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.
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