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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Man Who Watched Trains Go By (1952)

In the Netherlands, after he catches his boss (Herbert Lom) embezzling the company's funds and running off to Paris to be with his mistress (Marta Toren), the factory's drab, colorless and very much married bookkeeper (Claude Rains) confronts him and Lom is accidentally killed. With the police in pursuit, Rains absconds with the money and runs off to Paris and seeks out Toren with whom he's become infatuated. Based on the novel by mystery writer Georges Simenon, it's the oldest story in the world, that of the mousy married man leading a respectable but dull life and the money hungry femme fatale who gets her clutches in him. I suppose Lang's SCARLET STREET is the most memorable of the lot. However, unlike Robinson, it's hard to sympathize with Rains as he's rather dim witted and too willing a dupe and Toren's femme fatale is blatantly obvious and doesn't bother to hide it and he whimpers after her. The ending is pretty obvious as there's nowhere for the story to go. The film has a velvety Technicolor palette courtesy of Otto Heller (PEEPING TOM) and there's a wonderful score by Benjamin Frankel. With a young Anouk Aimee, Marius Goring, Ferdy Mayne, Eric Pohlmann and Felix Aylmer.

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