Following the suicide of an elderly Jewish man, a journalist in possession of the man's diary investigates the alleged sighting of a former S.S. Captain, who commanded a concentration camp during World War II.
Johnnie Byrne is a member of the British Parliament. In his 40s, he's feeling frustrated with his life and his personal as well as professional problems tower up over him. His desires to ... See full summary »
Stanislaus Pilgrin, a Polish chess master and handsome gigolo, marries wealthy Jewish widow, Dr. Michele Wolf, an X-ray technician and has an affair with her step-daughter, Fabienne and then plots to murder them both in a scheme that will have him inherit their money.Written by
TCM gave this movie two stars. Ridiculous. I saw this film YEARS ago. I never forgot it and at one point, I tried to find out the name of it and was directed to another film. I suspected when I read the plot on the channel guide that this was the movie.
Set in flashback in pre-war Paris and in the present in post-war Paris, the story concerns a doctor, Michele, (beautiful Ingrid Thulin) hopelessly in love with Stanislaus, a chess-playing roué, excellently played by Maximillian Schell. He doesn't pretend to love her - he likes her, but what he loves is her money. They marry, but because she's Jewish, she's picked up and sent to Dachau. During the time she's gone, her husband becomes involved with her now grown-up albeit unstable stepdaughter Fabienne (Samantha Eggar). After the war ends, and Michele doesn't return, Fabienne and Stan assume she's dead. However, because of the laws in France they can't get their hands on her money.
The truth is that Michele is alive, but had to go to a sanitarium after the war to recover from her horrendous experiences in the camp. She's scarred and aged, and when she finally returns to Paris, she stays in a hotel and turns to an old colleague, Charles (Herbert Lom) to fix her up. When Fabienne spots what she thinks is a Michele-lookalike (actually Michele), she comes up with a plan to have her stepmother return from the dead, with the imposter taking a cut.
A really good movie, very intriguing, with good performances all around and excellent photography. I'm so sick of being burned by TCM's ratings - four stars for trash and two stars for a fine movie like this (not all the time, but occasionally).
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