15 July 2020 | ulicknormanowen
If Don Juan were a woman.
An editor, par excellence the women's job ,Andrée Feix directed two movies ;both are interesting and it's really too bad she was not able to make more films :
"Il suffit d'une fois" ,her first effort was a so-so murder mystery ,but it displayed a slight feminist side: a man was jealous of a woman' s squeeze who was actually a horse.Edwige Feuillère already affirmed her firm independence of men .
"Capitaine Blomet" is an unsung little gem ,the best of the two : here the feminist side comes to the fore ,by reversing the roles: it's the wife who collects the lovers (17 in total) .
The first scene is lugubrious : the wife's funeral, a la "barefoot contessa" ;then the desperate husband ,Blomet ,is about to take his own life but his servant shows him bundles of love letters from the late spouse to her numerous lovers .His pride is hurt ,and his honor is at stake .He decides to find all these men and to give them the choice : a duel or lex talionis : he sleeps with their wife .
No sooner said than done: the duel is always accepted but most of the time , the offended husband does not have to kill his former rival .However ,in the noble Mandane family ,things are different :the wife urges her husband to let her use the "eye for an eye" solution .
A shrewd woman ,Mrs De Mondane reminds Blomet of the letters :he cannot act like a roughneck soldier ; he must woo her ,and it's only on the fifteenth day that she will yield to him .The wonderful Gaby Sylvia (essentially a stage actress, but who worked with the only other woman director of the time Jacqueline Audry in "huis clos" from Sartre) gives an elegant mischievous performance and she leads the proud macho man by the nose; an extremely
attractive woman ,but feminist before her time , she often ridicules and eventually seduces the avenging cuckold (played by aging buck Fernand Gravey)
The screenplay (based on a play) was written by the great film noir and comedy director Henry Decoin and thus might possess considerable appeal for fans of this director .But Mrs Feix manages quite well and her movie deserves to be watched.