THE LAST OF THE SIX
LE DERNIER DES SIX
1941, Gaumont, 90 min, France, Dir: Georges Lacombe

When a group of old friends prepares to share their fortunes with one another, their meeting is threatened by a series of mysterious murders. LE DERNIER DES SIX, though directed by Georges Lacombe, shows Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unmistakable hand in shaping the script, setting up the striking oppositions between grim, atmospheric crime scenes and the near-slapstick interactions of Inspector Wems (Pierre Fresnay) with his histrionic, high-maintenance girlfriend (played with flair by Clouzot’s then-girlfriend, Suzy Delair).


CASQUE D’OR
1952, Janus Films, 96 min, France, Dir: Jacques Becker

Do not miss this sublime masterpiece of romantic French cinema - simultaneously a heartbreaking adult fairy tale and an impressionist rendering of the turn-of-the-century Parisian underworld. The fleeting moments of shared love and erotic passion between Serge Reggiani and Simone Signoret are genuine poetry - moments cut short by the jealous machinations of others.


BACK TO THE WALL
LE DOS AU MUR
1958, Gaumont, 93 min, Dir: Édouard Molinaro

Before moving to comedies, director Édouard Molinaro began his career with several superb thrillers; this is his most auspicious debut. Gérard Oury is a cuckolded husband who devises an ingenious revenge against his cheating wife (Jeanne Moreau, looking just as luminous and sad-eyed as she did in ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS) only to have it backfire, setting in motion his increasingly desperate efforts at a cover-up. Molinaro revels in the use of classic noir devices (flashbacks, voiceovers) to create a unique mood in a film that’s guaranteed to scratch your “noir itch.” With Philippe Nicaud. In French with English subtitles.


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