À double tour
Kino Video (1959)
France / French
||Julie, the maid
||Roger, the milkman
||The police inspector
A double tour, Claude Chabrol's third film, is his debut psychological thriller, a genre he subsequently transformed in films like Les Bonnes Femmes and L'Enfer. Through (expert use of flashbacks and vignettes - NY Times) Chabrol creates a lurid and disturbing melodrama of infidelity, obsession and murder at a vineyard in rural Provence.
Vintner Henri Marcoux (Jacques Dacqmine) brazenly carries on an affair with a beautiful young neighbor (Antonella Lualdi) right under the nose of his bitter wife Thérèse (Madeleine Robinson). Henri's gorgeous daughter has herself caught the eye of a Hungarian ne'er do well (Jean-Paul Belmondo), while Henri's voyeur son begins to take liberties with his father's mistress. As the family's passions ripen, the stage is set for tragedy.
Demonstrating (a flair for the camera and characterization - NY Times) Chabrol leads his gifted cast through (fine performances - NY Times). Italo-Greek ingénue Antonella Lualdi is a (dark, striking beauty who could easily turn a man's head - NY Times), and storied French stage actress Madeleine Robinson (Orson Welles' The Trial) received the Best Actress prize at the 1959 Venice Film Festival for her role. Belmondo is magnetic in his final part before Breathless (in which he used his character's name from A double tour as an alias) catapulted him to international stardom.
Released in the US as Leda in 1961, Variety called A double tour a (sleek whodunit,) with (good camera work and tricky direction.) Viewed today, A double tour's swooping camera and character eccentricity echo both Alfred Hitchcock's most personal and obsessive films and Douglas Sirk's colorful 1950s melodramas.
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