Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quai des Orfevres. A-

I love Henri George Clouzot movies, and while his 1947 Quai des Orfevres doesn't match his finest films, it's still an outstanding piece in his small, brilliant body of work. The story is great, with the only flaw being that the mystery itself isn't quite as interesting as the characters wrapped up in it. Yet we don't mind too much, for the police inspector assigned the case is one of the most memorable detectives I can recall. His mere presence makes reminds us that the quality of the detective's logic and deduction isn't as important as an expressive face, a thoughtful outlook on life (much more satisfying than the emotionally scarred cops who occupy so many modern police procedurals) and an actor who can make it all work. Louis Jouvet is Inspector Antoine, and it's he who elevates the material to something close to great. I also loved Simone Renant as the devoted, beautiful blonde caught up in the case. Not treacherous, but human. Without revealing the story, there is one objective problem in it: why does Jenny not hear about the gun wound? If you've seen the movie, you'll understand. If not, it's no spoiler.

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