26 October 2003 | dbdumonteil
Is it really THE Claude Chabrol?
If you're looking for something like "le boucher" or "les cousins" ,please pass by.It's Chabrol's second period ,between his promising debut ("le beau Serge" "les cousins" "à double tour" ) and his golden age ("que la bête meure";le boucher").To set the record straight "Marie -Chantal contre docteur Kha " is commercial stuff.It was obviously intended as a spoof on the James Bond movies which were at their absolute peak at the time,when Sean Connery ruled.Marie Laforêt -who is also a singer but here she does not sing- portrays a false bubble head girl,much smarter than her enemies -and allies - think she is and she's both gorgeous and efficient.A bevy of good actors support her:Bunuelian (!) Francisco Rabal,Serge Reggiani,Roger Hanin -François Mitterrand's brother-in-law-,and as the villain,Akim Tamiroff who hams it up as hell,halfway between Fu -Manchu and a SPECTRE member.But one should also note Stephane Audran's presence :she was Mrs Chabrol at the time,and she would be the star of his best movies ("le boucher" "la femme infidèle" "la rupture" "les noces rouges" "Violette Nozières"...)as well as Bunuel's "le charme discret de la bourgeoisie" and Axel's "Gaestebud".Audran portrays Olga ,a false widow .Claude Chabrol ,in the grand Hitchcock tradition,appears as a barman.
All these people are searching for a jewel,a panther with ruby eyes ;its secret is not very original .
This is a movie for Chabrol completists.If you're not,there's much more interesting in this director's uneven but interesting career.