No Escape (1958) Poster


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dbdumonteil2 December 2019
" Les Possédées " was the first time Raf Vallone and Magali Noel had teamed up and ,in its way ,it was also a "trap" ,for the man spent half of the time at the bottom of a well ; a tendency to overact (Vallone and Madeleine Robinson) and sub-Tennesse Williams atmosphere wrecks this attempt.

So here there are again : hunky Vallone and sexy Noel as sensual as ever ;as a film noir ,it's much better than "les Possédées",although there are strong shades of James Cain 's "the postman always rings twice" ,which ,must it be repeated ,was first filmed in France ,before Garnett's and Visconti's (superior admittedly) versions.

Brabant displays a surprising sense of ellipsis ,mainly in the first part: very few words ,and it takes time before the viewer knows who is who ;some details remain mysterious: what has become of Noel's husband? what is the exact relationship between this attractive woman and her peeping tom father-in -law (Charles Vanel) , getting an eyeful of her swinging legs.Even more to the director 's credit ,an uncanny atmosphere ,with this refinery and its relentless thump which sounds like a monster's breath.

It was love /sexual attraction at first sight for this man on the lam and this frustrated innkeeper (whose name is CORA ,like the "postman" heroine!).But from the very beginning they are trapped and their attempt at living a brand new life far far away (like the heroes of the Realisme Poétique of the thirties) backfires on them;the director does not always avoid ponderous symbolism (the two fishes Cora releases) and he does not always prevent both actors from overacting .

In spite of its flaws , the movie is a good "in camera" film noir .....

Like this ?..try these.....

"Chair De Poule" ,Julien Duvivier,1963

"La Lumière D'en Face " ,Georges Lacombe, 1955
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Claustrophobic, atmospheric French film noir; superb Vanel, good Vallone
adrianovasconcelos18 November 2020
Director Charles Brabant, whom I did not about until I watched LE PIÈGE, does a good job on the basis of excellent B&W photography, and a superb minimalist soundtrack with constant mechanical noises from a nearby fuel production complex, all of which contributes toward a feeling of reclusion and claustrophobia, especially from the moment police come on the scene and spring the trap on the murderous couple.

Vanel is superb as the completely amoral and reptilian father in law of Magali Noel, who not only ogles his daughter in law in the intimacy of her bedroom but also blackmails her into agreeing to sleep with him or she and Vallone will be reported to the police, and not be allowed to elope.

Magali is not really up to scratch. Moreau, Deneuve or Dorléac would have added considerable acting credibility to this film.

Vallone has excellent patches of acting. The scene where Magali and he see each and are immediately attracted to each other, is phenomenal. Generally, the two shine when they are together. Magali does not do so well on her own. Vallone admirably conveys rage issues and comes across as a likable character, his murder of a man in Italy notwithstanding.

The script has quite a few holes in it, which is a pity. Well worth watching, nonetheless
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