Sunday, October 4, 2009

Le diable et les dix commandements (1962)

The Devil and the Ten Commandments has a very original idea, using the 10 Commandments given to Moses by God on the Mount Sinai. Directed by Julien Duvivier, this was a big project which assembled many great actors. The movie is divided into 6 sketches, with the first is divided again to open and conclude it. The Devil appears in the shape of a snake and gives commentary between segments.

1. "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain"
Jérôme (Michel Simon), a pensioner, swears like a soldier. This won't be a great deal if he doesn't live in a convent. The abbess wants to get rid of him, but when the bishop (Lucien Baroux) visits the convent, he recognizes Jérôme as his childhood friend and agrees to give him absolution if he repents and learns the 10 commandments.

2. "Thou shalt not commit adultery" "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife" "Thou shall not covet anything that belongs to thy neighbour"
This segment is the most simple and easiest to understand. Françoise (Françoise Arnoul) is given an expensive necklace by her friend's husband Philip (Mel Ferrer). Although claims that she is happily married to Georges (Claude Dauphin), being a close friend of the rich couple Micheline (Micheline Presle) - Philip, Françoise more or less is a bit jealous of Micheline and wants to keep that necklace given by her lover. But how to explain to Georges? Françoise buys a bag, fills it with a dozen of imitation necklace, put the expensive necklace among them, leaves it at the station and tells her husband that she finds the deposit ticket in a taxi. Georges claims the bag at the station. Françoise hopes Georges gives the bag and its contents to her. He does, but she doesn't find the necklace because Georges has given it to Michelin.

3. "Thou shalt not kill"
This segment is the most bitter. Denis (Charles Aznavour) renounces his vow to become a priest to revenge the death of his sister, who committed suicide after being forced to become a prostitute by Garigny (Lino Ventura). It's a bit strange as a priest is supposed to be a man of peace. Father Superior tells Denis to leave the matter in police's hand, but Denis believes that if police catches Garigny, Garigny will only spend several years in prison, and after that he will be out and commit crimes again. Denis arranges that Garigny kills him and is caught by the police red handed.

4. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me"
A big man (Fernandel) comes into a farm which inhabited by little Marie, her parents, and her grand parents. He tells her that he is God. The grand-mother wants him to perform a miracle, but not on herself. 'God' makes the (pretended) paralyzed grand-father walks again. After he is done, the family has their faith again. 'God' leaves the farm, carrying with him the African totem which previously stood in front of the house and throw it down the canyon. Next, he is picked up by 2 men from the psychiatric ward.

5. "Honour thy father and thy mother" "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour"
Pierre (Alain Delon) comes home and finds his mother (Madeleine Robinson) in a sulky mood. Irritated, Pierre goes to his father and lightly says that perhaps she is not his mother. His father then tells him that his real mother is Clarisse Ardant (Danielle Darrieux), the actress. Pierre goes to see his real mother who at first thinks that Pierre is another die-hard fan. In a short moment, he learns that she is too much in love with herself. She cannot even find time to dinner with his son and refuses to know his address. Pierre returns to his adoptive parents and this time, his adoptive mother's scold sound lovely to his ear, as it only shows how much she loves him.

6. "Thou shalt not steal"
Didier (Jean-Claude Brialy), a bank cashier, is fired by his boss. On his last day, a robber (Louis de Funès) comes to his window and Didier gives the money voluntarily and let the robber go. Didier then manages to obtain the suitcase with the money, but before he can escape, the Inspector (Noël Roquevert) asks him to identify the robber from a line-up. Didier lets the robber go again, but knowing the ex-cashier has the suitcase, the robber runs after him. They end up agreeing to share the suitcase's contents, except that the contents are now: wine, bread, and sausages. Without his knowing, Didier has taken the wrong suitcase when he stops in a café.

7. "Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy"
To conclude the film, Jérôme appears again. It's Sunday and Jérôme is invited by his friend the bishop to dine together. The bishop drinks too much wine and cannot recite the 10 Commandments. In this last segment, the characters can see the serpent. Jérôme catches it and throw it into a well. However, it doesn't mean that the devil has its end as he appears again.

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