Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. France/Italy, 1962. Paris Film Productions, Interopa Film. Screenplay by Hugo Butler, Evan Jones, based on the novel by James Hadley Chase. Cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo. Produced by Raymond Hakim,Robert Hakim. Music by Michel Legrand. Production Design by Richard Macdonald, Luigi Scaccianoce. Film Editing by Reginald Beck, Franca Silvi.
Even fans of Jeanne Moreau might not want to get too close to this one. An early Joseph Losey production, before his superb The Servant, it’s a typically misogynistic tale of a strapping hunk of a successful writer (Stanley Baker) whose engagement to a sweet Italian girl (Virna Lisi) is ruined by his obsession with a manipulative prostitute (Moreau). He travels from Rome to Venice to find her, making love to her on shag rugs in swanky villas followed by her endlessly primping herself (drag queens will love this movie). The gals look great in their designer dresses, and there are endless party sequences, but the depth that made Antonioni’s L’Avventura so good (from which this movie liberally steals its imagery) is missing here. Moreau isn’t comfortable enough with English yet, so all the subtle nuances of her work that made her a star in Jules And Jim aren’t on display.