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  • aftalion24 November 2002
    This is a movie from another era. When Paris was another city. Beautiful but decrepit, as it was just after the war. The plot is also old fashioned. But it works and keeps you gessing who the murderer (murderess) is. The movie's biggest assets are the actors: some of the best French cinema had to offer. Especially the beautiful Madeleine Robinson.
  • kinsayder13 April 2009
    When the promiscuous concierge of a Paris apartment block is murdered, it seems that half the residents of her building had a motive and opportunity to kill her. Inspector Brénot is stumped, so he asks a female friend who lives in the building to make discrete enquiries on his behalf. He doesn't realise how dangerous the assignment is about to become...

    Though "Minuit... Quai de Bercy" is written like a whodunit, it doesn't play the whodunit game altogether fairly, withholding vital information we need to deduce the culprit until the last few minutes. The movie proceeds by throwing up one prime suspect after another, each with a secret to hide that may or may not be related to the murder.

    The most entertaining of these is Erich von Stroheim, doing a star turn as a religious zealot who hangs around strip joints - in order to distribute pamphlets about Jesus, you understand. He was 67, and looks old and tired, though his tirade at the strip club patrons is the highlight of the movie. There are some decent performances among the other residents/suspects, though few of these characters are fleshed out adequately by the script. As Inspector Brénot, the flabbily nondescript Georges Randax made me long for him to hand the case over to Jean Gabin, perhaps, or Paul Meurisse. It would have made the flirtatious scenes with Madeleine Robinson, as the amateur snoop, easier to stomach.

    This is not the worst example of its genre, by a long way, and I found myself watching to the end out of curiosity (and fascinated by Stroheim, who spends most of the last act shouting "Jo!"). For more entertaining and ingenious French whodunits, try Georges Lacombe's "Le Dernier des six" and Clouzot's "L'Assassin habite... au 21".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a potentially outstanding thriller rendered mediocre by an inept journeyman director. The wonderful actress Madeleine Robinson is top-billed and deservedly so and whilst the plot - a good-time girl/concierge of an apartment building is murdered and virtually every tenant is in the frame - owes something to the pre-war (1939) Derriere la facade it also nods generously to Agatha Christie who possibly invented the multi-suspect crime story. Eric von Stroheim, who spent three separate periods in France pre and post second World War during which he made many, many more films than the one he is best remembered for, Renoir's Le Grande Illusion, weighs in with a nice turn as a peripatetic preacher who makes the rounds of strip clubs touting the gospel but the director lets himself down by a last minute denouement of the killer without offering a clue(s) as to the identity. Nevertheless it's well worth a look.
  • dbdumonteil24 February 2013
    Christian Stengel's fourth attempt at a thriller after "Seul Dans La Nuit" "Rome Express" and "Pas De Pitié Pour Les Femmes" ,"Minuit" takes Yves Mirande's "Derrière La Façade" pattern and tights it up:the screenplay is more satisfying and the movie does not look like a stream of stars ;actually only two members of the cast really stand out :Von Stroheim as an ominous prophet,asking all people to repent before God's wrath strikes them;and the stunning Madeleine Robinson,whose acting is so subtle and so brilliant she makes Irene an unusual character.Robinson is that kind of old wave French actress who,like Signoret,Arletty or Darrieux ,can carry a movie on her shoulders.Apart from them,there is also handsome Philippe Lemaire,the romantic male lead of the era,as a Latin teacher,and Francis Blanche ,who would become a very famous stand up comic ,as a libidinous grocer.

    This is rather smart whodunit ,in the grand tradition of Agatha Christie:all people around had a reason to murder the concierge(building care-taker:the word "concierge" has grown slightly demeaning and is not really used anymore) and a captain investigates ,helped by a younger Miss Marple .

    The director ,probably influenced by Duvivier's " Sous Le Ciel De Paris"(1950),begins his story with a voice over telling us that Paris is a world ,blah ,blah ,blah..."

    Best moment:the captain is given a photograph and the viewer sees the reflection of the culprit on a mirror.