Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quai des Orfèvres (1947)

Quai des Orfèvres is a very good movie with several nice musical numbers, although not as funny as Le corbeau and L'assassin habite au 21. I can see how H.G. Clouzot had developed the quality of his work so in later years we got the excellent Les diaboliques. I think the title is not right. Quai des Orfèvres refers to a police station in Paris, while in the movie there is not much of that station. The English title of the version I saw last night on TV was 'Jenny Lamour'.

Poisoned with jealousy, pianist Maurice Martineau (Bernard Blier) goes to the meeting place between his soprano wife Jenny Lamour (Suzy Delair) and the rich businessman Brignon (Charles Dullin) with a gun to kill the pair. When he gets there, he finds the dead body of Brignon. Worse, his car is stolen so it takes a long time to return to the theatre where he plans to make an alibi. Meanwhile, Jenny confesses to their friend Dora (Simone Renant) that she has killed Brignon by hitting his head with a bottle. Louis Jouvet plays the inspector who handles the case, which the press refers as 'a very very very tiny case' since Brignon is a scoundrel.

The plot is good as the Martineaus keep secret from each other. It was a good scene when the inspector came into the couple's apartment and both Maurice and Jenny were worried with fear: she believed she had killed Brignon and the inspector would find out, he felt he was the prime suspect; while in fact the inspector came to ask about their neighbour Dora, who had taken pictures of young women brought by Brignon. The couple's dishonesty to each other will lead into a tragedy, but fortunately it ends well and they will realize how strong is their love. I could guess the ending, though.

Maurice: I've been answering stupid questions for two hours.
The Inspector : And I've been asking them for ten years.

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