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TWIST (Claude Chabrol, 1976) **1/2
MARIO GAUCI12 November 2010
After having looked high and low for this to be included in director Chabrol's own retrospective, which I undertook in time for his 80th (and, as it turned out, last) birthday, I finally managed to track down both a French (albeit unsubtitled) and English-language version; for this review, then, I opted to watch the battered latter print (even if it is the shorter, by one minute).

I had heard a lot of negative things about it but, while falling far short of his best efforts, the film is not quite Chabrol's nadir either – as many would have it; on the other hand, it has been likened by some to the work of Luis Bunuel (due to its fantasy/surreal elements which, however, bafflingly draw attention to themselves by being bathed in a soft glow!). Still, the overall treatment is way too farcical to have the desired satirical effect (in fact, this more readily approximates the style of a Fellini or Marco Ferreri!); ultimately, the film's main flaw is the lack of a proper plot – conversely, a definite asset emerges to be Manuel De Sica's score, which is alternately emphatic and wistful but always haunting.

I, for one, was particularly drawn to it by virtue of a star-studded cast; this factor, however, proved misleading since most are given thankless roles: worst of all in this regard were Charles Aznavour as a doctor and Curt Jurgens as a jeweler (incidentally, an uncredited Chabrol even gives himself what amounts to a walk-on part). Typically, the women are numerous and lovely: Stephane Audran (delightful as ever in her last – and most histrionic – leading role for her director husband, showing off her statuesque body despite being 43, and also seen having a romp in a Volkswagen with her legs stretching out of its top!), Sydne Rome (as her impetuous niece), Ann-Margret (as Audran's romantic rival, called Charlie Minerva, involved with both her husband and lover[!]) and Sybil Danning (as Audran's lover's secretary); the odd one out in this company is Maria Schell, who is decidedly embarrassing as a wacky maid: unaccountably developing a hankering for a male doctor, she throws herself out the window in order to be put into his care – later, when the protagonists relocate to the country and her room is destroyed by a torrential downpour, she tells her employers: "You don't need a maid but an exorcist!"

The men in the cast are no less notable: Bruce Dern (as an American poet living in Paris craving a literary prize that eventually goes to a local writer – whose wife Audran fantasizes doing a gratuitous nude scene in a theater and himself imagines having a foursome with Rome, Ann-Margret and Danning, until Audran turns up to castrate his gigantic erection!), Jean-Pierre Cassel (his third and last film with Audran, here playing her lover and Dern's publisher, following Chabrol's own much superior THE BREACH [1970] and Bunuel's masterpiece THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE [1972]) and Tomas Milian (as a Chaplinesque detective, forever having the biscuits he is dunking melt in his coffee, whom Audran appoints to spy on her lover!).

P.S.: An interesting coincidence relating to Dern and TWIST is that, in the same year, he starred in a film by Alfred Hitchcock i.e. FAMILY PLOT (1976) and this, made by his French counterpart Chabrol (not to mention the co-author of the first-ever critical study on the Master Of Suspense's work)!
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Very boring French comedy
Mikew30015 August 2002
This is one of Claude Chabrol's weaker films. It's about the same topics as usual - a French high class couple on the country side between hot love affairs, paranoia and domestic catastrophes. While Chabrol can easily make good thrillers, crime dramas and social studies with witty plots with touch of irony, bitterness and sarcasm, he's not good at directing straight comedies like that.

The plot is too confusing, the acting is really bad (especially Maria Schell as a hysterical Swiss house maid), nearly all jokes fall flat, and after a few minutes only this French comedy simply gets on your nerves. Avoid it and rather watch other Chabrol films instead like the brilliant "A Judgement In Stone", "The Butcher", "The Beast Must Die", "The Hatter's Ghost" and the nice Inspector Lavardin crime movies.
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folie tout court
dbdumonteil28 November 2007
That was Chabrol's seventies nadir by such a wide margin it's difficult to find which would be the second :"nada" perhaps,and nevertheless ,that film seems to tell a story,and the director seemed still to know where he was going.

It did not seem that way after "les folies bourgeoises" a disastrous collaboration between Chabrol's usual suspects (Audran,Cassel),German earnest thespian Schell (who was never as bad as here,as an user aptly points out ,as the swiss maid ) and American stars (Bruce Dern who walks across a theater completely naked :it's only a fantasy ,we are told,but Luis Bunuel,Claude Chabrol is definitely not.

After this disaster,which got unanimous thumbs down in his native country,Chabrol occasionally came up with good films ("Alice Ou la dernière fugue" "L enfer" )but he was never to recapture the magic of the 1968-1973 productions.
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You can't win them all
gridoon201827 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
According to IMDb trivia, Claude Chabrol considered "Twist" his worst film. It's also one of the lowest-rated Chabrol movies on this site, and the lowest-rated Chabrol movie in Leonard Maltin's book (along with "The Hatter's Ghost"). I usually don't let other people's opinions affect mine (for example, I found "Les Magiciens" / "Death Rite", another low-rated and obscure Chabrol outing from the same period, to be quite clever and intriguing), but in this case, the consensus is correct: this is one of Chabrol's failures. It is a plot-less, pointless, shapeless film from one of the most methodical directors; it often feels as if Chabrol, the man who is usually known for putting great thought behind each shot, has no idea what he's doing or why! There are hints that "Twist", despite its non-existent script, could have worked better as a serious examination of a dysfunctional married couple, but Chabrol was apparently in the mood for a more comedic approach: to say that there are no laughs would be an understatement. A few memorably bizarre fantasy sequences, Stephane Audran's classic elegant beauty, Mozart's music, and a rare optimistic (by Chabrol's standards) ending are only enough to earn "Twist" * out of 4.
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