- 1h 42min
A young French woman travels to South America for a job offer and ends up a prisoner in a slave camp for women by a sadistic gangster.A young French woman travels to South America for a job offer and ends up a prisoner in a slave camp for women by a sadistic gangster.A young French woman travels to South America for a job offer and ends up a prisoner in a slave camp for women by a sadistic gangster.
Maurice Cloche made several interesting movies in the thirties and forties :Alphonse Daudet's "le petit chose" and his best effort " Monsieur Vincent" about the French saint . But from "Marchands de filles " onwards, after the prostitution cycle , in James Bond 's wake ,he directed poor spy thrillers,and there's nothing to save from the wreckage.
"Des Femmes disparaissent " (Molinaro,same year ) dealt with the same subject ,but the police intervened before the girls were sent to those marvelous faraway countries where they will be rolling in money; "Marchand de filles" goes all the way :the girls are lured to Latin America where they promise them the moon;we follow some of these girls :Josette (Agnès Laurent whose career was short-lived) a naive bubble head girl who thinks that her boss will allow her to marry the nice sailor she met on the liner ; Gaby who left her child in France and Vera who sings a melancholy song ,some kind of "some day my prince will come" are played by earnest actresses (Pascale Roberts and Evelyne Dandry);The same goes for Georges Marchal who would also work with Luis Bunuel at the time ("la mort en ce jardin" "cela s'appelle l'aurore",here cast as enigmatic Mister John.
The screenplay is muddled and melodramatic, direction leaves a lot to be desired (the small car chase and the final gangland killing); and how Josette, beaten to death,then kidnapped in the hospital,then sent to the brothel ,can escape unharmed is beyond me.
Only one short scene is impressive : a matron writes the number of "clients" on a blackboard in the brothel;and the screenwriters are honest enough to admit that the terrible problems of all those girls are not resolved when the movie's over.
- May 20, 2020