6.5/10
232
3 user 4 critic

The Old Lady Who Walked in the Sea (1991)

La vieille qui marchait dans la mer (original title)
Unrated | | Comedy | 15 September 1995 (USA)
Lady M. wades every morning through the sea in order to heal her pain. But she is not what she pretends to be: Together with her partner Pompilius she finances her luxurious life by fraud ... See full summary »

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Writers:

(scenario and dialogue), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lady M
...
Pompilius
Luc Thuillier ...
Lambert
...
Noemie
Jean Bouchaud ...
Mazurier
Marie-Dominique Aumont ...
Muriel
Hester Wilcox ...
La fille du Directeur
Léa Gabriele ...
La fille en bleu
...
La bibliothécaire
Mattia Sbragia ...
Stern
Francis Renaud
Daniel Vérité
Satbyadevi F. Ralingam
Sushma Unnikrishnam
Gilles Rousseau
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Storyline

Lady M. wades every morning through the sea in order to heal her pain. But she is not what she pretends to be: Together with her partner Pompilius she finances her luxurious life by fraud and blackmailing. Falling in love with young Lambert she is about to break up all her pretendence as Pompilius is not willing to accept the youngster. Written by Volker Boehm

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cuckold | based on novel | See All (2) »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

15 September 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Old Lady Who Walked in the Sea  »

Filming Locations:


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Box Office

Gross USA:

$50,349
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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User Reviews

 
The novel explains everything...

I was repulsed by this film. I couldn't understand why Jeanne Moreau, who didn't age gracefully by any stretch of the imagination (or the plastic surgeon's art), would expose her ugliness - both physical and moral - in this vehicle about an ageing female crook without any redeeming qualities falling in love with a younger man and pushing her equally decrepit ex-lover to suicide in the process.

Thanks to Ms. Moreau, her character is seen as vulgar, sly, coarse, selfish, calculating, heartless and sexually decadent.

Then, I read the novel by San Antonio and everything became clear. "La Vieille qui marchait dans la mer" is a masterpiece of the French language, which is surprising coming from an author who has specialized for decades in the kind of literature made popular by Simenon and Mickey Spillane. It is one of the definitive French works of fiction explaining the nature of physical attraction. It is also surprising that such a macho writer would take the trouble to delve - with such eloquence - into the meanders of a woman's soul.

In the novel, the old woman's intentions and her love for her young protégé are clearly understood through her many frank dialogues with God. The novel's character benefits from not being "seen" (except in descriptions) so that we can judge her soul and not her body. Unfortunately, the spectacle of Ms. Moreau's spectacular decrepitude - playing an 85 year arthritic old woman at age 63 - is enough the prejudice anyone against the personage she is supposed to interpret and the whole thing comes off as a freak show in very bad taste - "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" meets "The Grifters".

Still, one has to admit that it took quite a bit of courage - or recklessness - on Moreau's part to expose oneself in that way for all the world to see. And the film does take an added resonance when one has read the novel. It would have taken more imagination and a better director to actually transpose the novel's many interiorized levels of meaning and fleeting glimpses of poetry to the screen. As it is, the movie is only the exact physical equivalent of the book's unflinching descriptions, locales and storyline. It's the same difference that separates Mary Shelley's original "Frankenstein" novel (romantic, introspective, reflective and philosophical) from all its adaptations (outright horror films).


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