22 July 2002 | jgcorrea
French filmmaking used to be much, much better
The comparison, here, is unavoidable. This is the first version, dated 1954, with a fine cast led by Jeanne Moreau in her very beginnings, a competent mise-en-scène (Jean Dréville), a fine score (as usual) by Paul Misraki, a fine Eastmancolor photography by Henri Alekan and, last but not least, a script by silent-screen pioneer, Abel Gance, the celebrated author of Napoléon. Now, what could we say of the so-called remake 40 years later? Hardly anything to do with Dumas Père or, for that matter, good cinema. most surely the writer would be as horrified as I was with such self-boosting display of an ego trip by Monsieur Chéreau, a kind of sub-Peter Brook theatrical régisseur in France. Nota Bene that the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre was re-enacted in this Gance/Dréville version, a more subtle, although more sarcastic, even cruder picture than its ill-timed successor.