|Index||3 reviews in total|
Denys De La Patellière represents the old wave in the sixties;but he is
not in the same league as his former colleagues;nevertheless,when the
screenplay is good (here based on a novel by Simenon)with the
collaboration of Albert Valentin,one of the most gifted overlooked
directors of the occupation days ,when the lines are witty (Michel
Audiard) ,and when you've got four aces :Michel Simon,Pierre
Brasseur,Lino Ventura and Annie Girardot ,you can make something out of
The delicious contrast between the posh "attitude"the bourgeois Brasseur and his daughter and Ventura's (and girlfriend's,a semi whore and "Chanteuse" in a seedy nightclub (Mistigri!))patent inability to match it is in the end endearing;in fact Lino Ventura takes after his dad,played by Michel Simon;Simon has only two scenes,but he makes both count:the old man is vulgar ,crude,smart and malicious:if sonny does not inherit,all his dough will go to the ...Jesuits ,care of sister Angélique! "Le Bateau D'Emile " aka "Le Homard Flambé" (lobster flambé)is a put-down of the bourgeoisie and a hymn to bohemian life in which stuffed clams are more important that all the money in the world.
The movie starts out great with Michel Audiard's lines mouthed with
gluttony by Michel Simon, and with Pierre Brasseur as his magnificent
sparring-partner. Then the story switches to the main characters: Lino
Ventura and Annie Girardot's low-life couple. From the buoyant Audiard
exposition we are thrown into a noir Simenon atmosphere, and the movie
never recovers from such a radical turn.
Basically the short story may have been enough to do a noir Simenon adaptation or a farcical Audiard flick à la Tonton Flingueurs. Unfortunately they didn't chose at all, yet Lino Ventura is obviously very limited when it comes to displaying emotions without crushing someone's nose, so he was miscast for the Simenon atmosphere anyway.
It's easy to be awed by the achievements of Frog Cinema and forget that they
regularly send out all that classy talent to make something as feeble as
Hollywood at it's most crass.
This one is a big, handsomely mounted black and white 'scope piece connected to some Simenon story and fronted up by the admirable Lino Ventura and the superb Annie Giradot their peaks. She does her best trying to make his port girl friend into a real life person despite the attentions of an army of make up men and hair dressers. The water front setting holds promise but the mechanical handling of a dim script wastes whatever effort has gone into the thing.
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