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Antoine de Caunes
Saint Tropez, 1975. Julie Wormser and her lover, writer and neighbour Jeff Marle, plan the assassination of her wealthy husband Louis, an impotent who drinks a lot. She hits him, and leaves the rest of the task to Jeff. Julie finds herself alone the following day, and becomes therefore prime suspect. Where is Louis' body? Where is Jeff? Is there any secret beyond a door?Written by
Vincent Merlaud <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In an interview, Claude Chabrol said Dirty Hands (1975) was bizarre: "there was a young Italian actor - Paolo Giusti - who was hallucinating mediocrity, he was really appalling (laughs) ... Romy Schneider was the only woman in the film - even the extras were men - and it was interesting to see that this girl could put up with anything. It must be said that this film is not terrible. But you see, it's still a curiosity." See more »
Chabrol just can't be bothered with mcguffins and creating suspense, that's where he differs from Alfred Hitchcock. Instead of a meticulous recreation of a social group (the rich), we are given careless expressionistic filmmaking using the repertory actors Attal and Zardi (here as buffoonish policemen) plus a name Hollywood actor (Steiger), an Italian pretty-boy (Giusti) and the greatest European actress of her time, Romy Schneider.
You know the plot's clumsy when two characters keep having to discuss it at length for the viewer's benefit. There's a murder scene using some sort of club that falls completely flat in dramatic terms. There are simply too many twists and turns for a simple adultery story to bear, so we are left to admire the gracefulness of Schneider's performance. She is a trophy wife who must start to make decisions on her own, in the absence of her husband and her lover; she must also learn to lie convincingly to suspicious detectives. The eroticism of the lovemaking on the livingroom carpet, taunting her frustrated husband is well evoked.
The interrogation before the judge is the one scene that really holds up dramatically. The impatient judge who finds the beautiful woman suspect very desirable, the eager lawyer who smells a way out for his client--fabulous acting by Jean Rochefort--and the woman herself who hardly says a word while the two men argue over her fate. The only such scene I can recall with this power is the one in Altman's The Player.
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