Claude Autant-Lara

Claude Autant-Lara – Tu ne tueras point AKA L’Objecteur AKA Non uccidere AKA Thou Shalt Not Kill (1961)

Synopsis by Hal Erickson
An Italian/French/Yugoslavian/Liechtensteinian coproduction (whew!), Thou Shalt Not Kill features Laurent Terzieff as a French conscientious objector. Interwoven with his story is the saga of a German priest (Horst Frank) who faces stiff punishment for killing a Frenchman during the Second World War. Director Claude Autant-Lara characteristically uses these twin plotlines as a platform to espouse his Leftist political beliefs and to heartily condemn the Catholic church. As a result, the fact-based Thou Shalt Not Kill (originally Tu Nes Tuera Point) caused quite a stir upon its first release. Many of its sentiments became more palatable in the late 1960s, though even at that time critics carped at Autant-Lara’s cut-and-dried directorial techniques. Read More »

Claude Autant-Lara – Occupe-toi d’Amelie! AKA Keep an Eye on Amelia (1949)

Synopsis:
Amelie is a Cocotte (=a tart); she trades on her charms,abetted by her father who plays a role generally delegated to mothers (Gremillon’s “Gueule d’amour” or Allegret’s “Maneges” ). She is wooed by every Tom, Dick and Harry passing by. She’s currently supported by a military man, courted by a foreign prince – who gives the equivalent of the French Legion d’honneur to dad, – and, besides, she is to marry a young lad who covets his wealthy uncle’s heritage: the necessary and sufficient condition for getting the dough is getting married. Read More »

Maurice Lehmann & Claude Autant-Lara – Le ruisseau AKA The Stream (1938)

Synopsis/Review:
Denise, a young orphan girl who has escaped from a convent, believes that her misfortunes have ended when she meets Paul , a young naval officer upon whose ship she has stowed away. Paul, initially seeks to take advantage of her naivety to seduce her before changing his mind and sending her to live with his mother who works in a cabaret while he returns to sea. But the habits of the girl will push her to the brink of prostitution… Read More »

Claude Autant-Lara – Marguerite de la nuit AKA Marguerite of the Night (1955)

Quote:
Truffaut and Godard gave a bad name to the “quality” French cinema that preceded them. This film was one of their pet examples of what they saw as staid, boring, unadventurous cinéma de papa. Without an axe to grind, it is actually a breathtakingly bold modernization of the Faust legend, ravishing to look at with its highly stylized sets (Trauner on LSD) and containing multi-layered undercurrents, including a message on the unthinking destructiveness of youth which seems almost like a prescient reply to its New Wave critics. Read More »