In June 1940, during the Dunkirk evacuation of Allied troops to England, French sergeant Julien Maillat and his men debate whether to evacuate to Britain or stay and fight the German troops that are closing-in from all directions.
Rocco and his female accomplice, Angèle hijack a truck from a trucking company in the Saharan desert. The head of the trucking company, Castigliano hires Rocco's friend, Hervé and a newly ... See full summary »
Inspector Maigret is traveling to the French countryside to visit his friend, the duchess of Saint-Fiacre. She has received a letter recently stating that she will die soon. A few days ... See full summary »
Lucien Bourrache, a good looking non-commissioned officer at the Spahis, is used to charm many women. He met Madeleine Courtois at Cannes. She is beautiful and lives in luxury. He lends her... See full summary »
Caracas, Venezuela. Just after her engagement with Vittorio, Nelly runs away from him. As he pursued her, she looks for help to Martin, a French middle-aged man she met by accident. He ... See full summary »
Six months before his retirement from the criminal police, inspector Joss finds his colleague Gouvion dead, in a poorly faked suicide attempt. Joss loses his temper, and investigates on his... See full summary »
Albert is an inn owner who vowed never to drink again if he and his wife survived the war. They did, and the reformed alcoholic keeps his vow. But times have changed and soon after the war,... See full summary »
This is what I would call a "good-bad" film. Let me explain: on the one hand, "La Chasse à l'homme" (Male Hunt) is a pretty good comedy, witty (with dialogues by Michel Audiard, that says it all), well-made by the always competent Edouard Molinaro and played by an impressive bunch of great actors, many of whom are the children of the French New wave. It is fun and light-hearted. Plus there are beautiful Greek locations and the rhythm is good. The question can be asked then : what more do you want ?
Well, it seems to me that for a work of art to be worthwhile it must rest on sound bases and this is the "more" I missed to make me enjoy this otherwise good quality product to the full. For if the form of "La chasse à l'homme" is satisfying, that is not the case with its substance. Blame it on its awfully misogynist tone, which makes adhering to the story and the characters difficult. And whose fault is it? Believe it or not, ... a woman's ! For the scriptwriter is none other than France Roche, better known as a journalist. A woman lashing out at creatures of the same sex, that may seem paradoxical at first sight, but this is hardly the first time a girl has shown herself on par with the fiercest macho female bashers. Even worse (maybe also because the writer is a woman), men are not spared either. Which results in an ultra- cynical apologue whose moral can be summed up as follows: women and men all despise each other but all women invariably manipulate all men into marrying them, however macho and big-mouthed they may be. Sorry, Miss Roche, but all that is a bit brief, don't you think?
Luckily, Edouard Molinaro will pursue the male-female relationships issue in a less cynical, more inspired way. Filmed two decades later, "L'Amour en douce" is an exquisitely delicate romantic comedy, this time reflecting the director's true colors.
Of course, "La Chasse à l'homme" being an unpretentious movie, the viewer can easily set aside all the considerations above and just have fun. After all, it is a film that can boast amusing finds (a hunting party in which the hunters are women and the game three bare-chested men, a parody of French gangster films in the Belmondo episode, the same scenes seen differently through the subjectivity of the three main characters, ...). One can also admire Molinaro's technical mastery : it is a known fact that he always gives close attention to the movie he makes, even when they are just commercial. In the present case, he resorts to all kinds of devices (upward and low angle shots, picture-in- picture, speed up editing, silent scenes with voice over, spoken ones with subtitles) so as to make "La Chasse à l'homme" something other than the bomb it would have been in more careless hands. And of course there are the actors. The stellar cast is justification alone to watch it. It would be too long (and self-evident) to sing in detail the praises of Belmondo, Brialy, Claude Rich, Françoise Dorléac, Catherine Deneuve, Blier, Francis Blanche (and there are some I am forgetting), but Marie Laforêt is an absolute scream as Gisèle, Antoine's languid, depressive and poetic rich fiancée.
It will then be for you to decide whether "La Chasse à l'homme" is a good film (it does have entertaining virtues) or a bad one (for being hollow and over-cynical) or else to join my club and find it, like me, a "good-bad" film.
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