28 March 2013 | didierfort
Marchal vs Arletty, believe it!
What an unexpectedly good surprise! Among the few tens of movies I've seen these last months, this is is certainly the one to be fondly remembered.
About Roger Richebé I knew only the part he played as a producer, and the poor game of word Henri Jeanson had on his name "Richebé? Pauvre c.., oui" (those enough fluent in French will understand).
So, I went to this one only to have some black and white French speaking ante-Nouvelle vague feast, for Georges Marchal sake, and my own Arletty's re-evaluation, too.
Everything is surprisingly good (for the very least), there.
The pace, first, very fast, very elliptic but never confusing, if you admit that the film is going to treat some adult stuff, and accept to be puzzled from time to time, like in real life encounters.
The narration, never heavy or scholarly explanatory. Besides, there are some very rare situations, in "little" and "big" moments, all along the film. The slap in the face to shut the mouth of the annoying lover is one of those.
The cinematography, very attractive (though the copy I saw was poorly preserved). There are some moments of pure virtuosity, for instance when Marceau has his first glance at the young woman he is going to fall for
and then falls, I mean, dives in the pool to reach her.
The actors are good, very very good. Some of them deliver a run-of-the-mill performance, but since their standards are high and they are very experienced theater comedians, it works perfectly well. I'm thinking about Simone Paris et Mona Goya, two of Guitry's middle cinema career regulars.
Among them, the great good surprise was coming to me from Arletty. She inhabits her very unconventional part with a perfect mastery.
And Georges Marchal has it all. Handsome, sexy, physical, tormented, spontaneous, "male chauvinist", desperate, convincing all along, even in the only hammy lines of the movie, delivered in the first five minutes.
Last but not least, the topics discussed there. Well
Well, have a watch by yourself, you'll be in awe. (I spent half of the movie mouth open!) Everything is good, fresh, adult, surprising, puzzling in there. And don't believe it's Allégret's-like stuff, the typical pessimistic late 40's early 50's lazy noir. Here, even the ending, open enough, will surprise you, in its last twist.
(Didier_Fort at hotmail.com)