During the cold and rainy off-season a man (Gérard Philipe) arrives in a seaside town and, giving his name only as Pierre, checks into the only hotel which remains open. His arrival arouses curiosity and a degree of suspicion, as people note that he appears to know the area, yet gives no explanation for his presence at that bleak time of year in the dead-end town. The elderly mother of the hotel owner, now a mute invalid, shows signs of recognition but her condition prevents her from voicing what she observes. Pierre is treated with barely disguised petty-minded intolerance and hostility by the hotel owner, guests and habitués, but develops a friendship with Marthe (Madeleine Robinson), an all-purpose employee at the hotel. Pierre also notices a 15 year-old boy – employed as a dogsbody at the hotel, where he has been placed by the local state-run orphanage – who he has spotted engaging in rendezvous with Mme Curlier, a middle-aged female guest. His attempts to engage the somewhat surly and reticent youth however meet with rebuff.
The arrival in the town of Fred (Jean Servais), an oily and seedy character on Pierre’s trail, precipitates his fate. It transpires that Pierre’s interest in the orphan boy arises from the fact that he sees in him an exact reflection of himself at the same age; Pierre too was raised in the same orphanage and was sent as a teenage boy to work in this hotel, where he was picked up by a predatory older woman, a well-known chanteuse who offered him escape to the bright lights of Paris. Over time however, his gigolo-type lifestyle with the woman became increasingly sordid and degrading. —Wikipedia
Yves Allégret, (b. Oct. 13, 1907, Paris, France—d. Jan. 31, 1987, Paris), French motion-picture director who gained fame for his work in the “film noir” genre that was popular in the late 1940s.
Allégret began his film career working as an assistant to his older brother, the director Marc Allégret, and for Augusto Genina and Jean Renoir. Entering films during the 1930s and working with directors involved in the avant-garde in France during that period, Allégret was influenced by the impressionist and surrealist ideas that these directors expressed in their films.
Although Allégret created several early short films and commercials, he did not direct his first feature film until 1941. His best films, many of which starred Simone Signoret, included Les Deux Timides (1942; “The Two Timid Ones”), Dédée d’Anvers (1947; Dedee), Une si jolie petite plage (1948; Such a Pretty Little Beach, or Riptide), Manèges (1949; The Cheat), Les Orgueilleux (1953; The Proud and the Beautiful… read more
Just a superb film. Gerard Philippe is perfect in the lead. Jean Servais many may remember as the lead in RIFIFI. Somber in its ambiance, poetic in its melancholy. There is murder, and remorse. The sky is overcast, and the rain falls relentlessly. One has to be receptive to a film of this type, but as a noir it satisfies in ways where so many others fall short. If you like this film I suggest Hamer's The Long Memory.
It’s very interesting how this film is being attributed to the noir genre. It’s more of a psychological drama than a standard detective story shot through a doorway in a moon light. The film rather… read review