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Thank you thank you thank you TCM for Jeanne Moreau day


slaytonf
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It was wonderful to see so many of her films together.  Of course, there were the well-worn features, like Jules et Jim, but there were also lots of premieres, or seldom shown ones.  Among others, we saw La Notte, Bay of Angels, and The Great Catherine.  Although the last was a little noisy and uneven, Mlle Moreau had a rare and refreshing opportunity to display her abilities in a comedy.  Her performance was well-timed, and artfully nuanced.

 

Doesn't that opening of Bay of Angels thrill?  It elegantly captures the characters' frightening freefall, and lack of control, with no knowledge of where they are going.

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My favorite movies shown were:

LA NOTTE

BAY OF ANGELS

ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS  

THE LOVERS

 

I've seen all of the B&W French movies that were shown except for The Fire Within, La Notte and The Lovers, which I recorded to watch this evening and tomorrow.   Can't say I was thrilled with The Trial, but you can't win em all.

 

Doesn't that opening of Bay of Angels thrill?  It elegantly captures the characters' frightening freefall, and lack of control, with no knowledge of where they are going.

 

Bay of Angels ---- YES!  I've seen that film many times, but never had had a chance to record it.  The only opening soundtrack theme I've ever heard that equals it is the one at the beginning of Walk on the Wild Side, and from beginning to end I found myself drawn to Moreau's character in spite of myself, in spite of knowing that to get involved with her could only lead to a disaster.

 

When you throw in The 400 Blows, Elevator to the Gallows, Jules and Jim, and Diary of a Chambermaid, it added up to the best day of the year, and IMO it was the best TCM day since the Toshiro Mifune, Lon Chaney and Jean Gabin SUTS days a few years back.  Definitely well worth the long wait.

 

Bay+2.jpg

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I enjoyed Elevator to the Gallows except for it being generally frustrating (as most crime-gone-wrong films are to me, and anything where someone is trapped in an elevator. Oy vey!), and I ended up feeling bad for all parties at the end. What a series of backfires and misunderstandings.

 

The Great Catherine, also, was a very likable film. Especially the mini-war scene.

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I enjoyed Elevator to the Gallows except for it being generally frustrating (as most crime-gone-wrong films are to me, and anything where someone is trapped in an elevator. Oy vey!), and I ended up feeling bad for all parties at the end. What a series of backfires and misunderstandings.

 

Yeah, I wish that once in awhile they'd let the bad guys get away, although I felt a lot worse for Sterling Hayden at the ending of The Asphalt Jungle (where he dies just after driving hundreds of miles to get to his ancestral horse farm) and The Killing (where his loot gets blown all over the airport runway) than I did for Moreau and Maurice Ronet, who had murder on their minds from the beginning.

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Yeah, I wish that once in awhile they'd let the bad guys get away, although I felt a lot worse for Sterling Hayden at the ending of The Asphalt Jungle and The Killing than I did for Moreau and Maurice Ronet, who had murder on their minds from the beginning.

 

Well, it was mostly sympathy for Ronet because he got picked up by the cops right after spending the night in the elevator. In a way it put him in the same light as the character in Three Colors: White, when the fella is taken on to the airplane in a suitcase and ends up as lost luggage. Poor hapless schmoe. That's a lot to go through all at once, whether you're a murderer or not.

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Well, it was mostly sympathy for Ronet because he got picked up by the cops right after spending the night in the elevator. In a way it put him in the same light as the character in Three Colors: White, when the fella is taken on to the airplane in a suitcase and ends up as lost luggage. Poor hapless schmoe. That's a lot to go through all at once, whether you're a murderer or not.

 

That's very good comparison.

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That's very good comparison.

 

Glad you liked it. I thought I might have been reaching.

 

By the way, I was confused a little at the very end of the film, when Jeanne Moreau gets picked up by the cops and they tell her that Ronet will probably get 10 years and do 5 of them, but the jury will not go easy on her and she'll probably get more like 20. Why was that? Ronet did the crime, and she was just his accomplice (though she was the victim's wife) and didn't murder anyone.

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I wish I had recorded The Lovers. I was just too tired to stay up. I did stay up long enough to see the infamous love scene. Talk about much ado about nothing! I remember the theater that showed the film in Cleveland was raided and the owner taken to court for showing it. Doubt it would even get an R rating these days......

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I wish I had recorded The Lovers. I was just too tired to stay up. I did stay up long enough to see the infamous love scene. Talk about much ado about nothing! I remember the theater that showed the film in Cleveland was raided and the owner taken to court for showing it. Doubt it would even get an R rating these days......

 

When Brigitte Bardot's And God Created Woman came to Washington in 1957, it ran in one of those "art house" theaters that mostly ran soft core porno, which in retrospect is kind of funny once you actually see the movie.  My Old School parents wouldn't let me see it, so I had to wait for TCM before I finally realized that it's pretty much a standard issue 1950's French art house film with a gorgeous babe and an understated guy, more like a middle of the road pre-code Hollywood movie in terms of being "risque" than anything like The Devil In Miss Jones. B)

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Glad you liked it. I thought I might have been reaching.

 

By the way, I was confused a little at the very end of the film, when Jeanne Moreau gets picked up by the cops and they tell her that Ronet will probably get 10 years and do 5 of them, but the jury will not go easy on her and she'll probably get more like 20. Why was that? Ronet did the crime, and she was just his accomplice (though she was the victim's wife) and didn't murder anyone.

 

I thought that was interesting too.

I think the point being made was that a jury would look at the wife more harshly than the wife's lover.

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I think the point being made was that a jury would look at the wife more harshly than the wife's lover.

 

I haven't seen Elevator to the Gallows for about two years, but unless I'm mistaken, wasn't it kind of clear at the start of the movie (when we see Moreau deep in a telephone conversation with her lover) that Moreau was the real force behind the murder? 

 

And of course the French don't generally get jury trials in cases like this, so it's less likely that the fact that Moreau didn't pull the trigger would weigh as heavily on her fate as it would over here.

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I think the point being made was that a jury would look at the wife more harshly than the wife's lover.

 

I haven't seen Elevator to the Gallows for about two years, but unless I'm mistaken, wasn't it kind of clear at the start of the movie (when we see Moreau deep in a telephone conversation with her lover) that Moreau was the real force behind the murder? 

 

And of course the French don't generally get jury trials in cases like this, so it's less likely that the fact that Moreau didn't pull the trigger would weigh as heavily on her fate as it would over here.

 

Yeah, I think she was the force behind the murder, and it would probably be hard to keep that a secret from the jury because she was the relation to the victim, like Holden said. By that logic she would be the one in the major wrong because she took a lover in the first place, causing the initial circumstances. Is that the way I am to understand it?

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And of course the French don't generally get jury trials in cases like this, so it's less likely that the fact that Moreau didn't pull the trigger would weigh as heavily on her fate as it would over here.

 

Interesting point. In France only criminal acts punishable by over 10 years in prison are tried by a jury. A conviction requires a two-thirds majority compared to the unanimous verdict required in criminal trials in the US.

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You have to remember that in 1958 pretty much anything beyond Doris Day and Rock Hudson was considered a hot sex film by the production code idiots.  This was a time when a relatively mild soaper like Peyton Place could be viewed as unfit for "decent" people to watch, and a film like  Baby Doll was considered nearly pornographic.  It's all relative, and adding to that, the French, with their much more realistic views on sex, were almost as "exotic" to us as a South Sea islander.  It didn't take much in 1958 to be considered "exotic" to mainstream America.

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I pity the poor **** who back in 1958 went to see The Lovers and

was expecting some kind of hot sex film, and then having to wait for

75 minutes before things got mildly erotic. But leaving aside the

1950s titillation factor, it's a pretty good movie. The last twenty minutes

or so had the dreamy feeling of a Cocteau film. And the hubby seemed

to be a jerk. I thought it was hinted at that he might have been having an

office fling at the newspaper with Helene, though it's never made clear.

 

 

LOL. 

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Very true. Compared to what Hollywood was producing in 1958, The Lovers was quite daring.

But if someone went to see the movie because of its sex angle, they would have had a long

wait to get a glimpse of Jeanne Moreau's boobs and nip slip. Today that would likely be just

BN, one of the saddest letter combinations in the language. And I'm assuming it only played in

a few big cities at the time. Maybe because today there's nothing very shocking about it, it

can be appreciated for other things.

 

America is still very repressed today compared to the EU.   e.g.  the worlds's oldest profession is now legal in many EU nations. 

 

This week's The Economist cover story is about that and how techonology is liberation the world's oldest profession and generally making it safer for all involved. 

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