Section des Disparus (1956)

vt Seccion Desaparecidos; vt Of Missing Persons
France, Argentina / 80 minutes / bw / Guaranteed, CICC, Borderie, Discifilm Dir: Pierre Chenal Pr: Jaime Cabouli, Raymond Borderie Scr: Pierre Chenal, Domingo Di Núbila, Agustín Cuzzani Story: Of Missing Persons (1950) by David Goodis Cine: Américo Hoss Kamenzinia Cast: Nicole Maurey, Maurice Ronet, Inda Ledesma, Ubaldo Martínez, Élida Dey, Jose Comellas, Pedro Pompilio, André Norevó, Guillermo Battaglia, Luis Otero, Dorita Vernet, Marisa Núñez, Amalia Bernabé, Jorge Villoldo, Alberto Bacigaluppi, Nelly Lagos, Enrique Brown, Raúl Deval, Félix Tortorelli, Enrique A. Quiles.

Since Section des Disparus is based on a David Goodis novel, I cannot imagine how I managed to miss this splendid piece of Argentine/French noir from my A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir.

Lawyer and philandering shit Jean Milford (Ronet) has been fooling around with Diana Lander (Maurey)—who seems to be one of those burlesque showgirls who does not in fact show—on the basis that, so he tells her, he’d marry her on the spot were it not for his snooty, status-conscious family.

Nicole Maurey as Diana

The real reason for his reluctance is that he’s already married—to Continue reading

Nuit d’Or (1976)

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“My name is Marie, the arsonist, the lunatic. Meet me tonight at my mother’s. Signed, Michel”
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vt Die Nacht aus Gold; vt Golden Night
France, WG / 79 minutes / color / Eurofrance, U.G.C., Société Française de Production, F.R.3, Maran Dir: Serge Moati Pr: Philippe Dussart Scr: Françoise Verny, Serge Moati Cine: André Neau Cast: Bernard Blier, Klaus Kinski, Marie Dubois, Jean-Luc Bideau, Charles Vanel, Anny Duperey, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Raymond Bussières, Valérie Pascale, Maurice Ronet, Catherine Arditi, Martine de Breteuil, Jean-Pierre Sentier, Fernand Guiot, Catherine Therouenne.

An offering that has a lot of the feel of a giallo—the borderline surrealism, the hyper-real color use, the sense that the movie’s reality is taking place inside a sort of bubble universe where the rules resemble but are not identical with the ones we’re accustomed to, the visual and narrative style, the grotesquery, etc.—but lacks both any gore to speak of and much by way of nudity/sex. In fact, it seems to tip a mocking hat at these giallo conventions in its early moments, when we see Commissaire Fernand Pidoux (Blier) indulging—as perforce do we—in a little trivial voyeurism, watching through binoculars as Continue reading

Maison sous les Arbres, La (1971)

vt The Deadly Trap; vt Death Scream
France, Italy / 96 minutes / color / Corona, Pomereu, Oceania Dir: René Clément Pr: Robert Dorfmann, Bertrand Javal Scr: Sydney Buchman, Eleanor Perry Story: The Children Are Gone (1965) by Arthur Cavanaugh Cine: Andreas Winding Cast: Faye Dunaway, Frank Langella, Barbara Parkins, Karen Blanguernon, Raymond Gérôme, Maurice Ronet, Michèle Lourie, Patrick Vincent, Gérard Buhr.

Maison Sous les Arbres - 0 opener

Two Americans, Jill Halard (Dunaway) and her scientist husband Philippe (Langella), live in their Paris apartment with their children Cathy (Lourie) and Patrick (Vincent). There’s a sense that Philippe has fled a project or situation that he disliked in the US, because he’s now copyediting science books for a French publisher. At the start of the movie he’s contacted by a spokesman (Ronet) for “The Organization” with an offer to go back to his old work to carry out, in noirish parlance, One Last Job. When Philippe hotly refuses, the persuasions turns to veiled threats against his family, which threats he treats as just so much rhetoric.

Maison Sous les Arbres - 3 PatrickPatrick (Patrick Vincent) finds a new toy.

Maison Sous les Arbres - 1 CathyCathy (Michèle Lourie) tries to hold the family together.

But then things do indeed start going alarmingly awry with the Halards’ world. While Philippe is off at a conference in Toulouse, Jill and the kids are Continue reading