DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
BLOOD OF OTHERS, THE (SANG DES AUTRES, LE) (director: Claude Chabrol; screenwriters: Brian Moore/based on a novel by Simone de Beauvoir; cinematographer: Richard Ciupka; editor: Yves Langlois; music: Francois Dompierre; cast: Jodie Foster (Helene), Michael Ontkean (Jean Blomart), Sam Neill (Bergmann), Stéphane Audran (Gigi), Alexandra Stewart (Madeleine), Jean-Pierre Aumont (Arnaud), JohnVernon (Nazi General), Sam Fuller (Old Man in Cafe), Micheline Presle (Denise), Kate Reid (Madame Blomart), Roger Mirmont (Marcel), Lambert Wilson (Paul ), Michel Robin (Raoul), Marie Bunel (Yvonne), Monique Mercure (Mme. Klotz); Runtime: 130; Prism Entertainment; 1984-Can/Fr)

 
"Claude Chabrol has no feel or interest for the Occupation subject matter..."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A poorly done adaptation of Simone de Beauvoir's 1945 novel about the growth and self-sacrifice of a selfish American during the German Occupation of Paris. Claude Chabrol has no feel or interest for the Occupation subject matter, being more of a satirist of the bourgeois he seems like a fish out of water in this venture. His uninspired filming of this routine story and his plodding direction makes this dreary film one of his biggest bombs. If that wasn't bad enough, all the main actors are miscast. Try to imagine the heroine and the lovelorn resistance fighter hero as Jodi Foster and Michael Ontkean, and the lovelorn Sam Neill as a German businessman with top Nazi connections; you should see from those casting decisions this film has everything working against it from its onset. Chabrol's wife Stéphane Audran has a minor role as a collaborator.

The version I saw was in English and on video. It was originally made for HBO as part of a three-hour TV mini-series. This version looks more like drab TV than a glossy movie.

The film opens with a voiceover saying this is 1938, the year of appeasement and the lull before the storm. Helene (Foster) is a spoiled apolitical American fashion designer in Paris dating a commie organizer Paul (Wilson). Through him she meets another commie organizer, the handsome, Jean Blomart (Ontkean), the son of a rich man whose father is upset with his radical beliefs and is estranged from him. She falls in love with him and ditches Paul.

As the love story melodramatics go into motion, the following happens to Helene: she aborts Jean's child, and when Jean joins the infantry front-line as war breaks out-- she tries against his approval to get him assigned to Paris for safe duty. He refuses that post and is wounded in battle and is sent to a German prison camp. Through her boss Gigi, who is living with a Nazi general (Vernon), she meets businessman Bergmann (Neill). He falls helplessly in love with her and she doesn't even have to put out for him, as he uses his influence to free Jean from the Nazis.

Helene then has to convince Jean and his resistance fighter friends that she's not a collaborator, as she takes on a daring assassin mission that will put her in danger.

There's not much to this conventional story. The film never has any suspense, and the love affair is not believable. The Nazis as heartless villains is something that has been seen many times before for it to mean much here. A very forgettable and regrettable film.

REVIEWED ON 1/17/2002     GRADE: C -

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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