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Based on Lermontov's novel Vadim, this costume drama, set in Russia during the 1700s, chronicles the battle between a vengeful, anarchic peasant and the tyrannical landowner who killed his mother and father.
Imprisoned Harry Lomart is a vicious, brute of a man and yet he is prepared to do his long jail term as he is confident that on his release his beautiful wife Pat will be waiting for him, but a visit from Pat brings him his worst nightmare.
A secretary takes her boss's car for the holiday in the Mediterranean, oddly retracing a journey she has not taken, and is recognized by people she has not met before. When a body turns up in her trunk, things get serious.Written by
The film could be described as 40% Alfred Hitchcock and 60% Raymond Chandler. It initially starts out as a very glossy chick-flick with our heroine Danielle Lang (Samantha Eggar) working as a PA in a chic Paris advertising agency for her dashing boss Oliver Reed. The Christian Dior dresses perfectly capture the glamour of very late 1960s Paris. I would have been happy enough with just that, but it gets darker and better as the movie progresses. Although Mademoiselle Lang plays the confused and helpless heroine for most (but not all) of the film, it does pass the Bechdel test. Samantha Eggars performance is first rate, but I have to say I think Stéphane Audran steals the show as Samantha Eggars former flatmate. However, as a long time Stéphane Audran fan I may be biased, and in fact that was the main reason I watched the film in the first place. Most of the supporting cast is very good also.
Where the film goes wrong is that it spends far too long on the 'mystery' aspect of the plot and when the 'reveal' happens it is too rushed. I think this may simply be bad editing since there are many many scenes in the 'reveal' sequence which are cut together in the space of a few minutes. Maybe if they'd been stretched out over 30 minutes it would have made everything feel more balanced. Particularly as the 'mystery' segment starts to drag toward the end.
It didn't help that I saw a really poor print of this. I would love to see the original, I'll bet the colours look sumptuous.
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