André Mercier, a journalist known as Albin Mercier, is a failed, embittered writer. Sent to cover an event in Germany, he gets to know Andreas Hartmann, another writer who, for his part, ...
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André Mercier, a journalist known as Albin Mercier, is a failed, embittered writer. Sent to cover an event in Germany, he gets to know Andreas Hartmann, another writer who, for his part, has not... failed. The successful Andreas is married to Hélène, a beautiful Frenchwoman. Both attracted to her and jealous of the couple's happiness, Mercier decides to shatter it. Taking advantage of the absence of Andreas, off on a business trip, he tries to seduce Hélène and to become her lover. But things do not go according to plan...Written by
A few scenes were filmed in the country house of André Ciganer, the father of French ex-first lady, Cécilia Sarkozy. The latter, aged 4, appears uncredited as the little girl in white. See more »
Predates the golden era
If there is a movie from Chabrol's early period (roughly 1958-1962)which predates great things to come,it must be "l'Oeil Du Malin" .Although it's not as appealing as "Le Beau Serge" , "Les Cousins" or "A Double Tour" ,it contains the seeds of "La Femme Infidèle" or "Juste Avant La Nuit".
Still entangled in the Nouvelle Vague vices (loose screenplay),Chabrol shows for the first time his hatred for the bourgeoisie ("A Double Tour" was more a paean to Hitchcock than a social comment) ,a subject which will become his trademark in those golden years (1967-1973) when he was ,at least to my eyes ,the best French director .And for the first time,Stephane Audran plays lead -let's pass over in silence "les Bonnes Femmes ",Chabrol at his Nouvelle Vaguest hence at his worst- :a lot of people have said that those brilliant films of the early sixties/late seventies owe a lot to her.
"Le Malin" means "the devil" ;Jacques Charrier was probably not the right choice ,being too good-looking and too limited to play such an ambiguous character ;Jean -Claude Brialy , Laurent Terzieff or Gérard Blain would have shone in this kind of part.This "devil" , a failed journalist ,wants to destroy a nice bourgeois couple who lives in a desirable mansion .It looks like a blueprint for the great films to come.The part of the German husband, for instance,is too underwritten whereas it's perhaps the most interesting.There are memories from WW2 which were already present in the very strange "Nazi" scene in "les Cousins" .His relationship with wife is only skimmed over (just compare with "la Femme Infidèle" or " Juste Avant La Nuit") Essential viewing for anyone interested in Chabrol's work though.
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