QUAI DES ORFÈVRES
1947, Rialto Pictures, 102 min, France, Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Maurice (Bertrand Blier), the jealous husband of ambitious cabaret chanteuse Jenny (Suzy Delair), is blamed for murder when a lecherous movie producer turns up dead. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot spins a classic police procedural, following dauntless Inspector Antoine (French actor Louis Jouvet, in his greatest role) as he doggedly goes about untying the knots in this delightfully perplexing, character-driven mystery.


THE WANTON
MANÈGES
1950, Rialto Pictures, 91 min, Dir: Yves Allégret

We move from the bathtub to the stable as Simone Signoret plays the two-timing wife of a hopeless milquetoast (Bernard Blier, perfect as always), who is in cahoots with her venal, grasping mother (Jane Marken) to milk him of all his funds before moving on to higher game. Things don’t quite go as planned! Director Yves Allégret proved unfortunately prophetic with this nasty tale - a few months after completing the film, Signoret (who had been his girlfriend for five years) left him for Yves Montand. In French with English subtitles.


DÉDÉE D'ANVERS
1948, 86 min, France, Dir: Yves Allégret

Bursting through the echoes of “poetic realism” contained within its narrative, this underworld drama showcases the emergence of Simone Signoret, a hooker with a hankering for a better life. The original femme fatale, Signoret is both luminous and complex, presaging a series of follow-up performances in similarly themed films over the next half-decade. A trio of indelible actors (Marcelo Pagliero, Marcel Dalio, Bernard Blier) provides Dédée with ecstasy, agony and sympathy, respectively. In French with English subtitles.


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