" (1956) a great capability. She would have demanded better songs and then sung them convincingly. Ginger Rogers might possibly have done quite well cast here against her usual strong type. Her work in "Twist of Fate" (1954) shows her depth of skill in such a role.
As everyone notes, the movie tried to capitalize on "Diabolique" and the idea of a husband coming back from the dead or not really being dead. This is hard to pull off. The plot here succeeds in doing it by fashioning the story as a mystery in which we are not given enough information to know the truth until the very end. We are perhaps even inclined to be misdirected into a wrong assessment. As in many mysteries, there comes a time when the resident cop ties the whole thing up for us. Before that happens, those with a logical facility and attention to detail will have largely figured out what's going on.
I recommend the movie, and I suspect many viewers will find it affords quite a lot of pleasure while others will be sensitive to its faults. It is a welcome noir, but we cannot say that it is a signal one.
Most probably this movie tried to capitalized on the fantastic success of Les Diaboliques. From the same Boileau-Narcejac team of detective stories this one unfortunately does not work as it should. Except for Jean Servais at his cynical best, the cast is not convincing and the action drags through the usual twists of the suspense scenario.
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