Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Two from Jean Grémillon STRANGE MR VICTOR (1938) and LADY KILLER (1937)

 There were two recent restorations of thrillers from director Jean Gremillon and both are worth tracking down.

Legionnaire and noted ladies man Jean Gabin, meets and tries to woo a mysterious woman- but in not so typical fashion it all goes wrong.

French thrillers of the 30's and 40's always have an intensity that is tough to beat From the first frame you know we are in for a tough ride and things are never going to be okay. Such is the case here. We know it's all going to go wrong, she is above his station and there are the jealousies, we just have to wait and see how it all ends up in the grave yard.

This is one of the best films by Gremillion, an under seen director who was infinitely better at films like this then most in Hollywood. I suspect his unflinching style kept the studios from releasing his films, something that we in the English speaking world are lesser for.

Blackmailed into committing murder Victor thinks he's in the clear when someone else takes the rap and is sent away. Several years later the wronged man returns and things become complicated. 

Another Gremllion gem is one you need to see. A tense film about a bad deed blowing back on everyone, this is another film where you'll be squirming in your seat. We can see from a mile off how this is going to go and no matter what we do we, nor the people on screen can make it stop.

A perfect film for a dark and stormy night when you are going to poison friends.

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