The lives of numerous people over the course of 20 years in 19th century France, weaved together by the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean on the run from an obsessive police inspector, who pursues him for only a minor offense.
Ryevsk, Russia, 1870. Tensions abound in the Karamazov family. Fyodor is a wealthy libertine who holds his purse strings tightly. His four grown sons include Dmitri, the eldest, an elegant ... See full summary »
In 17th century Kyoto, Osan is married to Ishun, a wealthy miserly scroll-maker. When Osan is falsely accused of having an affair with the best worker, Mohei, the pair flee the city and ... See full summary »
Set in Las Vegas, "The Gambler" tells the story of a wealthy Eastern-European family whose misunderstanding of the American ways results in the loss of their dignity and self-respect. The ... See full summary »
Upon Prince Myshkin's return to St. Petersburg from an asylum in Switzerland, he becomes beguiled by the lovely young Aglaya, daughter of a wealthy father. But his deepest emotion is for ... See full summary »
There was a lot of FRench movies in the thirties which would take place in Russia ("les Nuits Moscovites" ,"les Nuits de Saint-Petersburg" and even Renoir's "les Bas-Fonds" and Lherbier 's "la Tragédie Impériale ").All these works have in common the inability to create a Russian atmosphere .Paying in roubles and kopecks is not enough to make us believe we are in Russia.
What am I driving at? Well,it is simple: if the direction and the actors are worthwhile ,then the movie can be rewarding.Such is the case of the famous Russian novel adaptation by Pierre Chenal.The scene of the double crime is particularly gripping ,using to enhance the tragedy Honegger's haunting music.
Pierre Blanchard ,sometimes a bland actor, gave in "Crime et Chatiment" his best performance ever.His haunted eyes,his feverish look and his extreme nervousness are really impressive and his portrayal shows every nuance of his fragility and of his despair.Matching him all the way is Harry Baur's mischievous smooth-tongued portrayal of Judge Porphyre:he seems to play cat and mouse with his suspect....and some viewers would go as far as saying he 's a bit Colomboesque.On the other hand,Sonia's part is underwritten and her will to follow the convict is not really convincing.That's the main problem with the movie:the secondary are characters are not well treated .But the duel Blanchard/Baur makes it all worthwhile.
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