Jenny Lamour wants to succeed in music hall. Her husband and accompanist is Maurice Martineau, a nice but jealous man. When he knew Jenny is making eyes at Brignon, an old businessman, in ... See full summary »
In 1900, Miquette, the pretty daughter of the widow Grandier, decides to become an actress after seeing a play performed by the Monchablon theatre company. Unfortunately, Madame Grandier ... See full summary »
An adaptation of Abbe Prevost's classic French novel 'Manon Lescaut', updated to post-World War II France, in which a former French Resistance activist rescues Manon from villagers who want... See full summary »
A psychiatrist, desperate for money to keep his faltering practice running, makes a deal with a spy to hide a mysterious person in his clinic in return for a million francs. As soon as the ... See full summary »
Stanislas Hassler blazes the development of modern art in his gallery, packed with works of surprising shapes, colours and textures, and where exhibitions turn into media events. Gilbert ... See full summary »
A liberated small-town girl and the family's black sheep moves to Paris with her sister, only to find herself standing trial for the shocking murder of her young lover. Was his killing premeditated or was this a crime of passion?
Six friends promise to share their fortune in 5 years. The moment is very close, but one of the six is mysteriously murdered, then another... Superintendent Wenceslas Woroboyioetschik (aka ... See full summary »
Dapper Inspector Vorobechik ('Wens' for short) is assigned the case of a serial killer who leaves a calling card on his victims; Monsieur Durand. Wens' mistress, struggling actress Mila Malou, determines to get publicity for herself by helping him. Learning that Durand is one of the eccentric tenants of a boarding house at No. 21 Avenue Junot, Wens takes a room in the guise of a Protestant minister; only to be followed by Mila who hardly seems like a minister's wife! Suspects are arrested, but while each is in jail, there's another murder...Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director Henri-Georges Clouzot's first film is an Agatha Christie style mystery, with the murderer constrained to the set of people in a boarding-house and a detective (Pierre Fresnay) investigating them. It's a playful script, buoyed by the perky Suzy Delair who is both his mistress and an aspiring opera singer (and in an interesting side note, Delair, a year younger than Olivia de Havilland, is as of this writing also still alive). The subject matter of a serial killer who leaves a calling card on his victims is of course serious, but it's presented here in a pretty light way, a bit like a stage play. It's also a little hokey in how its investigation proceeds and it's not all that kind to the French police who seem a bit foolish, but the resolution to the mystery is excellent and hard to see coming.
The film was made when the Nazis were occupying France, so Clouzot was working for the German production company Continental Films, and undoubtedly walking a tightrope (one that would get him into trouble with his countrymen in his next film, Le Corbeau). Some critics read veiled commentary about the Nazis in aspects of the plot (e.g. a murder shot from the perspective of the killer early on, or how heavy-handed police interrogations that border on torture can elicit a false confession), but I didn't see it quite as symbolically. The possible reference to a Nazi salute is intriguing though, and regardless, it's mind-boggling to think of this light mystery being made at this point in French history.
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