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  • Chabrol always could turn on the new-wave schizophrenia. Overly hyper at times, inspired at others.

    Based on the novel "La Cle de la Rue Saint-Nicolas," a wine grower of not some little means, finds himself beset with problems on all sides, from his wife, his children, his best friend.....even his lover! Well, truth be known, SHE has problems herself - she is murdered!

    Chabrol does a fair Hitchcockian impression, filming the demise of the mistress as he does, entirely with mirrors. Arguably the highlight of the movie.

    To appreciate this film it would definitely assist to have had some exposure to French Cinema in the past. You may otherwise find the Chabrolian experience a rude and possibly confusing awakening. Be that as it may, this example of new-wave French artistry is understandably held in high esteem in many places.
  • What a great discovery this movie is which has finally been released on DVD. It is a beautiful and haunting film that demands to be seen multiple times. It features a standout performance from Jean-Paul Belmondo at his Breathless best, playing the character of Laszlo Kovacs. At times brutally honest about relationships, this film works as both a murder mystery and social comment -- much like Renoir's "Rules of the Game." It also feature several suspenseful scenes that are so intricately composed and beautifully shot, Alfred Hitchcock would undoubtedly be jealous. I highly recommend this film for anyone interested in New Wave cinema and classics from the world.
  • dbdumonteil4 January 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Not a prequel to Psycho;a sequel to "strangers on a train" or "notorious" more like! The over possessive mother was present long before the 1960 masterpiece in Hitchcock's canon.Madeleine Robinson,more than Belmondo ,is the stand-out .She won the Volpi Cup and she really deserved it.Her portrayal of the bourgeois mother,more pitiful than really maleficent relegates the rest of the cast to walk-ons.

    The treatment is certainly HItchcockian ,particularly in the second half .We know the name of the criminal twenty minutes before the ending;Thus Chabrol avoids the "whodunit" which A.H. did not like either.Abetted by Henri -"Plein Soleil" (M.Ripley)René Clément,same year-Decae 's sensational cinematography and inventive use of colors ,particularly in the scenes in the country (flowers,trees,brook) and in Leda's apartment during the murder,he takes what is primarily a bourgeois drama out of the living-rooms.

    The mother is the "villain" of the movie but I do not think that Chabrol wanted us to like the other ones:Belmondo and his pal are scroungers;as for the father ,the simple fact that he cannot see his son's tragedy (and that he can't even forgive him for what he's done!!!) makes him an irresponsible unpleasant man.

    An attack against the bourgeoisie was not that much new :even if he introduces "nouvelle vague " characters,if you know the pre-nouvelle vague FRench cinema,you will notice how much ,unlike Truff ,God' et al , Chabrol owes a lot to Decoin,Clouzot,Duvivier,and Louis Daquin whose "Voyageur de la Tousssaint" already possessed almost everything which is in " a Double Tour".

    In "A double Tour" ,his first thriller ,Chabrol is still prisoner of his American influence .Besides the elements of pure "nouvelle vague" -the long prologue with Bernadette Laffont at her window,the two pals' boozing - get in the way.He is still a creator-in-waiting ,and when he finds the perfect atmosphere,the perfect actress and the perfect musician,he will give his late sixties/early seventies masterful works such as "La Femme Infidèle" "Le Boucher" "la Rupture " or "Juste Avant la Nuit"."A double Tour paved a reliable way to those future achievements.
  • In the countryside of France, the dysfunctional House of Marcoux is in crisis: the patriarch Henri Marcoux (Jacques Dacqmine) has a love affair with the gorgeous red-haired neighbor Léda (Antonella Lualdi), a lonely artist that has just arrived from Japan. However Henri does not want the divorce, since he is interested in the vineyard, the house and the income that belong to his wife Thérèse Marcoux (Madeleine Robinson) and the children.

    Thérèse is a traditional bourgeoisie woman that is worried with the appearance and gossips about her family. Their son Richard Marcoux (André Jocelyn) is a weirdo that loves classic music and is attached to his mother. Their daughter Elisabeth (Jeanne Valérie) is dating the reckless gold-digger Laszlo Kovacs (Jean-Paul Belmondo), who has become friend of Henri and does not respect Thérèse. Their maid Julie (Bernadette Lafont) is an easy woman that has sex with the milkman Roger (Mario David). When Léda is found dead in her house, the police inspector investigate the murder and Thérèse and Roger are suspects.

    "À Double Tour" is an original dramatic thriller by Claude Chabrol in his third work, about the murder of a woman where several characters may be the killer. The plot is well developed, with a great cast including very beautiful actresses. It is curious to see that "Psycho", that was released one year later, uses mother and son elements of this 1959 film by Claude Chabrol. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): Not Available
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have seen a lot of films--far more than anyone you'll normally meet. This isn't bragging (after all, imagine what I could have done with this time)--just a fact that I have seen and reviewed a huge number of films. And, in the course of looking through IMDb, I have often noticed reviewers who compare films to those of Hitchcock--often calling them 'Hitchcockian'. Well, I HATE when people do this. I am not even sure if Hitchcock himself was always Hitchcockian--whatever that means! And, often I have seen this term used for various films of Claude Chabrol. While a few are vaguely like SOME of Hitchcock's, these comparisons are useless. I think Chabrol's films are much more 'Chabrolian'! This is not an insult--Chabrol did some very nice films. But the fact is, "Leda" is very, very little like any of the films of Hitchcock--mostly because there really isn't a whole lot of suspense and some of the characters (especially that of Jean-Paul Belmondo) are NOTHING like any you'd see in a Hitchcock film...nothing. So, please, do NOT keep calling films 'Hitchcockian'--let them succeed or fail on their own merits!

    The film is a very sexually charged film--especially for 1959. It seems that most of the characters either embrace their sexuality or deny it--and this seems to be the main underlying theme in this film. It seems that if you embrace it, you seek happiness and if you deny it you are choosing misery. This sexuality and the occasionally bizarre nonconformity of SOME of the characters make this seem like an early example of the French New Wave movement. In fact, Belmodo's character seems exceptionally similar to the seminal New Wave film "Breathless"--but two other New Wave film makers, Godard and Truffaut. This observation is not meant to be a criticism or recommendation--just a statement that this film is a clear break with the earlier styles of film making--something the New Wave clearly was attempting to do.

    The husband and wife in the tale are trapped in a loveless marriage. He somewhat openly has an affair with a younger, prettier and less emotionally constricted neighbor and the wife refuses to grant him a divorce. His daughter has an on-again/off-again relationship with an obnoxious and care-free goof-ball (Belmondo) and it seems like the lady is torn between the lifestyles of her parents. The brother is a cypher--a weird guy indeed. As for the wife, you really can't tell if she's a horrible person or a victim throughout the film--and that is okay. However, when the mistress is murdered brutally, the story heats up---just a tiny bit. In fact, this is a problem with the film. While the characters are reasonably interesting, WHO committed the murder isn't much of a mystery--as the script only really gives two reasonable choices for this. And, sadly, the most obvious is the killer--and the ending just seemed indulgent and loud--and not particularly satisfying. There is no Hitchcockian twist (or Chabrolian, for that matter) to make this anything other than a very ordinary film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An interesting transitional work, Chabrol's third film, in color, with Madeleine Robinson (Best Actress at Venice for this), about an adulterous husband who's a rich vineyard owner with problems. He's fighting with his wife (Robinson), he's out of touch with his son Richard (André Jocelyn) and daughter Elizabeth (Jeanne Valérie), and he has a young artistic girlfriend Leda (the voluptuous Antonella Lualdi) who gets murdered. Bernadette Lafont is Julie, the maid. Full of Sirkian and Hitchcockian elements, this is Chabrol's bridge from the New Wave to his own brand of bourgeois crime story. This was also a film featuring the young Jean-Paul Belmondo (as "Lazlo Kovacs," an alias he uses in Breathless; he's Elizabeth's disreputable, freeloading boyfriend) just before he became famous, and he's got all the rude grace he put into Godard's debut. Some sequences play too long, but the murder scene is amazing. Not altogether successful, but unquestionably worth seeing--indeed essential viewing for any Chabrol fan. Somewhat under the radar in its 1961 first US release, this was not available on DVD till recently.
  • loydmooney-111 April 2006
    4/10
    so so
    Warning: Spoilers
    Too bad. In many respects a very lush home movie, so uneven that it is nearly painful often, yet, a few times rises to a kind of respectablity. Belmondo is completely out of control, the guy playing the father of this mismatch is miscast, the son is overdone to the point of being charred, and yet, yet, you have a peerless performance by Madeleine Robinson. She never makes a false step. And whoever thunk up the notion of the woman for Leda, well, perhaps the most miscast of the lot.

    The real hero is the villa. Wow. Knocks your eyes out.

    The ending is very strange. How anybody of the bunch thinks they are going to keep the secret of the son murdering Leda past a few minutes from the police who are still on site , even as wonderfully as Robinson attacks the job, is amateur night.

    However a villa anywhere anytime never looked better. What a setting, hard to take your eyes off it and look at all the bad acting. Very inspired casting.
  • Magma_Flow27 January 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    In some of Chabrol's lesser films, like "À double tour," his effort to preserve the ambiguity of characters' inner lives slips into incoherence about their moral status. Fed mixed signals, the viewer can't decide what attitude to take toward the characters and loses interest in the film.

    "À double tour" provides evidence for two contrary readings. In one view, the mother is an intelligent, modest, likable person, a faithful wife and caring mother. She is afflicted by two destructive forces in the household: a weak husband, who is having an affair with a vapid younger woman, and a boorish prospective son-in-law who is good for nothing. But the film also encourages the opposite view: the husband and prospective son-in-law are free spirits, combating bourgeois repression embodied by the mother.

    This contradiction is crystallized by a central puzzle: the husband and prospective son-in-law constantly display their contempt for the mother, but we never see her behaving contemptibly.

    The film's lack of moral position toward the characters is not a sign of an artistic sophistication that forces viewers to "make up their own minds" as in real life. It is, rather, a failure to establish an essential element in a work of art: a point of view. Given equal evidence on both sides of the film's moral conflicts, viewers draw no conclusion and thus lack a deep involvement in the work.

    The same problem affects Chabrol's "Le boucher" (1970), in which the protagonist is given no motivation for protecting a homicidal maniac, who goes on to kill again. Both films end up repelling viewers instead of engaging them. By contrast, his "La femme infidèle" (1969) is a masterpiece because even though the heroine's two actions are contradictory (cheating on her husband, yet returning to love him), the film develops a single emotional truth that embraces them.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Marcoux family -- husband, wife, daughter, son -- live at their vineyard in Provence. Henri Marcoux, 45, is weak, with a lovely young redheaded mistress who lives next door. Therese Marcoux is possessive, sly and goes to Mass quite often. She tells her husband she'll turn a blind eye to the mistress as long as there's no scandal and he throws out the lout who has become their daughter's boy friend. They are not a loving pair. "Listen to me, Henri," she tells him, "accept my offer or it's good-bye to the redhead. I swear on the heads of my children I'm not joking. Either Laszlo leaves tonight or you never see your redhead again!" "Who do you think you're talking to?" he screams at her. "I'm your wife, Henri!" "You're nothing to me," he says, with his face just inches from hers. "You make me want to vomit. You're hateful, ugly, stupid, uncultured, hypocritical, mean...old! So old!"

    We shouldn't forget that their daughter is vapid. Their son is unpleasantly odd. He favors Mozart and Berlioz and conducts the music himself. He sometimes speculates about the maid and about his sister. The young maid enjoys leaning out her upstairs window in only her bra to tease the gardener and welcome her boy friend, who delivers the milk each morning. And Laszlo (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is usually around, loud and coarse. When he eats a soft-boiled egg he leaves more yolk on his face than there is on the plate. He's the kind of jocular, sardonic drunk you don't want to sit next to at a bar.

    When a murder occurs, the only question is which one of the above will have been on the receiving end and which one did he deed. They're all reasonable suspects for either role...which, for me, is the problem with this movie. This was Claude Chabrol's third film and his first in color. He plops the characters down for us to observe, but often assumes that we're adult enough to figure out for ourselves such idle things as specific motivation. That all the characters lack either warmth or, in some cases, much intelligence, adds a layer of distance to this film. On the one hand, the set-up works nicely. For the first thirty minutes Chabrol gives us little vignettes of the family members and their relationships. These vignettes are so amusingly unpleasant I was hoping a solid, sly black comedy might emerge. But then the story started. There's little dynamic in a middle-aged, weak man going ga ga over, I mean falling in love with, a lovely, compliant and well-built red head. The aggressive unpleasantness that sums up Belmondo's character, which Chabrol ultimately uses as a device for truth telling, left me cold. Belmondo at 26 brings the energy this movie generally lacks, but Laszlo is a pain in the neck. (It doesn't help that, at certain angles, the young Belmondo resembles the young George Hamilton.) And perhaps it was because this was Chabrol's first color film, but he seems at times to have fallen in love with color as a way to underline romance. In the middle of the movie there is a long, romantic walk through the green-dappled woods by our lovers. They come across some poppies, sink to the ground and start some serious fumbling with their clothes. Then the camera slowly pans up to a vast field of orange poppies, then to a blue, blue sky...with the music soaring. This is Chabrol? The conclusion is arrived at only after a long narrative flashback that leads up to our witnessing the murder. Homicide shouldn't be bland, but this one was.

    If you're fond of Chabrol, as I am, you'll want to see this as an example of Chabrol still learning to bicycle with the training wheels on. It's testimony to his talent and craftsmanship that they didn't stay on for long.

    The movie was based on a novel by that great American short story writer, Stanley Ellin. He was one of the masters of the form, but because he wrote mystery short stories he never rated the sort of literary awe given to writers like the two Johns, Cheever and Updike. To find out just how good a short story writer Ellin was, buy a copy of The Specialty of the House and Other Stories: The Complete Mystery Tales, 1948-1978. You might grow weary of suburbanite angst, but I'm willing to bet you'll treasure Ellin.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ah, this is more like it, the truly Chabrolian world taking shape, liberated into the constraints of genre. As if to signal the shift from the new wave naturalism of his earlier works to the glorious artifice of what would become his mature mid-period, he offers us two films, two worlds, one giving on to the other, appropriately divided by a murder, figuring the death of one style and the birth of another.

    The film opens with almost parody New Wave-ness, a loud, gaudy riot of blaring American jazz, broad character comedy, and larger-than-life performances. The film begins with a nearly naked housemaid lounging from her window in a huge country house, like a heroine locked in a fairy-tale tower, driving to erotic madness an aging gardener and a camp milkman, the gardener with his shears signalling his lascivious intent matched by the rose she rubs over mouth, squalls of jazz adding to comic overheatedness - it's like some sort of Gallic 'Carry On' movie, especially as the strait-laced mistress looks on with prudish distaste.

    Then we're introduced to Jean-Paul Belmondo, still milling around Paris in fast cars and jump cuts, an escapee from his fate in 'A Bout De Souffle' (his character's name, Laszlo Kovacs, is one of Michel's pseudonyms in that film), although Chabrol's true intent is revealed when he follows the Godardian frenzy with a cool long shot which imprisons Laszlo down a snake-like alley, hemmed in by a street, houses, roofs, Chabrol's ironic camera. Laszlo IS a snake, the city boy who infects the rural Eden, by bringing transgressive lust into the bourgeois family, as well as the baser attitudes (food and sex outrageously linked) airbrushed by the middle-classes; an early flipside to Terrence Stamp in 'Theorem'.

    The film continues in this hyperactive vein, with Laszlo and his drunken buddy clowning about at a parade to the astonishment of the real-life bystanders who stare uncomprehendingly at Chabrol's camera. But even here, there is another Chabrol waiting to get out, as he sets in motion the country-house murder plot, the family tension, the psycho-sexual power games, the incestuous/Oedipal frisson. It's remarkable how he takes a genuine, 'real' location e.g. the cafe where Laszlo and his buddy drink, and turns it into a set for an MGM musical.

    It is no accident that the first truly Chabrolian film should also be his first in colour - his skill in artifice is given free reign, the restricted camerawork already developed in COUSINS bolstered here by the bursts of pure primary colours and the rigid tableaux, as he traps his characters in more than a country estate.

    The two halves are joined by simultaneous flashbacks, that seem to free the film from its oppressive present tense, but only cancel each other out, the promise of spiritual rebirth through love in one destroyed by madness and death in the other. The first flashback begins a common motif in Chabrol, the transgressive relationship conceived in a setting of nature, in woods - this subjective memory of the father's is coloured with Chabrol's irony - the Oz-like poppy fields hinting ominously at danger; the move from 'natural' secrecy to a social openness finally sealing the relationship's fate.

    The second half is truly magnificent - the murder taking place completely in mirrors, mirroring (sorry) the cruel humiliation of Therese earlier. The eerily peaceful track over the dead woman's artefacts, stopping at the bed that caused all the trouble, wiping her out in more ways than one, but also reminding us of the real source of all the trouble, prefiguring Chabrol's hero's 'Psycho' by a year (although Laszlo's tacit Oedipal tension with his surrogate father adds a Chabrolian twist). The silent mastery of the interrogation sequence and the closing shots hint at Chabrol pleasures to come, pleasures we have to wait eight years and 'Les Biches' to fulfil.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (WARNING - CONTAINS SPOILER) Somewhat reminiscent of Sirk in the way that the florid setting seems expressive of the characters' psychologically perilous state - the movie can accommodate anything from the lyricism of the father's interlude with his lover to the jagged unease of the Leda murder scene, with the murderer falling apart before our eyes as all his Oedipal confusion floods out (including the handy motif of the mirror he smashes into pieces at the height of his pained monologue). The movie regularly doubles back on itself and shifts around its temporal pieces, a lumpy but largely workable metaphor for the tortured family structure. But the opening scene of Lafont leaning out the window in her bikini taunting the workmen is as overplayed as a drunken peep show, and I think that from there on the movie consistently attacks individual scenes too zealously, to the detriment of the whole. The last line of dialogue emphasizes Leda s rootlessness and lack of family: which as a chosen end-note too clumsily points up the dysfunction and mixed blessing of the group we've been watching. It's an entertaining movie though, bursting at the scenes with grace notes and thematic vigour, but too wild and impulsive for maximum impact.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Alfred Hitchcock's influence on Claude Chabrol sometimes gets overemphasized by film theorists and historians - I've seen several Chabrol films that have little to do, in style or content, with the Master's work. "A Double Tour", however, IS one of Chabrol's more Hitchcockian efforts, from the opening credits - homage to the previous year's "Vertigo", to the music score - homage to Bernard Hermann. At the same time, this film is also uniquely Chabrol's - his direction, especially considering that it was only his third effort, is masterful, with a couple of amazing camera shots (like when the camera backs away through a keyhole!). The first half plays out more like a broad, joyful comedy, particularly when a young, full of energy Jean Paul Belmondo or a wildly sexy Bernadette Lafont take center stage. Then a murder happens, and you think - "great, a Claude Chabrol whodunit". Unfortunately, the thriller part of this movie is more ugly than suspenseful, and at the end it lacks, IMO, real psychological insight - the murder is simply the action of a sick, borderline mentally retarded individual. I still think the film is worth seeing, but be prepared - it's not as happy-go-lucky as it looks at first. **1/2 out of 4.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If the release dates are right this 1959 film from Chabrol, a french disciple of Hitchcock precedes the work of his Master, on a similar subject.

    Strange, but probably not a unique case.

    In "A Double Tour" Richard a somewhat effeminate son kills his father's mistress to save the status of his mother which is the "head of the family's estate" (a vineyard) from dishonor.

    In "Psycho" Norman Bates kills Marion Crane because he hates women in general and his mind is still controlled by the dead corpse of his mother.

    From a psychiatric point of view Bates is some 4 degrees up in the scale of lunacy (1-10 based).

    However, these two movies are very different from an aesthetic point of view. Chabrol used magnificent landscapes, an old "Villa" and a Japanese House photographed by master cinematographer Henri Decae, whereas Hitch uses an empty motel coming out of a Erskine Caldwell novel like "Tobacco Road"..

    I think that Psycho is one of the weakest movies of Hitchcock, except for the superb interpretation of Anthony Perkins as Bates.

    If Chabrol had employed, for instance, Michel Bouquet, instead of André Jocelyn, the film would be much more sly and credible.

    But in 1959, Chabrol had 29 years. Next year Hitchcok celebrated 61 summers, and had no gallbladder. Probably not due to the drinking of "Chateauneuf du Pape", but some stronger English and American beverages.
  • An advice for those are willing to see this bad picture, firstly you may be drunk, smoked some ma-riju-ana and others stuffs to start and not to suffer in early moments, after all you will need it ahead, mostly by Jean-P. Belmondo's nasty behavior, further all characters are under pressure by unknown disturbing, here also the director is including in the list, scarcely loved, embittered people, after fifteen minutes don't try turn off the DVD player remember yourself how much money you had spent to get it and mainly no refund allowed after to break seal... you must to go ahead, there are an average final that worth to see, you will feel some sort of relief watching it entirely you've stay clear that you are paying sins from your previous life... think about!!!

    Resume:

    First watch: 2018 / How many: 1 / Source: DVD / Rating: 5
  • I found this film very accessible. It has become one of my favorites. The film is about an eccentric close-knit dysfunctional family. The characters are quirky, borderline bizzare but real. They are obstinate, boorish, brooding, insulting, conniving and philandering. Their roles are in constant conflict, but the comedy derives from It's smooth ensemble acting and impeccable timing. Some of it's shenanigans are highly cultured slapstick. Their personalities intertwine with French culture in odd ways. Perhaps that was a redundancy. I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not going to say any more because I don't want to ruin it for you. You should see it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With having heard a lot about the thrillers from auteur French New Wave film maker Claude Chabrol over the years ,I decided that I would take a look at some of his work when watching 100 French films over 100 days.Talking to a DVD seller about Chabrol's work,I found out about a rather overlooked Chabrol movie,which led to me getting ready for a double tour of Chabrol.

    The plot:

    Hating the very sight of his wife Thérèse, Henri Marcoux takes a deep breath,and decides that he must stay with Thérèse-not for love,but due to wanting to get his hands on the family home,the vineyard and Thérèse's money.Looking for romance,Henri soon gets caught up in an affair with neighbour Léda.Openly kissing Léda passionately,Henri makes a deal with Thérèse over keeping the affair safe from shaming the family,which unexpectedly leads to deadly consequences.

    View on the film:

    Spinning the opening credits with swirls of colour,co-writer/(along with Paul Gégauff) director Claude Chabrol & cinematographer Henri Decaë dissect the bourgeoisie lifestyle with masterful style,as elegant tracking shots pick up on the stunningly designed house of Marcoux,with the vibrant colours hiding the murky intent of the family members. Reflecting what is going on in the minds of the Marcoux's,Chabrol cuts into the bourgeoisie with thriller glass covered in grime,which along with reflecting the true Marcoux's,also reveals how murky the family members are.

    For what was just his 3rd film, Chabrol and Gégauff adaptation of Stanley Ellin's novel impressively sets out major themes that Chabrol would expand upon in the future.Unlock the possessions of the Marcoux,the writers tear their bourgeoisie/ materialistic lives into a 1000 pieces, by making each of the family members more concerned about their possessions than the lives and deaths of those nearest to them.Building a foundation of dark Drama to the bourgeoisie,the writers chop the foundation down with sharp Thriller cuts,that along with placing a dazzling murder-set piece at the centre,also fully unveils how lacking in remorse each of the Marcoux's are.

    Joined by a chirpy Bernadette Lafont as the maid, Madeleine Robinson gives a great icy performance as Thérèse,whose discovery of the affair allows Robinson to stab Thérèse with a ruthlessness over keeping the power within the family. Neatly contrasting Robinson's frozen gaze, Antonella Lualdi gives a terrific, enthusiastic performance as Léda.Trying to balance keeping a hand on the family cash and a hand on Léda, Jacques Dacqmine gives an excellent performance as Henri Marcoux,whose dusty, stubborn feelings smoothly fit in with the rotten to the core beliefs of the family,as Henri takes Léda on a double tour of the Marcoux home.
  • A man and his wife are in a marriage on the brink of collapse, as he has been having an affair with a younger woman, Leda. They have a quiet son who spies on the maid through a keyhole, when she's half-dressed. And, they have a daughter, who's engaged to a no-account bum, Jean-Paul Belmondo. The mother dislikes him, but the father has nothing against him. These are relatively minor details that make up this rather subdued yet intense study of the breakup of a family due to infidelity. Everything lies just under the surface ready to bust - in the form of the mistress being killed. There are several key suspects, but it will be obvious to those who are paying attention to little things and comments. "A Double Tour" is an interesting and modest little film made worthwhile by good thoughtful performances by its actors.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The main reason I checked this film out of the library was Madeleine Robinson, a wonderful actress who was popular in the late thirties/early forties and seemed on the verge of a breakthrough to the ranks of Signoret, Darrieux, Feuilliere, Arletty etc but somehow never quite made it despite being in regular work for several more decades. Here she is standout and a worthy winner of the Best Actress Volpi she won at Venice. She is, in fact, head and shoulders above the over-heated 'Southern Gothic' in all but name mish-mosh that Chabrol concocted for his third film and first - as reviewers are lining up to tell us - in color. Rather than the vastly over-rated Hitchcock, to whom he is constantly compared he seems to have sought inspiration in everyone from William Faulkner to Carson McCullers to William Stryon for his dysfunctional family, a sort of dime-store Snopes clan. The New Wave, that shameful blot that stained momentarily French cinema, was still clinging on though visibly ebbing and Chabrol, credited with being in at the birth, couldn't wait to distance himself from it and with that in mind he turns back toward the Grand Guignol. Apart from Robinson, who leaves everyone else dead in the water, the rest of the cast get credit for turning up and that's about it. Bernadette Lafont would forever be associated with the New Wave, Belmondo comes on like a prototype for the Benoit Magimals, Romain Duris's of modern cinema and that's the best you can give it. Worth watching for Robinson.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Épater le bourgeois (shake up the middle classes) has been an entertaining French pastime since the days of Baudelaire. Perhaps that's what this film is about. This family consists of a husband and wife who own a pleasant mansion and vineyard and are not short of the comforts of life. However, although it's not made totally clear, there is a feeling that the property actually belongs to the wife. The husband could be described as the epitome of uncharisma. He is exceptionally unprepossessing, dull and badly dressed. This makes it very odd that he evidently has a gorgeous mistress living in a smaller, modern house, a stone's throw from the major building. After she is murdered we discover that she has no family or friends of her own. There are also two adult children: a seriously flat-footed son, who comes across as a sexless and retarded music addict, with even less personality than his father; and a daughter, who is sweet-looking, but seems to lack confidence and direction. In fact the whole family lacks purpose and direction. No-one seems to be in charge. Who looks after the vineyard ? The wife wants to avoid a scandal. The verbally and occasionally physically abusive husband can't make up his mind to leave this long-suffering wife. There is also a sexy and flirtatious maid, who is unusually loosely controlled.

    Then there is a body-building milkman, and a rather goofy gardener.

    The daughter has an unreliable and interfering boyfriend, who appears to be quite well-off, although it is not at all clear where he gets his money. He has an impoverished buddy. These two loutishly and drunkenly impact on the family, but it is not clear why. Since it soon becomes obvious who is responsible for murdering the mistress, there is no tension in the detection. A rather obnoxious policeman tells the wife that she is the prime suspect. Needless to say, she didn't do it. The film's only tension lies in the relationships between the protagonists, which are certainly tense. The murder seems to be oedipally motivated. This can scarcely be considered a "good" film, but it is interesting. I must watch it again, to see if I can get to understand it any better. I didn't get the relevance of its title either.