Thursday, May 27, 2010
THERESE RAQUIN(1953). Director: Marcel Carne.
Therese (Simone Signoret) has a boring life married to her cousin, Camille (Jacques Duby), and waiting on him and his mother (Sylvie), when into their shop comes handsome truck driver Laurent (Raf Vallone) who is attracted to Therese even as she is struck by his virility. The two begin an affair, and wonder how they can have a life together when Camille is in the way. This adaptation of Emile Zola's novel plays more like cinematic James Cain, and while Carne is certainly no master of suspense, the film still holds the attention without ever really sizzling. Vallone, Duby and Sylvie offer very good performances -- the picture is nearly stolen by a blackmailing sailor -- while the icy-cold, passionless Signoret eventually heats up a bit near the conclusion. Overall, Therese Raquin is no better than Hollywood movies on the same theme and is probably not as dramatic or entertaining as some.
Verdict: Warmed over Zola with some appeal. **1/2.