3 January 2017 | dbdumonteil
Man deserves a well-earned rest
The 1946-1952 years were a great period for Delannoy,whatever the new wavelet buffs may say :" la Symphonie Pastorale" "LES Jeux Sont Faits " " Le Secret De Mayerling" "Dieu A Besoin Des Hommes " "Le Garçon Sauvage" "La Minute De Vérité" and the overlooked curious sketch about Joan of Arc in "Destinées" are all highly estimable works.Even later ,when he was unfairly trashed by the new wavelet,some of his movies are still commendable today : his two "Maigret" , his thrillers ("obsession" "Le Rendez-Vous" ).But after "Les Amitiés Particulières" (1963)-more popular abroad than in its native France"- ,things went downhill from there:with the exception of his Christian effort ("Bernadette" ),all his works would justify the N.W. attacks .
"Les Sultans " is based on a novel by Christine De Rivoyre,who also wrote Vadim 's "Le Repos Du Guerrier " ,not exactly a woman's lib manifesto; "Les Sultans " is more of the same :"women are made to wait for their lord and master" is its obnoxious moral: Gina Lollobrigida spends almost the whole movie,trying to get her lover (Louis Jourdan) on the telephone,whining, moaning ,longing for his kisses.The legitimate wife (Renée Faure) has fossilized and looks like her husband 's mother and her daughter's granny .A daughter,whose hairdo resembles pop singer Sheila's in 1966, who falls for a graybeard (Daniel Gelin) ;to make him jealous,she asks her dad to act as her boyfriend and to take her to a trendy nightclub (you can spot French pop singers there if you pay attention: Zouzou and Stone ).While waiting for her lover,Gina finds consolation with her neighbor (Corinne Marchand) and her gynecologist hubby (Philippe Noiret)who saves the deserted mistress from suicide(!).
With the exception of Muriel Baptiste ,an obscure starlet ,almost unbearable as a spoiled rich kid,all the actors I mention above are talented and why they got involved in that business is beyond me ;there's not a single funny ,let alone witty ,line in the whole dialogue and the comedy is dull,labored and Delannoy's directing does nothing to rectify the paucity of his screenplay .
One wonders why someone interested in Jean Delannoy's career should choose this dud ,when many of his works are underrated over here.