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  • The long-estranged wife of a murdered lumber baron travels to the Austrian alps for her husband's funeral and learns that despite not having seen him in years, she's his sole heir. She also meets the handsome young mill foreman her husband recently sacked and when she receives an anonymous note demanding money in exchange for the name of her husband's killer, she turns to him instead of an ever-present police inspector. Bad move?

    Unwise decisions and shady motivations all the way around are what propels writer/director/star Robert Hossein's cat-and-mouse crime thriller and although not all the surprises are exactly original, there's enough little twists to allow the film to stand on its own. The still-handsome Michèle Morgan's mask-like beauty prevents the viewer from getting a bead on her character and that goes a long way in maintaining suspense but it's the sexy Marie France Pisier as Hossein's teenage lover who fires the imagination. Pisier would have been perfect for the role of "Noelle Page" in Sidney Sheldon's THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT had it been filmed in 1964 but alas, by 1977 Marie was a bit long-in-the-tooth for the seductive femme fatale. The same could never be said of Morgan, tho. Although it falls short of "edge of your seat" entertainment, Hossein doesn't let the story flag and knows how to take advantage of the Austrian location which, like Morgan's beauty, is rather cold and remote. Photographed "in glorious black & white" with a bluesy score by Hossein's dad Andre, this French noir's not top tier by any stretch but should please genre fans.
  • Les yeux cernés (Marked Eyes) is directed by Robert Hossein and Hossein stars and co-writes the screenplay with Claude Desailly, André Tabet and Georges Tabet. Starring with Hossein are Michèle Morgan, Marie-France Pisier and François Patrice . Music is by André Hossein and cinematography by Jean Boffety.

    We open with the murder of a timber baron, the perpetrator is unseen by us, but spied by a pair of eyes peeping through the crack of a wooded slat. When said timber baron's estranged wife travels to the Austrian alps for his funeral, she begins to receive typewritten blackmail letters demanding money with a sinister angle . Choosing to put faith in Franz, a man she's just met, instead of Friedrich, the local police inspector, she is soon treading in fearful waters...

    From the off it should be noted that this kind of comes off as a softer blend of two Clouzot greats in Les diaboliques and Le Corbeau. The writing here is merely ok, a steady whodunit mystery with noirish overtones, the screenplay is only really saved by the denouement. However, where Hossein fails as a writer he doesn't as a director.

    Pic is full of smart camera ticks, low level shots, close and personal frames and fluid roams, while he rarely misses a chance for some noir visuals aided by Boffety's moody monochrome. The location is cold and isolated, which is perfect for the shady shenanigans unfolding, while André Hossein's (Robert's father) scores it in his customary schizophrenic way (supernatural, jolly, quirky and threatening plonks).

    Odd ball sequences such as the wonderfully sensual Pisier (excellent) rolling down a grassy hill, cheekily blend in with edgy scenes like classical beauty Morgan (trying hard with the weak script) navigating her way through a stoney labyrinth hunting the tappity tap of the typewriter that is tormenting her psyche. And with Hossein his usual solid as a rock noir protagonist self, there's a lot of technical goodness on show to enjoy. Plus there is of course some twisters to seal the deal.

    Robert Hossein is a Frenchman that lovers of film noir should be familiar with, his work in that style of film making is of considerable interest to fans of such fare. Les yeux cernés is not one of his highpoints, mind, but once again you get a picture thats strengths far outweighs its weaknesses. 7/10
  • Robert Hossein the director showed flair for film noir in the late fifties/early sixties as "Toi Le Venin" or "Le Jeu De La Verite" testify;but those movies rely on writers ;they were not original screenplays.

    In "Les Yeux Cernés " ,Hossein wrote the screenplay and it's obvious his lack of inspiration led him to imitate Clouzot's "Les Diaboliques" in his last sequences (the typewriter),like so many others.

    Essentially a whodunit :who killed the nasty boss of the sawmill?In town,nobody liked him and his widow (who left him a long time ago)is alone for the funeral.The soon-to-be-rich heiress receives anonymous letters that frightens her .

    Michèle Morgan is dazzlingly beautiful ,but her part of a widow is not really exciting;talented actors such as Hossein himself and Marie -France Pisier add to the pleasure ,but they do not save a weak script.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Being very lucky in getting a number of his films on disc over the years,I over the 2019 New Year holidays filled in the gaps online of films directed by Robert Hossein. With fellow IMDber Spikeopath having recently reviewed it,I decided to open my eyes to a "new" Hossein viewing.

    View on the film:

    Reuniting after the New Wave-styled The Wretches (1960),co-writer/(with Claude Desailly/Andre Tabet and Georges Tabet) director/actor Robert Hossein and Michele Morgan give eye-catching turns as Florence and Franz,with Morgan cleverly using Florence's estranged state in the town to make her a detached Femme Fatale, who even when rolling down hills with a lover keeps her guard up over suspicions of mind-games being played. Fitting into the woodland backdrop with a fresh face appearance, Robert Hossein gives a performance with real warmth as Franz,who Hossein has keep striking the ambiguity note, as Franz's sincerity comes off as just a bit off to Florence.

    Along with reuniting with Morgan, Robert is joined by his composing dad Andre, who types up an excellent rumbling blues score which heighten the cracks of paranoia in Florence's mind.Appearing to have been filmed in the real Austrian woodlands, Hossien & cinematographer Jean Boffety craft a chilly mysterious atmosphere in circling wide-shots across the isolated location. Cutting open the movie with an obscured eyeful of a murder, Hossien sharply pins the Noir visuals to a carefully designed sound mix, where the tapping of a mysterious type writer stylishly matches up to the splintered sightings of the writer/killer,and the looming panning shots down corridors following Florence sinking into doubt. Building up suspense superbly in a silent set-piece of Florence attempting to locate the typing noise, the writers spill ink on the anticipation,by going for the easy option of "borrowing" from Henri-Georges Clouzot, which dents the light Film Noir unease that the title had been building up over Florence's increasing mistrust of the locals over marked eyes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Les Yeux Cernés is another thriller directed by Robert Hossein with Michèle Morgan in very bad position after the death of her ex husband. Nothing much exciting, Robert Hossein tried some atmospheric fear around Michèle and our blue-eyed star seems really frightened. But there aren't any great suspense from beginning to end, just frightening atmosphere with no real action. That's why Les Yeux Cernés seems quite empty.

    But I just loved seeing Marie-France Pisier as a sex-kitten, especially in one scene next to Robert Hossein. Then again, Robert Hossein could have imagined much more excitement, but it remains flat.

    But Michèle Morgan saves all the movie. If you want to see her in real danger, jump on Le Crime Ne Paie Pas by Gérard Oury, with 5 great segments strongly thrilling, she is fantastic her segment.