Interrupted viewing. It's a damn stylish film though, merging European cinema sensibilities with the USA. Effectively, it's a family comedy - with a murder in the background. While performances are great, I was surprised by the fact that there was a love twist, and feel that it was irrelevant. Watch for the family drama - NOT the leading couple. Could this be the most annoying child actor of all time?
A thrilling and offbeat noir with some memorable scenes and standout performances. The threat of a mother's daughter being exposed and implicated in a murder, drives her to desperate measures and growing paranoia at the hands of one man, who is really controlled by another. Blackmail is a dirty game, but in the end it's love that wins out in this wonderful thriller that has a very strong and climactic ending.
I think I saw this as a kid when there was nothing on TV sometimes other than old B&W films. I suppose it was seething with pent up desires at some point, but this has aged a LOT. Hard to access it now. Some rather bizarrely rapid developments and what seems like a badly edited ending. Another one from Mubi mainly of interest to film students and completist buffs.
Anodyne noir that leaves the viewer with more questions than answers, questions that are not chased in a hurry anyway. Characters' actions and motives are questionable from the very beginning and from that cornerstone on the viewer is soon lost for good, rummaging inside the popcorn bag, looking for lost change under the cushions, drowsily having another look at the watch.
It may be small in scale, but this is a fine little drama/noir that benefits from great central performances, not least from a typically wonderful James Mason. The script works well, the pacing ensures no dull moments, and the end result is what you would call a proper wee gem.
The title of this movie is so good and so apt. A really fun watch, great energy and great story. Fantastic music score. Who dunnit? God knows...and what about that cigarette holder?! The little mysteries of life continue. Blue Christmas tree you say...this film needs putting in colour for that alone. !
Never been a big fan of Ophul's work - usually more style over substance I've always thought. Anyway, revisiting this (must've seen it last at least 20 years ago) I found that I enjoyed it a lot. Maybe the subtleties of the screenplay were lost on me before.... Still don't really believe James Mason's change of character though. I think I need to give Ophul's other work another look.
It's all about the boat house. Improbable plot made semi-plausible by Joan Bennett always prim in twin-set and pearls and James Mason as a cod Irish hoodlum with romantic intentions trying to do several right things. Why are American male adolescents so loud and obtuse? Why do American female teens have to do the wrong thing?
Establishment of a style language, not exactly from a director/author, but of the studios and the industrial production of a certain narrative scheme, the North-American classicism of the 40s. In this "all-powerful" language is constantly lost the idiosyncrasies of more particular authors, like Ophuls, that fulfill with supreme elegance an indistinct exercise of suspense.
Una película que a grandes rasgos no logra generar grandes expectativas. Lo mejor que pudo haber hecho Ophuls era quedarse en el cine de intriga (aunque este no sea su género por excelencia). Sobre la madre de familia abnegada en medio de una encrucijada moral. ¿Cómo saldrá de esta? Ese era el dilema. Lo cierto es que Ophuls prefiere introducir el melodrama, uno que no posee la fuerza suficiente.
5.5/10. Impressed with Joan Bennett and her valorous, elegant character. But people like James Mason's character do not exist. With its middle-class family backdrop, this movie is an interesting—and, for all I know: quite original—variation on film noir themes. It could be more engaging, however, and it's generally not strong on plausibility.
Not sure why this has gotten such "classic must-see" treatment. Sure, the noir elements are there and the darkness of the film stands out; James Mason's performance is well done, and the cinematography is noteworthy, but other than that this film is pretty dull and melodramatic. I usually like the German-emigre directors like Fritz Lang and such, but this one is hardly Ophüls' best.