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  • When the movie was released ,it was much debated .Death penalty was such a difficult subject that there was a general outcry.It was two years before its abolishment by François Mitterrand.But the movie was never broadcast on any channel and seems to scare everybody ,even today,when a lot of people are still for capital punishment-one of the far right-wing warhorses- Michel Drach 's film was not that much new ,even if it dealt with a true story (but like the Barbara Graham affair in Robert Wise's "I want to live" ,many things remain in obscurity) .Actually he stepped into André Cayatte's shoes ("Nous sommes tous des assassins",1952) or even Jose Giovanni's ("deux hommes dans la ville" ,1972).

    Drach's greatest merit was to have tackled a well-known affair and ,knowing the risks he was taking ,to have had the guts to see it through.There are no stars in this film,and it's better that way.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It seems that Drach fell under the influence of late Andre Cayatte movies and added this one of his own addressing social problems in the French legal system. With a cast of unknowns - but in the main fine actors - he explores a true crime - the murder of a child - in which the evidence, trial and subsequent execution of the prime suspect were far from satisfactory and as it happened very soon afterwards capital punishment was abolished in France. In the main Drach tells his story in a straightforward manner and though he does employ flashbacks as the events are raked over he does so in a non-confusing way so that the viewer is privy to all the things the police were. A Doris Day movie it's not but its heart is certainly in the right place and it deserves a wider showing than it has so far had.
  • Although the anti death penalty lobby in France ( of which I am NOT part) used this film in their "Fight" against capital punishment, I do not at all think that this was the purpose of the film. It is indeed excellently acted, with good picture quality and a plot which keeps the spectator on tenterhooks from beginning to end. Serge Avedikian is excellent in the Role of Christian Renucci who is convicted on charges of murdering an eight year old girl somewhere between Toulon and Aix en Provence in Southern France. To me the film is more a denounciation of the police methods used at the time to convict Ranucci. Any evidence against his being the murderer of the child is quietly omitted from the trial and because he admitted the murder (presumably under pressure from the police) despite retracting his statement later, he is considered guilty and condemned to death by guilloting. His death is just the result - the problem is the French judicial system and the behaviour of the police who needed to have a guilty party to pin the blame on and to satisfy local demand which was to see somebody die for this crime to avenge their despair at the death of the child. Picture quality of the film is excellent and acting very good. Some of the events seem unbelievable and incoherent and I wonder whether the reality was really as depicted in the film. Whatever the case, the film is highly enjoyable entertainment on a story level but it should be taken as a story and not as a political anti-capital punishment effort.