SUCH A PRETTY LITTLE BEACH
UNE SI JOLIE PETITE PLAGE
1949, Pathe, 91 min, France/Netherlands, Dir: Yves Allégret

In endless rain on France’s Breton coast, Gérard Philipe gives his most unforgettable performance as a man on the run in Yves Allegret’s UNE SI JOLIE PETITE PLAGE. It’s surely one of the bleakest - and wettest - noirs of all time, with an unforgettable cast of cynical and compromised characters, with Madeleine Robinson as the only ray of light in Philipe’s desperate attempt to escape his plight.


FEVER RISES AT EL PAO
LA FIEVRE MONTE A EL PAO
1959, Janus Films, 97 min, France/Mexico, Dir: Luis Buñuel

In Luis Buñuel’s incendiary LA FIEVRE MONTE A EL PAO, Gérard Philipe plays an idealistic reformer who becomes embroiled in complex political intrigue when a repressive dictator is assassinated. Among the supporting cast are many of Mexico’s most celebrated and distinguished actors (Roberto Cañedo, Andres Soler, Victor Junco, Domingo Soler), topped by the legendary Maria Felix as the conniving widow of the fallen dictator. Legendary cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa captures both the heat and the stark angles of an island paradise thrust into a seemingly endless inferno.


RIFIFI
1955, Rialto Pictures, 122 min, France, Dir: Jules Dassin

Back from the pen, tough guy Jean Servais rejoins his cronies and freshly imported safecracker César the Milanese (Dassin himself, billed as Perlo Vita) for a little jewelry store smash-and-grab job - but Servais wants the whole works! The central heist is an edge-of-your-seat, 30-minute sequence without dialogue or music, so detailed that it provided a feasible blueprint for real-life pros. "A vivid exercise that more or less invented the idea of French film noir. ... For the French, RIFIFI had Hollywood pizzazz; for Americans, it had Continental sophistication. For both, it seemed to possess an authoritative naturalism." – J. Hoberman. "The best film noir I have ever seen. A marvel of skill and inventiveness." - François Truffaut. In French with English subtitles.


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