After a botched attempt to put an end to her miserable existence, the emotionally scarred and irreparably destroyed widow, Julie Kohler, summons up the strength to pack up her things and leave her mother and town behind. Haunted by a horrible, life-altering incident and utterly surrendered to the palpable void of paranoia, Julie embraces black, the colour of death, and embarks on a devilish mission of revenge. Now, as the sinful past puts five seemingly unrelated men in harm's way, acknowledging death may be liberating. But, is there a limit to relentless Julie's determination? Above all, is there an escape from the clutches of the grim avenger with the doleful, dark eyes?Written by
From One Auteur To Another: Truffaut's Ode To Hitchcock...
Francois Truffaut's THE BRIDE WORE BLACK is an excellent gift of a film to fans of Hitchcock and even to the master himself. There are many nods to Hitch's films and you know Truffaut had done his homework while making the picture (by writing the definitive book on Hitch's films). What makes BRIDE WORE BLACK more than just mere homage is an elevation of suspense and a less stylized, blatant approach to the material. Truffaut does not sell his own cinematic soul and is able to present a terrific suspense story of his own. It was almost like Hitch's work turned inside out. Jeanne Moreau plays a miserable middle-aged woman, both suicidal and murderous, looking to avenge the death of her life-long companion and husband.
We see the murder of the husband repeatedly throughout the picture, studied from different angles and vantage points. He is assassinated on the steps of the church, while the thunderous 'wedding suite' plays rather ominously. We find out why she picks her victims the way she does and how they all relate to the slaying. This is one ticked off woman. Some of the murders echoed Hitch, one inspired by FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, another from NOTORIOUS. The scenes and "borrowing" that occur here are not as blatant as you may think, however. They are mostly inspirations and Truffaut puts his own spin on them, meshing them together or taking them apart and reassembling the elements. If you are a Hitch connoisseur, it is fun to interpret what Truffaut is doing with the master's vast material.
I was also struck by a feeling of NORTH BY NORTHWEST, but with a woman as the main protagonist and the journey turned inside out. Of course, we get the character who has seen this person before and either leads to her capture or is on to her, a staple in Hitch flix. The ultimate homage is Bernard Herrmann's score (he was Hitch's right hand man for years). The 'wedding suite' is louder than usual, resonating evil, and the music as a whole is Herrmann's typical gothic work, brilliant and memorable. Truffaut extends Hitchcock by showing us in more graphic detail some of the killings and the relentless mission this woman is on is not stylized the least bit.
Check out the poisoning scene and tell me you don't see Ingrid Bergman looking at Claude Raines circling and bellowing in expressionistic ways. Trains are littered throughout the film, one on the lampshade of a young boy, another with Moreau riding on it. This is all great, but it transcends some of Hitch's work in many ways. The blood-curdling ending is one of the best I have ever seen in film, period. Considering BRIDE WORE BLACK was released in 1968, the horrific ending may have inspired HITCH of all people when he made FRENZY in 1972. Watch both and see if you know what I mean. This is a must see for foreign film fans as well.
RATING: 8 1/2 of 10
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