Faithful - but uninspired - account of the notorious Landru case, which swept over post WWWI France.
The film follows the facts closely, from Henri Désiré Landru's "family life", seductions and murders to his trial and execution. Well if your objective was to get the main details of a famous serial murder case you will be satisfied. However a film lover could have expected something more fiery, more intense, more unsettling from Claude Chabrol than just that.
To tell the truth there is more to this movie than...just that. Indeed there are good production values, fine colours, slightly stylized settings and a stellar cast. Nevertheless, I couldn't help stifling a yawn now and then.
Why so? Maybe because such great ladies as Danielle Darrieux, Michèle Morgan, Mary Marquet, or Hildegard Knef are given almost nothing to do.Only Stéphane Audran stands out in the part of Landru's naïve young mistress, Fernande.
Charles Denner, on the other hand, oddly directed by Chabrol, is a physical lookalike of the "sieur de Gambais" but fails to deliver both charm and terror.
It looks as though Claude Chabrol ,who is so at ease with what I would call "domestic" monsters ( Jean Yanne in "Le Boucher" and "Que la Bête meure", Michel Bouquet in "La Femme infidèle" and several others )was petrified by his cold-hearted, cynical monster, with absolutely no redeeming features. He did not manage to bring life to his character.
Landru, too monstrous a monster , even for Chabrol ?
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