7.3/10
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33 user 41 critic

The Lovers (1958)

Les amants (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 26 October 1959 (USA)
Saddled with a dull husband and a foolish lover, a woman has an affair with a stranger.

Director:

Louis Malle

Writer:

Louise de Vilmorin (dialogue)
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeanne Moreau ... Jeanne Tournier
Jean-Marc Bory ... Bernard Dubois-Lambert
Judith Magre ... Maggy Thiebaut-Leroy
José Luis de Vilallonga ... Raoul Florès (as José Villalonga)
Gaston Modot ... Coudray
Pierre Frag Pierre Frag
Michèle Girardon ... Hélène Cavalier
Gib Grossac Gib Grossac
Lucienne Hamon Lucienne Hamon ... Chantal
Georgette Lobre Georgette Lobre ... Marthe
Claude Mansard Claude Mansard ... Marcelot (as Claude Mansart)
Alain Cuny ... Henri Tournier
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Storyline

Bored with her husband, bored with her polo-playing lover, will the middle-aged heroine go away with the young man who gave her a lift that day when her car broke down on the way back to her country estate from a weekend with her lover in Paris? Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One of the most widely discussed motion pictures in years! So frank, so mature,so provocative! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

26 October 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lovers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Québec)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After screening this film, Nico Jacobellis, manager of the Heights Art Theater in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, was charged with and convicted of possessing and exhibiting an obscene film. He appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court, which overturned the convictions, ruling that the film was not obscene. In a concurring opinion, Justice Potter Stewart made his famous pronouncement concerning what was pornography: "I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that." Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 U.S. 184, 197 (1964) (Stewart, J., concurring). See more »

Quotes

Maggy Thiebaut-Leroy: Let me look at you. Love agrees with you. You're unrecognizable.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Twisted Sex Vol. 6 See more »

Soundtracks

Streichsextett No. 1
(uncredited)
Op.18: Movement II--Andante ma moderato
Music by Johannes Brahms
Conducted by Serge Baudo
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Desperate Housewife?????
7 September 2008 | by jsobre-1See all my reviews

As a twenty-something, I saw this film with my boyfriend of the time, and as soon as it was over, we rushed home to do it ourselves. In the early-to-mid sixties, "Les Amants" was eroticism that was certainly explicit--albeit tastefully explicit, to our naive eyes. Made when Malle was twenty-five, with the young Jeanne Moreau, to the romantic Sextette that Brahams wrote when he was 27, this was the perfect sexy romance for its time and place.

I just saw it again, now watching as a sixty-something in an age in which "Les Amants" would probably get an R rating--and a tame one. I'm jaded too. It's hard to feel much sympathy for a desperate housewife of the upper middle class as she battles ennui. But the love sequence is still a knockout. You can't stop to think about it as the lovers, who as yet barely know each other except for their terrific physical attraction, go from garden-to-boat- to bedroom; it's still erotic in its implication. the garden is too lovely to be true, the boat is white and clean, and Moreau wears her pearl necklace throughout, but the message of a woman who has only known pedestrian sex being introduced for the first time to the Real Thing rang a bell with me (I had a similar experience, minus the garden, the pearls and the boat). I sat there bawling my head off-- with nostalgia this time for an unrecoverable experience-- through the whole sequence.

But the ending also rings true. What do you do when you come up for air?

From one of the interviews on the CD, I learned that the plot was based on an 18th century story, and I can readily see that, just as could see the fin-de-siècle Viennese origin of Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut." In neither case does the contemporary updating of the tales make them any less effective.


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