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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Le Combat Dans L'ile (1962)

A bourgeois housewife (Romy Schneider) discovers that her husband (Jean Louis Trintignant) is a right wing terrorist and a political assassin. After a bungled assassination attempt, he must leave the country but he refuses to take her which leaves her vulnerable to the attentions of her husband's childhood friend (Henri Serre, JULES ET JIM). Directed by Alain Cavalier but "supervised" by Louis Malle, this is a perfectly silly film, not to mention slipshod. Most problematic is Schneider's character who comes across as a cipher that defines herself through the men in her life. After discovering that her husband is a fascist and a murderer, does she leave him? No, she pleads to be taken along with him when he escapes the country. Only when she finds herself another man (Serre) is she able to heal herself. I won't even go into the archaic finale which could have come right out of a 19th century potboiler. Still, the acting is quite good. In particular, Trintignant whose intensity is a perfect match for the near psychopathic assassin. I don't believe the film ever got a U.S. release and it's easy to see why. With Diane Lepvrier who gives a charming performance as a country housekeeper.

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