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Quai des Orfèvres (1947)

Original Title : Quai des Orfèvres
Director : Henri-Georges Clouzot
Writer : Henri-Georges Clouzot
Jean Ferry
Stanislas-André Steeman
Genre : Crime
Drama
Country : France
Language : French
Producer : Roger De Venloo
Music : Francis López
Photography : Armand Thirard
IMDB ID : 0039739
Official site : http://www.rialtopictures.com/quai.html
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poster for "Quai des Orfèvres" by Henri-Georges Clouzot (1947)
Quai des Orfèvres (1947) - Henri-Georges Clouzot
 

Starring

Suzy Delair Marguerite Chauffornier Martineau, aka Jenny Lamour
Bernard Blier Maurice Martineau
Louis Jouvet Inspector Antoine
Simone Renant Dora Monier
Jean Daurand Detective Picard
Pierre Larquey Emile Lafour, cab driver
René Blancard Police Commissioner
Robert Dalban Paulo, the car thief
 

Plot

Jenny Lamour wants to succeed in music hall. Her husband and accompanist is Maurice Martineau, a nice but jealous guy. When he knew Jenny is making eyes at Brignon, an old businessman, in order to get some engagements, he looses his temper and threatens Brignon with death. But Jenny went anyway to a rendez-vous at the old man's, who is murdered the same evening. The criminal investigations are lead by Inspector Antoine...
 

Comments

Chabrol's predecessor. First of all,there is a detective story:"légitime défense" by Belgian Stanislas André Steeman whose "l'assassin habite au 21" Clouzot had already put to the screen in 1942,with Pierre Fresnay and the same actress Suzy Delair.Steeman complained about Clouzot's adaptation for both movies.The movie from 1942 was excellent,but the "detective story" side had been kept,so why complaining?As for "Quai des orfèvres",Clouzot was now in a new phase of his brilliant career.After having directed "le corbeau" and been blacklisted,he had a lot more to say than a simple whodunit.Steeman complained essentially about the poor detective ending,which I will not reveal of course,but Clouzot focused on the social vignettes,on his characters's psychology,and he did not give a damn about thepuzzle à la Agatha Christie.By doing so,he becomes the genuine predecessor of CLaude Chabrol who has always been closer to him than to Alfred Hitchcock whom he admires much though. Suzy Delair has great screen presence,and you will love the song she really sings(she was a singer too)"avec son tralala".Bernard Blier gives ,as ever,a sparing of gestures and words performance,and he really pulls it off .Two characters are particularly interesting and disturbing:the first one,Dora,the photographer:she takes pictures of female models ,and Clouzot,by subtile touches,reveals us she's a lesbian.Of course,the word is never pronounced(How could it be in 1947?) The police chief (fabulous Louis Jouvet) tells her:"You and me,WE are not lucky with women."The portrait of this cop isvery detailed:we learn a lot of things about him,not necessary connected with the Delair/Blier plot:he's a widower ,with a son he adores and who runs into school difficulties,particularly in geometry.So we get to know all the characters in depth.One of the most important manifesto of post-war French cinema.
 
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Quai des Orfèvres (1947) - Henri-Georges Clouzot
poster for "Quai des Orfèvres"
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Quai des Orfèvres (1947) - Henri-Georges Clouzot
poster for "Quai des Orfèvres"
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Quai des Orfèvres (1947) - Henri-Georges Clouzot
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