Jean Dréville – Copie conforme (1947)

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From IMDB:
Another Louis Jouvet’s tour de force., 8 March 2003
Author: dbdumonteil
Some movies do not need a director at all:when Louis Jouvet is the lead,he carries everything on his shoulders.Here he’s got two parts: a crook and an honest man ,who is his perfect double. Jouvet is so good,a perfectionist extraordinaire ,that you do believe there are really TWO different actors on the screen,one self-assured,smart and tricky,the other one a born-sucker. Nevertheless, best scenes are to be found at the beginning:Jouvet selling a castle on the historical register to a couple of nouveaux riches: his crook becomes a true noble ,and when he says to these bourgeois he despises “call me excellency as everybody does”,his behavior compels respect. Continue reading

Nicholas Ray – In a Lonely Place (1950)

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Quote:
Screenwriter Dixon Steele, faced with the odious task of scripting a trashy bestseller, has hat-check girl Mildred Atkinson tell him the story in her own words. Later that night, Mildred is murdered and Steele is a prime suspect; his record of belligerence when angry and his macabre sense of humor tell against him. Fortunately, lovely neighbor Laurel Gray gives him an alibi. Laurel proves to be just what Steele needed, and their friendship ripens into love. Will suspicion, doubt, and Steele’s inner demons come between them? Continue reading

John M. Stahl – Leave Her to Heaven [+Commentary] (1945)

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A fevered yet clinical study of jealousy, Leave Her to Heaven is probably John M. Stahl’s best-known film. In many ways, it is far removed from the sober, intense concentration of Stahl’s major and underseen ’30s soap operas; his early movies were deliberately plain and spare, while Leave Her to Heaven is overpoweringly artificial and rococo, with intimations of neurotic fantasies churning away underneath its lacquered, rotogravure images. Immediately pulsing with the thumping drums of Alfred Newman’s stormy score, the film proceeds very slowly at first, as Stahl builds a dreamlike Technicolor atmosphere around his three leads, Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, and Jeanne Crain. These actors are eerily one-dimensional, and Stahl uses their limitations as performers to his advantage, making them look like sleepwalkers in a sort of Life magazine nightmare. Continue reading

Maurice Cazeneuve – Cette nuit-la… AKA That Night (1958)

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Synopsis:

‘Jean, who is the artistic director of a fashion magazine, is married to a very pretty cover girl, Sylvie. They both work for André Reverdy, a very cynical man, who openly covets Sylvie. Jean, awfully jealous, can’t put up with the situation. Persuaded that his young wife has given herself to his rival he goes and waits for Reverdy outside his bachelor flat. When the hated man goes out, he kills him…’
– Guy Bellinger Continue reading

Henry Hathaway – Kiss of Death [+Extras] (1947)

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Quote:
Based in part on a true story, Kiss of Death is given a veneer of reality by being filmed on location in New York, with a bare minimum of studio work. In one of his best performances, Victor Mature plays a cheap crook who is sent up the river for 20 years for robbery. District attorney Brian Donlevy, out of sympathy for Mature’s two young daughters, gives him a chance to go free—if Mature will blow the whistle on his accomplices. Stubbornly adhering to the “code” of thieves, Mature refuses to do so, until his wife kills herself and his kids are placed in an orphanage. Once paroled, Mature is prevailed upon to extract additional information from sadistic mob torpedo Richard Widmark (in his chilling screen debut). Continue reading