THE PROUD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
LES ORGUEILLEUX
1953, Pathé, 103 min, France/Mexico, Dir: Yves Allegret

Was director Yves Allegret “answering” Henri-Georges Clouzot with this film, where the setting is highly reminiscent of the oppressive atmosphere permeating THE WAGES OF FEAR? Here, however, there is no harrowing adventure tale at the dark center of the story - only the ravaged lives of two lost souls (Gérard Philipe, a doctor whose dalliance in a sweltering Mexican town has reduced him to a hopeless drunk; Michèle Morgan, a woman whose life hangs in the balance once her disreputable husband dies during the outset of a raging typhoid epidemic). What happens to these two is the crux of this powerful melo-noir that dares to take both of them to the brink of degradation, with only the barest chance of escape. Adapted by Jean Aurenche from a play by Jean-Paul Sartre.


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.


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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