Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


Zero chemistry: Simone Signoret and Alain Delon
THE WIDOW COUDERC aka La veuve Couderc/1971). Director: Pierre Granier-Deferre.

In 1934 France an escaped prisoner, Jean (Alain Delon), encounters a middle-aged widow named Mrs. Couderc (Simone Signoret) and goes to work for her. The widow is hated by her in-laws, who live nearby, and is herself not too found of the young unwed mother, Felicie (Ottavia Piccolo), who runs around with her adorable baby in tow and catches Jean's eye. Jean and the widow begin an improbable relationship that has people in the village gossiping, and the in-laws out to expose the truth about Jean. Since few people wanted to see French sex symbol Delon [Joy House] carrying on with the now matronly and chubby Signoret [Games], the two are only seen in bed together once, when they are merely cuddling. The acting isn't bad, but if the characters had been better developed this might have been more convincing. As a romance it doesn't work at all. This is based on a novel by mystery writer Georges Simenon but it is neither a thriller nor a suspense yarn. The final subtitles providing some more information about Jean are so badly translated that they make absolutely no sense.

Verdict: Another disappointing Delon feature. **.


angelman66 said...

Agreed, I will skip this one. This was the era when France did all those very boring bucolic farm pictures where nothing exciting ever happens! I believe Signoret's husband Yves Montand did one like this around this time, and it too was a snooze.

William said...

Very funny comments, Chris!

Dealt said...

I certainly disagree with the verdict. It is after all Alain Delon and Simone Signoret. There was a man who has been imprisoned for years. He is not really escaping, he is taking a last taste at life. He is working to feel his muscles he is feeling flesh and being loved. He is loving the old woman and the young. Was he in love with the old woman? I would not believe that, but he is a man without a future. He has no idea how long he has and he is feeling the sun on his face, before he Thelma and Louise...,but not.

William said...

Interesting comments, Dealt. But just the fact that Delon and Signoret are in the movie doesn't automatically make it a great picture, at least in my opinion. I wish the characters had been better developed, along with the storyline. Sometimes a film strikes a particular chord in a viewer that makes the film seem better than it is -- I've no doubt thats happened with me at times.

But in any case, it's all subjective anyway. This film didn't work for me, but it worked for you so you probably enjoyed it a lot more than I did! Good!

Thanks for your comments!