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(Review originally written at 29 March 2008)

This 1931 Jean Renoir French movie has a story of all times. It's about a man who falls for the wrong girl and gets deeper and deeper into problems because of it. What can be more lethal than a woman? The drama is complex and multiple layered and mostly works out so well in this movie since the story by no means is a standard formulaic one. The movie does a very good job at remaining an unpredictable one throughout its entire running time and you just never know how the movie is going to end or in which direction its heading to.

Jean Renoir was one the greatest early French movie directors from the 20th century. With this movie he makes his first 'talkie'. It's notable in parts that this was still all fairly new and all for him and there are some small clumsiness's. He fairly much keeps the same style as movie-making he used for his earlier silent productions. This is mostly notable with the compositions within this movie. Not that this is a bad thing in my opinion. It gives the movie a great look and style that also seems really fitting for this particular movie and its story.

It's a great looking movie with high production values. The camera-work is just great and the movie in parts also uses some great editing, that shows a scene from different camera angles. It doesn't do this throughout the entire movie though, since like I said before, the movie mostly keeps is made silent-movie style. Perhaps it was an early sign of things that yet had to come for Jean Renoir, when he in 1937 with "La Grande illusion", that used lots of deep focus and camera-movements, something that also heavily inspired Orson Welles, among others, which is also really notable in "Citizen Kane" of course.

Michel Simon gives away one fine performance as the movie its main character but the rest of the actors in acting within this movie is perhaps a bit uneven. But perhaps this also had to do with the fact that this was Jean Renoir's first sound movie and he had to become yet accustomed to working with dialogs and actors performing them.

Unfortunately the movie uses some of its speed toward the ending but the movie at all times remains interesting and compelling enough to make you keep watching and just loving this movie right till the very end.

A great first sound movie from Jean Renoir.

9/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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