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During World War I, Army Private Arthur James Hamp is accused of desertion during battle. The officer assigned to defend him at his court-martial, Captain Hargreaves, finds out there is more to the case than meets the eye.
Frank, a hobo, ends up in a garage-truck stop in the middle of nowhere. Nick Marino, its older, kind and naive owner, is married to Cora, a sexy and mercenary woman half his age. Frank, although not a fan of hard work, accepts Nick's offer to work for him. Of course, it is not for Nick's sake that the young man becomes his attendant, but for the love of Cora under whose spell he has fallen at once. It does not take long before Cora, who despises her husband, asks her lover to help her get rid of him. Frank is reluctant at first but.Written by
Le Dernier Tournant is the first film adaptation of the classic James M. Cain novel. Like all of the adaptations (especially Ossessione) which followed, Le Dernier Tournant probably takes more time to watch, even at ninety minutes, than the Cain novel would to read. The Postman Always Rings Twice is one fast paced novel. It is a slim text that grabs a reader and propels him through in no time. One of the reasons for this is Cain's hardboiled narration. Strangely, none of the adaptations have made much use of Cain's narration.
Despite this, Le Dernier Tournant follows Cain's plot closely. The investigation is altered, but the end result is the same in both novel and film. In addition, all of the actors turn in good performances. Corinne Luchaire has an earthy beauty that is a nice contrast to the more glamorous actresses who have played the role (Lana Turner, Jessica Lange), and she fills out a sweater well. The direction is seldom flashy, but it tells the story economically. There are a handful of well done scenes. Particularly effective are the murder attempts, climaxing with the haunting use of an echo.
Le Dernier Tournant is no forgotten masterpiece, just a solid 1930's melodrama. It's still a far cry from the James M. Cain novel though.
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