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
Certain films travel just below the radar. "Return from the Ashes" is such a film. The ones who've seen it never forget it but somehow it's nowhere to be found. Never on video and so far not on DVD. I'm not going to tell you about the devilish plot because that's most of the pleasure of seeing it for the first time. Just let me wet your appetite by saying that Maximilian Schell plays a young amoral polish guy who seduces a French, older, wealthy widow, played for real by a great Ingrid Thulin. The action takes place at the dawn of the German occupation. She is Jewish he is not. When Schell asks her to marry him, she laughs it off as a surprisingly conventional request but he means it saying "At this time is not convention but defiance" So he marries the older Jewish woman...that's all I'm going to tell you about the story. Samantha Eggar, beautiful and skinny gives a powerful performance of seductive evilness. She is a stand out of major proportions. The ending seems a bit of a commercial concession but it doesn't spoil the cleverly tailored plot. If you see it announced on late night TV, set up your VCR or whatever contraption at your disposal.
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