Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Impasse des Deux Anges (1948)

Simone Signoret plays Marianne, a stage-girl who is about to quit her job because she is marrying Antoine de Fontaines (Marcel Herrand), an aristocrat. Antoine gives her a beautiful necklace, which once belonged to one of Louis XIV's ladies. A group of criminals hears about this very expensive gift and makes a plan to steal the necklace. Jean (Paul Meurisse) is given the task to pretend that he is one of the guests - Marianne is holding a party at her house the night before the wedding - and steal the necklace. The plan is going well, but Jean meets Marianne and realizes that she once was called Anne-Marie.

7 years ago, Jean and Anne-Marie were sweethearts, but Jean was arrested for stealing and jailed for 5 years. Marianne thinks that Jean is coming to see her, so she sneaks out and goes with him for a walk, remembering their happy times together. They arrive at Impasse des Deux Anges, where they were most happy, but now the place is a ruin (and a dead end) - perhaps like their relationship now. 7 years is a long time and all this time Marianne doesn't know that her Jean is a thief. Now he is even a better thief. The abyss between them is now too wide, and when Marianne has to choose between Jean and Antoine, it's not a difficult matter.

Jean himself becomes a different man after meeting Marianne. He is supposed to hand the necklace to his friends who are waiting at the gate, but he doesn't give it to them and all night crooks are following them both. After spending the night with Marianne, Jean realizes how he has been wrong. Anne-Marie loved good things, but if Jean had to steal to get them, she preferred not to have them, as to be with Jean was more precious.

The movie is beautiful and poetic although I felt it was slow at some parts (perhaps because I wanted to do something else): i.e. the scene with a poor young girl, also called Anne-Marie, where Marianne tries to tell her that once she was poor also; and the scene with a man who takes Jean's gun and threatens them.

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