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Controversial tragicomedy about a brother's obsessive love for his sister. Having left her husband, Hilary moves in with her unbalanced brother, Pink, who uses wit and humor to hide his amorous yearnings.
J. Lee Thompson
Stanislaus Pilgrin, a Polish chess master and handsome gigolo, marries wealthy Jewish widow, Dr. Michele Wolf, an X-ray technician and has an affair with her step-daughter, Fabienne and then plots to murder them both in a scheme that will have him inherit their money. Written by
A Neat Theatrical Melodrama...and Inspector Dreyfus finally is a good guy
I have only seen this film once or twice, and it's been four decades ago. It is a sharp little murder story, with a clever scoundrel (Max Schell) who plans to make a real killing - a once in a lifetime shot at a fortune.
Schell is a first rate amateur chess player. He happens to meet Ingrid Thulin, a Jewish medical technician who was married before the war to an older, wealthier man. During the war she was in a camp, but she was lucky enough to survive.
She is vulnerable now, and she falls for Schell's polite, and then increasingly tender concerns for her. It isn't that she is stupid. She has resumed her career thanks to her closest friend's assistance (more of that later). But her home life is harsh - she only has her step daughter (Samantha Egger) who hates her as a woman who supplanted her mother. Egger is not that much younger than Thulin, and she thinks of Thulin as an adventuress who robbed her (Egger) of her inheritance. Actually Thulin is nice enough to share her house with Egger.
Schell sees the set-up as a golden opportunity. He woos Thulin, and marries her, much to the suspicions of her close friend. In the meantime he keeps Egger under control, because she is capable of giving him information useful for his future plans. And when she is no longer useful, but increasingly a romantic problem - she is suddenly found dead in an "accident". This effects Thulin, who is always just on the borderline because of her war experiences. Schell shows concern...he openly worries about possible suicidal tendencies. And then he sets his final plans into operation. And at that point, I will leave the plot line for the reader to seek out and see the film.
It turns out (I won't say how) Schell does not really count on the close friend affecting his plans. And that was the final reason I enjoyed the film. I have always been a fan of Herbert Lom. Ever since I saw him in THE LADYKILLERS, GAMBIT, A SHOT IN THE DARK (and the other "Pink Panther" films he popped up in), I have enjoyed his menace, his mania, and his remarkable acting skills. Except for GAMBIT (perhaps - in one scene he briefly shows menace), Lom usually played dangerous men to cross. In this film he finally played a decent guy. I can only say that it's a good thing that he's there at the end, literally, to help pick up the pieces.
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