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.


SHIP OF FOOLS
1965, Sony Repertory, 149 min, USA, Dir: Stanley Kramer

An all-star cast sails aboard this thought-provoking drama, adapted by Abby Mann from Katherine Anne Porter’s 1962 novel. As an ocean liner travels from Veracruz, Mexico, to Bremerhaven, Germany in 1933, few among the diverse group of passengers – which includes Oskar Werner, Simone Signoret, Lee Marvin, George Segal and, in her final role, Vivien Leigh – suspect the dark future ahead of them as the Nazis rise to power. Nominated for eight Oscars, with wins for B&W Cinematography and Art Direction.


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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