In North Africa Dr. Walter (W) is a very skilled surgeon but lives at a distance from the hospital. In the evening a husband (H) and his sick wife come to his private home from far away. He...
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In North Africa Dr. Walter (W) is a very skilled surgeon but lives at a distance from the hospital. In the evening a husband (H) and his sick wife come to his private home from far away. He tells them to go to the hospital. The wife dies during the operation. The other doctors think that W might have saved her. Shortly afterward a man asks W to come to a village to treat a very sick man. W goes thither in his car. The local habitants do not allow him to apply Western medical techniques, all tyres of his car are stolen, and he sees H in this village. W tells him that his wife would not have died if he had timely taken her to a doctor. W buys a lot of coca-cola and starts walking home on his feet. He refuses H's offer to show him a shortcut. But thrice he finds H sitting at the road much ahead of him. Then he accepts H's guidance = misguidance! When they have been without water for many days and W wishes he was dead, he wounds H with a knife. H is sure to die within 24 hours without ...Written by
Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden
With hindsight,André Cayatte's golden hour was the 1948-1957 years,this decade which begins with "les Amants de Verone" (which does not belong to his "legal" era,although in a way it does:aren't the final scenes some kind of trial) and ends with this film,one of his strongest and one of his harshest.Even the conclusions of "Justice Est Faite" "Avant Le Deluge" or "Nous Sommes Tous Des Assassins " were not that pessimistic;one has to watch the film made up of sketches "Retour A La Vie"(segment "Le Retour de Tante Anna" )(1949) to find such a blackness.
A doctor who has been working all day is having a rest in his home in Lebanon when a man knocks on his door:his pregnant wife is not very well and he asks for help.The exhausted physician has his servant tell the lad to drive to the hospital.On the road ,breakdown.When the doctor finally returns to the clinic,his desperate assistant tells him the woman died in the night:ectopic pregnancy .."If you had been here...".Is the doctor really responsible for this death? The first part of the film is relatively slow,building little by little an inexorable tension: strange warnings,phone calls,shadows on the wall,flat tires...The widower is a little fat man (Folco Lulli) who seems harmless .The doctor (Curd Jurgens) feels (and does not) feel guilt.From the beginning,an insistent threatening atmosphere .By the beginning of the second part (the "odyssey" in the desert),the film is on fire and there is no letup as it continues to build in intensity and drama as the tempers rise and violence and hatred become even greater .
The little fat man which seemed ridiculous does not think that revenge is a dish best eaten cold:he wants his revenge and he takes off the "assassin" towards the infinite desert where thirst and despair await :"Can you explain to me why thirst is man's worst enemy?" The feud in the desert is not unlike Von Stroheim's grandiose "greed" .And the final panoramic shot will leave you on the edge of your seat.
André Cayatte Truff' was always putting down was admired by Ingmar Bergman.Can you forget one more time the Nouvelle Vague and enjoy this extraordinary film noir,which deals with blind (animal?)justice without entering a court ?
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