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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Le Passager De La Pluie (aka Rider On The Rain) (1970)

After she is raped by a stranger (Marc Mazza), a young woman (Marlene Jobert) shoots him and disposes of his body into the sea. That would seem to be the end of it until another stranger (Charles Bronson) arrives in town and suggests he knows what happened. A cat and mouse game begins as they each attempt to find out what the other really knows. While the term Hitchcockian seems to be thrown at every suspense thriller released, the director Rene Clement clearly invites it, even go so far as referring to one of the characters as "MacGuffin" (a term used by Hitchcock to describe something of seeming importance that really isn't important at all). One of the great directors in French cinema, Clement lost his way in the mid 1960s and this meandering thriller is typical of the weak work he was churning out. Not only is it overly talky for a thriller but it's also sloppy. Would an Army Colonel conducting an undercover investigation really leave a revealing letter in a typewriter for anyone to walk in and see? Despite Bronson being top billed, the film really belongs to the charming Jobert though her character isn't consistent. She seems determined and willful yet she's submissive to her chauvinistic husband (Gabriele Tinti). Still, it's intriguing enough to hold your interest. I watched the French language version which is the longer cut (5 minutes). The quietly effective score is by Francis Lai. With Jill Ireland, Corinne Marchand and Annie Cordy.

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