10 January 2019 | dbdumonteil
One angry man .
André Berthomieu (in the cast and credits,without his first name here as such was often the case) was a prolific director,whose works were essentially potboilers ;one can save the lovely "Gringalet" (1945) and the riotously funny "Mort En Fuite " ,(1936) but,anyway ,how can you be wrong when you deal with Michel Simon and Jules Berry in the latter ?
In "Préméditations" ,like in "Mort En Fuite " ,directing takes a back seat to acting :Berthomieu had already directed Jean Dessailly in "Amours,Delices Et Orgues " (which Duvivier, who wrote the screenplay gave up ,probably wisely) and "Carré De Valets" : as far as both efforts are concerned ,if you can't say something nice...
Here the screenplay by Frederic Dard is very good ,and there is an ambiguity André Cayatte (one is on his turf obviously) would not disown.Both Dessailly and Pascal are excellent : the former ,a stubborn Javert, plays cat and mouse with the defendant ;he may seem cocksure but he is a fine busybody.The latter ,perhaps never better ,is handsome, engaging, sometimes threatening .Shall we feel for him or shall we fear him?On the other hand ,Pascale Roberts is not on a par with her co-stars (Marina Vlady ,a Dard habituée would have been a better choice) and her romance in jail is not credible at all:full of complexes ,devoid of the charm she displayed in "Les Loups Dans La Bergerie " ,she would kiss her client in his cell? Dard s got to be kidding!
This kind of story would be better performed on stage ,but the close shots allow Pascal to portray his multi-faceted character.