Bold and attractive, Mike Alexander is an American who smuggles drugs across the Spanish Mediterranean. Ingrid Dekker is in love with him while the double-crossing Emily Birk tries to ... See full summary »
José Antonio Nieves Conde
Doris Putzke is fond of dating men in her quest for finding the perfect one. In her brief relationships, she goes from one disillusionment to another, constantly deluding herself about the intentions of her lovers.
1) Jerôme Chambard, a retired man, taken in by nuns in a convent, swears like a trooper. 2) Françoise takes a lover because he has promised her a diamond necklace. 3) Denis, a seminarist, ... See full summary »
Lydia MacMillan, a wealthy old woman who has never married, is invited by an old beau, Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, for a reunion with the men who have been in her life to reminisce about the ... See full summary »
Edna May Oliver
Kingdom of Heaven,what a title for a movie which takes place in a girls' reformatory! It has become difficult to find this Duvivier forgotten gem.It took me years and years of searching before finally laying my hands on a ebay second-hand video tape .Once more,I was stunned:in a career which spans -roughly- the first half of the twentieth century,Duvivier's works almost always appeal and they innovate too:probably influenced by Pabst 's "Tagebuch einer Verlorenen" ,"Au Royaume des cieux" predates such works as " the Magdalene sisters " by half a century!And that's not all:Orson Welles, who was a Duvivier fan ,found his "Othello"'s Desdemona here:Suzanne Cloutier plays an unfortunate girl,in state care,who is unfairly sent to the sinister prison.
Duvivier is the French master of the film noir,only equaled by Henri-Georges Clouzot.Never the Nouvelle Vague produced a single worthwhile film noir .
Duvivier always painted the darker side of the human soul:his world is all wickedness,evil and despair.However in "au Royaume des Cieux" some sunlight does break through.The heroine has a lover (Serge Reggiani) who tries to help her escape from this living hell.A tutor (Monique Melinand) shows some compassion.And the priest does too.But what can they do when a head warden(Suzy Prim) finally sees her dreams come true when the former one -a sensitive good old lady- dies and makes way for her.Suzy Prim portrays a shrew who hates men,probably repressed sexually -a scene between her and Cloutier reaches peaks of hatred and violence- who sadistically treats her girls.And let us not forget the dog's name Goliath (sic).In Duvivier's works justice is often meted out by one of these gentle animals: see also "Voici le Temps des Assassin" and "Chair de Poule"
Remarkable scenes: the hunger strike ,which the infamous Prim tries to break by bringing them a delicious soup (Duvivier's camera masterfully shows the hungry faces ,then the steaming pot);the prisoners turning around the anarchist's dead body (Juliette Greco!);the desolate landscapes the Police car which takes the heroine to the prison crosses;the impending flood which will become a transparent metaphor of the fever which rises behind the reformatory walls.The two estranged lovers ,whose dreams concur beyond a prison's walls.And the last picture which beats Truffaut's "les quatre cent coups" at its own game .
Perhaps an optimistic world ,which is unusual in Duvivier's work,since all these lost girls discover,through their mate's true love that ,they can hope against hope.
The cast and credits :the soundtrack consists of bells ringing louder and louder:MM Duvivier and Jeanson,hats off!
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