Town trollop Safia, much against her better judgment, falls in love with Matteo, a beggar and mystic in the native quarter of Sirocco. She flees to France, first as the mistress and then ...
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Town trollop Safia, much against her better judgment, falls in love with Matteo, a beggar and mystic in the native quarter of Sirocco. She flees to France, first as the mistress and then wife of a wealthy archaeologist, and bears him Matteo's child, whom he believes to be his own. Complications arise years later when Matteo finds Safia, and a ring of blackmailers uncover her past and exposes her to her husband. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I read dbdumonteil, my favourite reviewer I usually agree with him and I love to disagree too and well I felt compelled to add something to pump-up his enthusiasm.
For if "Le dernier tournant" is good, if "La foire aux chimères" is very good, twisty and enthralling, this "Maison du Maltais" is one of the most flamboyant melodramas I've ever seen. And, to my eyes, the best thing Pierre Chenal ever made.
The story is classic melodrama with enough turns to entertain and appeal you all 87 minutes long.
The characters are clichéd at first sight, but finding redeeming features in their parts to finally become original.
The good-hearted hard working whore becomes a lady then finds herself compelled to inhabit for some minutes, twice, her whore's clothes and behaviour. The dreamer, Dalio, also knows transformations, three times in his case.
The two-fold story benefits of an excellent pace, great set-ups the first reel's exotic ambiance is exceptionally well created and great cinematography too, the best I've seen for any Chenal's works.
About the cast, the other reviewers said it already, but let me add this : Viviane Romance is here just as good as she'll be in Duvivier's "Panique", and maybe better. Isn't it enough?
If no, I'll say more : it's Dalio's part for his life-time. Jany Holt is cast in her category, and she does it just at her best.
More? Jouvet, stellar in less than ten minutes screen-time, astonishing, amazing
OK, enough, you see my point: try to watch this one, along with the two other Pierre Chenal's movies named earlier, and admit with me that he was one of the great "petits maîtres" of French cinema, when he had the chance.
And for this peculiar movie, Stahl or Sirk didn't do better. Yes indeed!
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