|SPOTLIGHT ON A MURDERER (PLEINS FEUX SUR PASSASSIN) (director/writer: Georges Franju; screenwriters: Perre Boileau/Thomas Narcejac; cinematographer: Marcel Fradetal; editor: Gilbert Natot; music: Maurice Jarre; cast: Pierre Brasseur (Herve), Pascale Audret (Jeanne), Marianne Koch (Edwige), Dany Saval (Micheline), Jean-Louis Trintignant (Jean-Marie), Georges Rolin (Claude Benoist-Sainval), Jean Babilee (Christian de Kerloguen); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jules Borkon; Flicker Alley; 1961-France-in French with English subtitles)|
fascinating is the film's mise-en-scène."
by Dennis Schwartz
Franju ("The Keepers"/"Eyes Without A
Face"/"Judex") adapts the story from the team of
Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac
and "Vertigo"). The dark lyrical
thriller brilliantly features a series of strange
images. What's fascinating is the film's mise-en-scène.
It's Franju at the top of his game.
home owner (Pierre Brasseur)
lies dead encased with his favorite wind-up miniature
ballerina behind a mirror. His greedy heirs must
according to the law wait five years to declare the
missing person dead. The shifty cousins attempt to
maintain the upkeep of the expensive home they will
probably inherit without having the necessary
funds. They thereby devise a means for paying
visitors to come to a son et lumiere
show at the house. They use sound
effects piped from discrete loudspeakers and vast
arc lights to tell the history of the castle and its
cursed legends. During the show several of the
cousins meet with fatal accidents. One of the cousins,
Jean-Louis Trintignant, smells a rat,
thinking a rival is eliminating his competition. But
no one else believes him.
atmosphere is wonderfully haunting, the humor is
wonderfully absurd, and the strangeness of the story
is surreal. The film is hard to shake off, as it
lingers in your thoughts long after seeing it.
pic commercially bombed on its theater release in
France and was not seen abroad. When its greatness was
discovered at a later date, the film thankfully got a
new life with the public.
REVIEWED ON 10/12/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ