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Because Delon's popularity was sinking fast and Jacques DEray was
dismissed as unhip this deliciously old-fashioned film was unfairly
unnoticed and nobody seems to care now.
Jacques Deray 's film is a wonderful tribute to old cinema ,that cinema with strong screenplays which preceded the French new wave .It's interesting to note that ,unlike,say,Jean-Paul Belmondo ,Alain Delon never worked with the Young Turks : it did not prevent him,anyway,from working with great directors such as René Clément -he was a better Ripley than Matt Damon- Luchino Visconti and Joseph Losey ,to name but three.He was also featured in the great Duvivier 's last -and unfortunately rather weak- work "diaboliquement vôtre"(1966) and he had the guts to defend the "old" man against the new wave's hateful attacks.
"Un crime" is "back to the forties and the fifties".Forget the color and think Duvivier,Clouzot and most particularly Henry Decoin ("les inconnus dans la maison" "la vérité sur bébé Donge" ""non coupable" )and André Cayatte (one of his latter works "verdict" but also "le glaive et la balance" and "justice est faite").Deray is perhaps not in the same league ,particularly he had not Duvivier's or Clouzot's genius but here he delivers the goods and the screenplay has enough unexpected twists to satisfy the lovers of, say , "primal fear" -sometimes Manuel Blanc 's Frederic is close to Edward Norton's character and it's not plagiarism,because "un crime' was made before- Most of the time ,there are only two men on the stage ,and they sustain interest till the very end.Frederic's luxury flat is also part of the game ,and ,with astute and subtle flashbacks,Deray reveals its secrets little by little.
Delon's fans were not satisfied,because it was definitely a thankless part :a brilliant lawyer who always wins at the beginning, he's slowly turning into a jaded disenchanted human being.
Best moment:the flowers Manuel Blanc throws on the floor,a scene a lot of "modern" directors" could be proud of.
It 's a short film -about 85 minutes and they say Gilles Perrault did not approve of the adaptation of his novel,but you should have a look at it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A taut thriller that keeps you guessing and a small cast of excellent
actors is a great recipe for an absorbing night's entertainment.
Alain Delon who in his lifetime has played a multitude of characters gives a good restrained performance as a defence lawyer (Charles Dunand). His client is a strange young man with psychopathic tendencies who since the age of 12 has held a terrible secret. Now living alone in a somewhat rambling apartment with dark stairways Frédéric (Manuel Blanc ) is ever conscious of a secret which if disclosed could condemn him.
Frédéric, it is revealed, has a daily task to attend to, an important task if he wishes to retain his freedom. Thanks to his grandfather who made it all possible.
Confining himself to an upper floor of the apartment he spends time watching the comings and goings of the populace through a telescope. This peeping Tom latches on to a girl on a balcony some streets away. It is not difficult for him to seek her out.
One feels at times that all the characters are in danger particularly the lawyer to whom he reveals his devastating secret with a promise to kill him if he ever uses the evidence against him. What follows is an unimaginable revelation.
Manuel Blanc has appeared in many films. He is definitely the star here giving an interesting and somewhat creepy but compelling performance
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