FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT I find one of the most frustrating directors. Only his first brilliant success. "Les Quatre Cent Coups," seemed to engage his passion. Otherwise he is greatly gifted of course; and his movies unfailingly move, pass the time. But what has he to say'?
Even The Bride Wore Black ("A," Curzon), starring the great Jeanne Moreau, is hardly more than a minimelodrama or spectacle, trying with smart presentation to cover up. or divert attention from the banality of the matter presented. At first with some success.
Miss Moreau, emerging in white from a French provincial church. sees her bridegroom shot dead at her side. She reappears in a smart golden-brown bob and, wearing mini-ish black chiffon, she apparently embarks on the career of a femme fatale. Mysteriously she has discovered that the crucial shot was fired from a window opposite where five men were gathered to gamble.
Her first two or three encounters are certainly fatal to the men she traces so easily, whether she hurls one over a Riviera balcony or poisons another in the instantly suspicious dosage of arrak served neat by the goblet. There is a slight macabre fascination in the slick, mechanically coldblooded efficiency with which the determined Miss Moreau goes about her business. until we are told explicitly that that business is a simple vendetta. Thereafter we wait in vain for some surprise in the ten-little-nigger-boy formula
For me the only thing which kept the picture from disintegrating into total boredom and glossy emptiness until very near the end was the attractive and resourceful performance of Charles Denner as Miss Moreau's intended last victim,
As the artist Fergus, for whom she models amusingly as Diana the Huntress, Mr. Denner keeps just a fraction of curiosity ticking over. But it is never substantially satisfied. Coming from Truffaut and made for WoodfaIl Films, this Franca-Italian coproduction is a disappointment, though attractive to the eye.
The virtues of virility and toughness which Andrew (son of Victor) McLaglen in
herited from his father and which he has developed professionally in the Western school of John Ford, must have been exactly what was needed by the director of The Devil's Brigade ("A," Odeon, Leicester Square).
This is an absolutely straightforward, tough story about the training and exploits of Lieut.-Col. (later General) Frederick's (William Holden) special force composed of American misfits (like "The Dirty Dozen") and a crack unit of Canadian Scots, complete with kilts and pipes. The early scenes of rivalry in the camp sound serious echoes of the senior McLaglen's famous "Flagg and Quirt" First World War series. with Edmund Lowe.
When the brigade moves to the Italian front and the ultimate climax of taking La
Difensa by climbing the mountain's vertical North Wall. the action effectively inspires pride, if such an emotion is not out of date. Bored and sated as I am with war films, this seems to me an honourable job, with the Colonel counting the cost of his victory: restrained, admirable and even possible to enjoy, It also provides my coincidence, not of the week but of a fortnight. For the "Devils" red berets are immediately to be followed by "Green Berets" and, 1 only fear, by a whole new cycle of war films.
The ballet partnership of Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn is already a living legend well worth recording as handsomely as possible. The version of Swan Lake ("U," Royalty), filmed in Vienna, has choreography by Nureyev himself ("after Petipa and Ivanov"), Tchaikovsky's music by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, a corps de ballet of members of the Vienna State Opera Ballet, and sumptuous sets and costumes by Nicholas Georgiadis.
As, in spite of "The Red Shoes," no experiment has led to the development of real film balk rid as many
people can't t -I or can't get the best st it Covent
Garden from ch to see
these two grea ballet stars, this magnificent photographyrecording of the popular fairy story— all four acts of it—is a rewarding and acceptable substitute.