1930, 89 min, France, Dir: Julien Duvivier

AU BONHEUR DES DAMES is a tale of corporate greed crushing the competition and squeezing out the little guy. Though the story sounds like it was torn from today's headlines, AU BONHEUR DES DAMES is a fascinating classic from the silent era. The legendary German actress and fashion icon Dita Parlo (GRAND ILLUSION), whose exotic look and glamorous mystique inspired Madonna, stars as Denise, an orphan girl who comes to Paris to work in her uncle's small shop. Instead, she takes a job in the big department store across the street, which is trying to run her uncle out of business. Perhaps the last great silent production to come out of France, this melodrama is based on a novel by Emile Zola and directed by Julien Duvivier.

1963, 107 min, France/Italy, Dir: Julien Duvivier

Legendary director Julien Duvivier (PÉPÉ LE MOKO) was nearing the end of his illustrious career, but he saved one of the best for last in this taut tale of fate, lust and enveloping entrapment. Robert Hossein is a thief on the lam who jumps from frying pan into the fire when he holes up at a highway truck stop and is quickly embroiled in the grasping schemes of a hard-bitten, voluptuous vixen (Catherine Rouvel) who will stop at nothing to get what she wants! Costarring Jean Sorel and Jacques Bertrand, with photography from Léonce-Henri Burel, longtime right-hand man of Robert Bresson. In French with English subtitles.

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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