The late thirties/early forties were a time when many French directors possessed a sense of mystery: it was the time of Lacombe-Clouzot's "Dernier Des Six ",Tourneur's "La Main Du Diable" ,Siodmak's "Pièges " (remade by Sirk as " lured" ) Becker's "Goupi Mains Rouges" Chenal's "Maison du Maltais" the list is endless....
"La Ferme aux Loups" by Richard Pottier ,a director whose work was largely ignored for a long time and who was the first ,along with Andre Cayatte to broach euthanasia ("Meurtres" ,probably his masterpiece) long before Amenabar ("Mare Adentro") and John Badham "Whose life is it anyway?".Pottier shows ,in "la Ferme aux Loups" not only a sense of mystery but his obvious talent when it comes to create a disturbing atmosphere .The central segment (the country drive,the forest ,the mysterious farm,the dead body) climaxes the film and it equals all the best sequences of the aforementioned films.
"La Ferme aux LOups" has a far-fetched screenplay ( no Steeman or Very are here to lend a helping hand).Combination of circumstances best describes it: how can the two journalists (Meurisse and Périer) wind up in THAT place where the dead body seems to have emigrated?And what about the photograph their lady friend finds in the same house?And what about her mother who had a love affair during the Russian Revolution ?
And in spite of a rather weak screenplay,it works,because,as I wrote above, at the time,the French cinema used to know how to film a murder mystery and make us shiver.
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