Life in a small Mexican village where joy and misery, hope and pain, passion and guilt, love and decay, life and death are mixed in the peasants life and two French citizens who end up stranded in there, during a typhoid epidemic.
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Erich von Stroheim,
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The first to die in an epidemic of meningitis in Vera Cruz is a French tourist. His wife Nellie, detached and indifferent, feels little grief and realizes that her coldness is her own doom. Over the next two days, she is attracted to George, a local drunk who does odd jobs for brothels and dances grotesquely for tourists in exchange for drinks. George has his own dark secret, a tragedy he caused that leaves him with a death wish. In assisting the local doctor to cope with the epidemic, these two emotional cripples enable each other to rediscover reasons to live and to love.Written by
Jean-Paul Sartre wrote ten drafts for screenplays to be used by Columbia Pictures, of which only three were typed down. The other seven were sort of rejected, and one of these, 'Typhus' came to be the obvious inspiration for Les orgueilleux/Los Orgullosos, Yves Allégret's co-production with Mexico. The film won the Bronze Lion in the 1953 Venice Film Festival, ex-aequo with I Was a Parish Priest (1953), Pickup on South Street (1953), and The Landowner's Daughter (1953), and also a Special Prize from the same Jury. When the film was nominated for Best Writing, Motion Picure Story, for the 1957 Academy Awards - in the wake of the film's release in the USA, with promotional materials emphasizing it was "Jean-Paul Sartre's The Proud and the Beautiful", the French philosopher disowned his authorship. The film has also been said to be based on Sartre's novel, "L'amour redempteur"... which he never wrote! This myth did not end, even after its exposure as such in "Feature Cinema in the 20th Century: Volume One: 1913-1950: a Comprehensive Guide", by By Jacek Klinowski et al. See more »
I sat through this movie this evening, forcing myself to stick with it even though I never cared about any of the characters or what happened to them, because the two leads, Gérard Philippe and Michèle Morgan, were major film stars of their era and I wanted to see them in "something different," which this certainly was. They both gave fine performances, but of distasteful characters.
Indeed, the whole movie is about a shabby little town in Mexico inhabited by almost uniformly distasteful characters (the doctor is, of course, the major exception). What Michèle Morgan ever sees in Philippe to fall in love with him is never explained.
This is supposedly based on a work by Jean-Paul Sartre. All I could think was that, if Sartre's work is anything like this movie, it must be a very mediocre attempt at imitating Camus' masterful novel The Plague, which dealt with a plague in North Africa.
A well-acted but uninteresting movie.
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