Le couteau dans la plaie (1962)
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Lisa (played by the ever exasperating Sophia Loren) has tired of her immature, infantile husband, Bob (played by the always great Tony Perkins). Well, when Bob travels to Casablanca via plane and Lisa sees in the newspaper that it crashed with no survivors, she's relieved. But guess what? Unfortunately for her (but fortunately for us Tony fans), Bob didn't die! Well, Bob comes back to Lisa unbeknownst to anyone else and bullies Lisa into collecting the insurance money.
Overall this is just a great film (even if Sophia is in it). The ending is a shocker, too.
One more thing, listen to the film's music; it's really good, too.
Sophia Loren is the star both in billing and performance. She's married to former American GI Anthony Perkins and it's an abusive relationship. Perkins has to take a flight to Casablanca, but the plane crashes near Bordeaux and miracle of miracles he survives but is not found.
What a golden opportunity for a little insurance fraud. And a battered Sophia goes along with it. The rest of the film is the masquerade that Loren plays as she pretends he's dead like everyone suspects and what she endures with an increasingly unbalanced Perkins.
When Sophia Loren won her Oscar for Two Women she showed her acting chops and this film also has a lot more to do with Sophia the actress than Sophia the sex symbol. As for Anthony Perkins he started out playing callow youths with issues. After Psycho he started out playing far more deranged characters with issues although his character here is descending into a bit of madness unlike Norman Bates who was one fully formed whack job.
Other men in Sophia's life are Gig Young and Jean-Pierre Aumont. Won't give any ending away because in the end we don't know what's to become of the main characters most especially Sophia Loren.
The sole survivor of a plane crash, Perkins was fortunate to have taken out a special insurance policy (even if the odds of dying in a crash were 1 in 1,000,000). Good wife Loren, already prepared for widowhood by the "news", gets a good shock when Perkins shows up, pressuring Loren to play along with the hoax to collect the insurance money.
Although the ending is somewhat of a surprise, the time spent getting there seems like an endless and tiresome walk through the woods, only to arrive at a run down greasy spoon as a reward. Without any frills or glamour, even shot in b&w, this is a less than average vehicle for either of the stars. Look for a young Tommy Norden (of TV's "Flipper" Fame) in a minor role. Otherwise, skip it altogether!**
The second thing that will be strange to viewers is the pairing of Anthony Perkins and Sophia Loren. True, they were paired together as a romantic couple a few years earlier in "Desire Under The Elms", but reportedly that worked as well as it does here. How a beauty in the form of Loren could be attracted to the nervous, boyish Perkins is hard to swallow, to say the least.
But even if the title was fixed AND they got two lead actors with better (and believable) chemistry together, I think the movie still wouldn't have worked. I could see this story being told as a short graphic story in the comic "Tales From The Crypt". I could see this story working as a half-hour episode (with commercials) of a show like "Alfred Hitchcock Presents". Or even as a full hour. But this telling of the story lasts about 110 minutes. It's VERY slow-moving, full of padding like the stuff with the little nosy boy. Plus, the ending of the movie is very predictable - I guessed what would happen after reading the plot synopsis before actually starting the movie.
Far from the worst movie I've seen, but still not worth seeing. Trust me, you've seen this story before one way or another.
The suspense really heats up when after the funeral Robert appears back at their apartment injured but very much alive. He brings Lisa into a scheme to keep his death a secret so that they can collect the money. Lisa is reluctant but Robert promises to allow for their separation and a share of the money if she would assist with the plane. Lisa is very torn and emotional as she labors through the process. The movie keeps you guessing what the outcome will be, and Lisa eventually realizes that she must end her trauma.
Sophia Loren is lovely and her facial expressions expressed her fear and emotional she experiences. Anthony Perkins is exceptional in being the creepy loner type. David Barnes and Tommy Norden provide great supporting roles as well.
Although the ending is somewhat of a surprise, the time spent getting there seems like an endless and tiresome walk through the woods, only to arrive at a run down greasy spoon as a reward. Without any frills or glamour, even shot in b&w, this is a less than average vehicle for either of the stars. Look for a young Tommy Norden (of TV's "Flipper" Fame) in a minor role. Otherwise, skip it altogether
It's then that two things happen in the film that changes it's entire completion or storyline. Alan is transfered back to New York City and Robert is killed in a plane crash on his way to Casablanca for a job interview! Or so it seems!
As things turn out Alan is replaced by his newspaper by David Barnes, Gig Young, who's even more hotter for Lisa then even Alan or her late husband Robert is. As for Robert he somehow survived the plane crash, by landing on his head, when he was flung from the aircraft before it hit the ground! Coming back home to as shocked Lisa, who felt that she finally was rid of him, Robert forces her to file a life insurance claim for $120,000.00 that Robert made out for himself before he boarded the doomed plane.
Despite having all the cards in her favor, all she had to do is go the the insurance company and tell them that her dead husband was in fact alive, Lisa does as Robert asks her to do thus making herself an accomplice in Robert's issuance fraud scheme! As for the dying to jump into the sack with Lisa David Barnes he in his sniffing out her apartment, as well as Lisa herself, comes to the realization that Robert is in fact alive and plans to use that information to get Lisa to go on a date with him just to start the ball, in finally getting her to say "I Do", rolling!
***SPOILERS**** You would have expected more form a movie with top stars like Sophia Loren Anthony Perkins and Gig Young in it but it comes across like a run of the mill made for TV cheesy forbidden romance revenge flick! You would have at least expected at one time in the movie, just to keep from from nodding off, to see Lisa or Miss Loren take her clothes off and show off her impressive vital statistics, 38-24-37, but she's fully clothes during he entire lengths of the film! All we have left is Lisa trying to somehow get Robert off her back in committing a crime far worse, that can end up getting her shot at sunrise, then the insurance fraud that he was blackmailing her into doing!
As for the love sick David Barnes he blows his big chance in getting it on with Lisa by not only finding out her criminal involvement with Robert but having her give herself up to the Paris Police for it! Where in the future the only way David can see her, if in fact she want's to see him, is behind bars on visiting day in prison!
Lisa Macklin (Sophia Loren) married to an American, believes that her husband (Tony Perkins) has been killed in an airplane crash. Actually, he was a survivor and wants to collect $120,000 in insurance he took out before the flight by pretending to be dead. Of course, his wife has to collect it. The two don't exactly get along, and the only way to be rid of him is for Lisa to collect the money for him. She is falling for a newspaperman (Young), who is suspicious as to what is going on. Her husband promises he will let her go once he has the money.
This is a very unsatisfactory film, in part because of the miscasting of Tony Perkins as Loren's husband. Not only that, but the acting just isn't very good even from pros like Loren, Perkins and Young. Litvak only made two more films after this - it appears he lost his touch after making some marvelous films: This Above All, All This and Heaven Too, Tovarich, City for Conquest. Either that or he had to make too many concessions. At any rate, he didn't pay too much attention to what the actors were doing. The story just meanders along. Not very good.
Loren gets all the loving close-ups her fans would want while going through some agonizing predicaments but never does her acting seem like more than acting. Perkins gets to slap her around and come up with some wise-cracking insults when he discovers she's been unfaithful to him, but it too seems too much like acting because he's simply miscast as a brute.
Even the usually reliable GIG YOUNG looks as though he decided to phone this one in, so unconvincing is his role. The telegraphed ending fails to convince and seems more like a contrivance of the script writer than a logical outcome to the story, even though Loren tries hard to show her anguished mental state.
All of it has the look of a low-budget film hastily put together without any distinctive touches. It would probably work better as a half-hour teleplay, the kind that TV frequently produced during the '60s.
Misdeed comes to the unhappily married couple when the plane Perkins is flying on crashes and he is thrown from the plane and survives. No one has to notice that so he literally returns from the dead and plots with Loren to get the insurance money. He promises her her freedom from him, only to go back on his word when she finally gets the money by saying that after all she lied and signed papers to get the money.
Gig Young is the reporter she meets earlier after he takes over the apartment of Jean Pierre Aumont who is fortunate enough to exit this film quite early.
Everyone is dancing about twisting in the era of the twist and there is that obnoxious little boy, a neighbor from quite the way, who sees Perkins and tries to be his friend.
Anthony Perkins was ruined by Psycho...after his success there he seems to be used for only one role:a weird creepy out of control character--certainly the case in this movie.
The story is so unlikely and Perkins so unlikeable both factors make this movie a dud. What can I say it is poorly written not suspenseful. It has lots of very boring or irritating plot mechanisms and red herrings that fall flat. Mostly I think though that it is Perkin's chemistry that wrecks it.
Sophia Loren 28 being chased by 55 year old male heroes somehow is just irritating too....I was so glad when Loren murdered Perkins. Both the hero and antihero are repulsive in this thing.
God this thing was awful...
DO NOT RECOMMEND--you will regret watching it.