1. Now here is a film I have much affection for from a director I adore more than almost any other! Tony, you are a true Santa Claus for bringing us movie lovers this terrific Christmas present, adorned with an extraordinary essay by the incomparable Robin Wood.

    I cannot blame you one iota for your indignation, at both Crowther’s smug dismissal nor that by Variety. But to be honest, Wood’s magisterial treatment, which rightly likens the film as a kind of remake of 2002’s exemplary THE DEEP END, is close to the current day assessment of the film by most. No, it’s not MADAME DE or LOLA MONTES, but it’s a splendidly-crafted film with psychological tensions and deft crafsmanship. Joan Bennett has never been better in her career. I’d even put this performance above her celebrated SCARLET STREET turn. And I wholly agree with you on the quality work of Burnett Guffey, who photographed IN A LONELY PLACE, FROM HERE THE ETERNITY, HUMAN DESIRE, ALL THE KING’S MEN and BONNIE AND CLYDE in a distinguished career.
    I applaud you on these statements:

    “the film is a brilliant example of the dynamics of the auteur working inside the studio system.”

    “Ophuls takes a basic blackmail story and through his long and fluid takes and subtle mise-en-scene infuses it with a complexity and subtlety rarely matched in film noir.”

    Robin wood’s essay is essential reading for everyone.

  2. I don’t know what else I could add except to nod agreement. This is surely Joan Bennett’s finest hour and this is the kind of film that slowly pulls you in. It’s not the director’s best work, but it’s quite memorable. Nice review Tony.

  3. Thank you kindly Allan and Sam for your comments and additional exposition. Allan, I agree that this is Joan Bennett’s best performance.

    I look forward to viewing more of Ophuls’ work – though it is hard to find over here.

  4. kat

    Thanks for your review and the link to the Wood article. I just recently watched this and your are absolutely right that it gets better with repeated viewings. There is so much going on in the movie. The Wood article nicely articulates the complexities and just how effective Ophuls’ direction is. And Joan Bennett is absolutely perfect and Mason is deceptively good in a tricky role.

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