Julien Duvivier – Panique (1947)


Recently released from prison, an attractive young woman Alice meets up with her lover Alfred. The latter, a vicious crook, has murdered an old woman at a fairground. The only witness was a reclusive old man named Monsieur Hire, who is secretly in love with Alice. Alfred and Alice contrive to divert suspicion on to Monsieur Hire…

After his largely lacklustre stint in Hollywood during World War II, Julien Duvivier returned to France a changed man, and this is clearly reflected in his first French film after the war, Panique. Disillusioned with the mawkish tendency of American cinema, with its obligatory “Happy End”, Divivier set out to make a film that better reflected the times he lived in. To that end, he adapted a novel by the popular Belgian writer Georges Simenon, a story of unrequited love and cruel betrayal. Continue reading

Julien Duvivier – Voici le temps des assassins aka Deadlier than the male (1956)


André Chatelin is a restaurant owner in Les Halles in Paris. One morning, a girl named Catherine asks to see him. She happens to be the daughter of his estranged wife, Gabrielle, that André left more than twenty years before. As Gabrielle has just died, André accepts to accommodate Catherine first, then gives her a job in his restaurant before finally marrying her. But the angel-faced young lady might well be a devil in disguise. Continue reading

Julien Duvivier – Chair de poule AKA Highway Pick-Up (1963)



“A man plans a hold-up with a group of trusted fellows, he gets his hands on the money, and the girl – what could go wrong? Almost everything.”
– IMDb


The Locksmith Killer.

Daniel Boisett (Robert Hossein) and his friend Paul Genest (Jean Sorel) are disturbed by the home owner during an attempted safe-cracking. In the ensuing mêlée, Paul accidentally kills the home owner and both men flee the scene in panic. Paul manages to escape but Daniel is shot and wounded by police and is promptly sentenced to a lengthy stint in prison. Continue reading

Julien Duvivier – Black Jack (1950)


IMDb comment by niathan:

I saw this film when it was released to the minor cinemas in the UK some 50 years ago; and the memory remains of a great musical score, and the tragedy of the storyline. I saw it again on video recently. The sound track was poor and the picture grainy; but it is one of two films that I saw again the next day, the other being Gladiator. The music theme is intensely tragic, and from the outset one knows that it heralds failure or death. Certainly one of George Sanders best performances; as a man working the black market to get pay back for what he lost in the war, but nemesis waits; Patricia Roc plays a refugee from Eastern Europe eaten with despair. He is attracted to her, selflessly wants to help her, and then falls in love with her, but she is too proud and hurt to accept help. Their love destroys him, and inevetably the girl and the doctor (Herbert Marshall), who brought the nemesis. The storyline is of complex intertwining destinies, where subsidiary characters are not who they appear to be. This is as a film, which diappointed the critics and struggled at the box office; but for the adolescent who saw it, and the retired gentleman who saw it again it is one of the greatest films (taking into account its age)whose story is more akin to an opera. Continue reading

Julien Duvivier – Golgotha (1935)

Golgotha is noteworthy because it is the very first sound-picture ever made about Jesust. On top of that, it is thoroughly well done and engrossing. It starred a cast of hundreds—perhaps the biggest ever assembled for a film at the time. Like Cecil B. DeMille’s 1927 film King of Kings, Duvivier gives his film a glossy, Hollywood look featuring terrific sets and (at the time) epic camera shots, but unlike many Hollywood incarnations of Jesus’ life, the story is decidedly intimate, focusing on characters who speak quietly in closed rooms rather than over-expressive actors who wear their Shakespearian training (or lack thereof) on their sleeves. Continue reading

Julien Duvivier – Le Petit monde de Don Camillo aka The Little World of Don Camillo (1952)


Plot summary :
In a village of the Po valley where the earth is hard and life miserly, the priest and the communist mayor are always fighting to be the head of the community. If in secret, they admired and liked each other, politics still divided them as it is dividing the country. And when the mayor wants his “People’s House”; the priest wants his “Garden City” for the poor. Division exist between the richest and the poorest, the pious and the atheists and even between lovers. But if the people are hard as the country, they are good in the bottom of there heart. Continue reading

Julien Duvivier – Maria Chapdelaine (1934)



“Maria Chapdelaine” beautifully supports and sustains French filmmaker Julien Duvivier’s gift for “poetic realism.” At base, this is a simple 19th century romantic triangle. Canadian lass Madeleine Renaud is adored with equal fervor by aristocratic Jean-Pierre Aumont and by crude lumberjack Jean Gabin. Her indecision paves the way for tragedy. Yes, Maria Chapdelaine is a bit old-fashioned in technique and story material, but that fact never stopped Duvivier from turning out a film of genuine merit. Though the 1984 remake, directed by Gilles Carle, is superior to Duvivier’s, the earlier film shouldn’t be ignored” Continue reading