THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT 5½

FOUR DECADES OF FRENCH NOIR

FRI-MON, MAY 10-13 · ROXIE THEATRE
Presented by Mid-Century Productions

SUNDAY MATINÉE, MAY 12, 2019

NIGHT AT THE CROSSROADS / LA NUIT DU CARREFOUR  1:00

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: film noir begins here, with Renoir's conjuring of crime, mystery, sex and nighttime fog. An intrepid, hard-nosed policeman (Simenon's Maigret, on the screen for the first time) investigates a smuggling ring after the dead body of their collaborator turns up. He finds a far more live body in Else, an opium-besotted beauty whose out-of-focus eyes are suddenly turned in his direction. Is there a reel missing from this film? Maybe. Does it matter? Not one bit.

(1932) 76min. Directed by Jean Renoir. Adaptation and dialogue by Jean Renoir from the novel by Georges Simenon. Photographed by Georges Asselin and Marcel Lucien. Edited by Marguerite Houllé-Renoir. Assistant diretors: Jacques Becker, Maurice Blondeau, Jean Mitry. With Pierre Renoir, Georges Térof, Winna Winfried, Georges Koudria, Dignimont, G.A. Martin, Michel Duran, Jean Gehret, Max Dalban, Jean Mitry, Jane Pierson, Manuel Raaby, Lucie Vallat.

SIROCCO / LA MAISON DU MALTAIS  2:30

More missing links in the cross-pollination of noir, melodrama and "poetic realism" are revealed in this pivotal (and highly flamboyant) entry from the unsung master of 30s French noir, Pierre Chenal. In a picturesque Tunisian seaport, Viviane Romance is a "good-time girl" seduced by a mystical sailor (Marcel Dalio at his most egregiously exotic) who disappears shortly after impregnating her. She flees to Paris, marries a stuffed-short archaeologist (Louis Jouvet), convincing him that Dalio's child is his. But, soon enough, she discovers that Dalio is alive and that people from her past are looking to blackmail her for her nasty little secret.

(1938) 86min. Directed by Pierre Chenal. Screenplay by Jacques Companeez & Pierre Chenal; dialogues by Simon Gantillon from the novel by Jean Vignaud. Photographed by Curt Courant. Edited by Borys Lewin. Music by Jacques Ibert & Mahieddine Bachtarzi. With Viviane Romance, Louis Jouvet, Pierre Renoir, Jany Holt, Marcel Dalio, Gina Manès, Fréhek, Max Dalban, Florence Marly.

THE DESERTER / JE T'ATTENDRAI  4:15

Near the end of World War I, a troop train is held up due to a bombing; young soldier Paul gets permission to visit his nearby native village. He soon discovers that things are not as he left them when he went to war. He has only a few short hours to reverse the negative impacts that have overtaken his family and rescue his wavering girlfriend from the clutches of the tavern owner who is making a play for her.

(1939) 85min. Directed by Leonid Moguy. Screenplay by Marcel Achard from a story by Jacques Companeez and M. Deligne. Photographed by Robert Lefebvre. Edited by Pierre de Hérain. Music by Georges Van Parys, Henri Verdun & Arthur Honegger. With Jean-Pierre Aumont, Corinne Luchaire, Édouard Dalmant, Berthe Bovy, René Bergeron, Raymond Aimos, Roger Legris, Roland Armontel, Madeleine Corbal, Yves Deniaud.