THE ASSASSIN LIVES AT 21
L’ASSASSIN HABITE A 21
1942, Janus Films, 84 min, France, Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Inspector Wems is back in this claustrophobic murder mystery by first-time director Henri-Georges Clouzot. This time, it’s Clouzot’s show all the way, as the director finds his stride in giving his star Pierre Fresnay room to be completely exasperated by the chaos surrounding him. A superb and eccentric thriller from the famed director of DIABOLIQUE and THE WAGES OF FEAR.


MANON
1949, 96 min, Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot

One of director Henri-Georges Clouzot’s most neglected masterpieces and winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1949, MANON was his blistering response to the hypocritical reaction in France to LE CORBEAU. Updating Abbe Prevost’s classic novel to postwar France, the film stars newcomer Cécile Aubrey (sex-kitten precursor to Brigitte Bardot) as a prostitute who is condemned as a collaborationist for sleeping with Germans during the war. She’s rescued from the noose by a smitten resistance fighter (Michel Auclair) – but once the couple flees from Normandy, Manon’s desire for the good things in life leads her directly to Parisian black markets and brothels, a debauched course that can result only in self-destruction. With Serge Reggiani. In French with English subtitles.


DEADLIER THAN THE MALE
VOICI LE TEMPS DES ASSASSINS
1956, Pathe International, 107 min, France, Dir: Julien Duvivier

While the other French femmes fatales are “hot,” none of them approach the coiled ferocity of Danièle Delorme here, driven to a life of ruthless scheming by her hardscrabble youth. Matching her step for step are Jean Gabin, the target of her desperate, malevolent plans; Germain Kerjean as his cold-hearted mother; Gerard Blain as his clueless surrogate son; and Luciene Bogart as Delorme’s drug-addicted mother. Featuring superb camerawork by Armand Thiraud (Clouzot's frequent collaborator), DEADLIER THAN THE MALE is arguably the definitive French film noir. In French with English subtitles.


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