25 June 2007 | Bunuel1976
SAFETY CATCH (Yves Boisset, 1970) **1/2
Fairly interesting Euro thriller revolving around the investigation into an apparent suicide who, prior to her demise, was involved in a brief romance with a troubled young man but had also attended a dubious photo-model session. The latter scene, which opens the film, features some mild bondage thus eliciting memories of Henri-Georges Clouzot's swan-song LA PRISONNIERE (1969); it's also interesting that the girl concerned is played by Raffaella Carra' (whose last film appearance this proved to be prior to her breakthrough as a top showgirl/presenter on Italian TV a status she holds, by and large, to this day!). Unusual, too, is the fact that the detecting work here doesn't involve the police at all.
The initially ambivalent relationship between disgraced doctor Bruno Cremer (expelled for performing euthanasia) and self-destructing bourgeois Renaud Verley (who feels guilty for Carra''s death) suggests this is going to be a clinical Chabrol-like character study. However, it turns into a conventional thriller before long (with the heroine played by Martine Combrell used as bait for the sleazy amateur photographer); still, Mario Adorf manages to invest the latter role with some degree of panache. Jean Martin, best known as the colonel who leads the oppressive French forces in THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1965), appears here as Verley's valet (who doesn't seem to take kindly to Cremer's intrusion!).
As a means of livening up proceedings, director Boisset opts for a car chase climax involving speed-freak Verley and the fleeing (and flustered) Adorf. Needless to say, this being a product of the late 60s, we get the added feature of bad dancing in various pub scenes (though set to some groovy music)!