2 December 2019 | dbdumonteil
" Les Possédées " was the first time Raf Vallone and Magali Noel had teamed up and ,in its way ,it was also a "trap" ,for the man spends half of the time at the bottom of a well ; a tendency to overact (vallone and Madeleine Robinson) and sub-Tennesse Williams atmosphere wrecks this attempt.
So here there are again : hunky Vallone and sexy Noel as sensual as ever ;as a film noir ,it's much better than "les Possédées",although there are strong shades of James Cain 's "the postman always rings twice" ,which ,must it be repeated ,was first filmed in France ,before Garnett's and Visconti's (superior admittedly) versions.
Brabant displays a surprising sense of ellipsis ,mainly in the first part: very few words ,and it takes time before the viewer knows who is who ;some details remain mysterious: what has become of Noel's husband? what is the exact relationship between this attractive woman and her peeping tom father-in -law (Charles Vanel) , getting an eyeful of her swinging legs.Even more to the director 's credit ,an uncanny atmosphere ,with this refinery and its relentless thump which sounds like a monster's breath.
It was love /sexual attraction at first sight for this on the lam and this frustrated innkeeper (whose name is CORA ,like the "postman" heroine!).But from the very beginning they are trapped and their attempt at living a brand new life far far away (like the heroes of the Realisme Poétique of the thirties) backfire on them;the director does not always avoid ponderous symbolism (the two fishes Cora releases) and he does not always prevent both actors from overacting .
In spite of its flaws , the movie is a good "in camera" film noir .....
Like this ?..try these.....
"Chair De Poule" ,Julien Duvivier,1963
"La Lumière D'en Face " ,Georges Lacombe, 1955