Now With More Than 3000 Reviews! Go Nuts - Read 'Em All!!

WELCOME! Use the search engines on this site (or your own off-site engine of choice) to gain easy access to the complete MAKSQUIBS Archive; over 2500 posts and counting. (New posts added every day or so.)

You can check on all our titles by typing the Title, Director, Actor or 'Keyword' of your choice in the Search Engine of your choice (include the phrase MAKSQUIBS) or just use the BLOGGER Search Box at the top left corner of the page.

Feel free to place comments directly on any of the film posts and to test your film knowledge with the CONTESTS scattered here & there. (Hey! No Googling allowed. They're pretty easy.)

Send E-mails to MAKSQUIBS@yahoo.com . (Let us know if the TRANSLATE WIDGET works!) Or use the Profile Page or Comments link for contact.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

LEON MORIN, PRETRE / LEON MORIN, PRIEST (1961)

Best known for gangsters & existential hitmen, French auteur Jean-Pierre Melville’s two films set during the WWII occupation took almost four decades before opening Stateside. His revelatory Resistence pic, ARMY OF SHADOWS/’69, got more attention, but this adaptation of Béatrix Beck’s Goncourt-winning novel is equally successful. It’s a clear-eyed look at a charming, handsome young priest who can’t help but win the hearts & souls of the town’s lonely women. He’s chaste with his spiritual charges, but in Jean-Paul Belmondo’s hands, he also seems fully aware of the devastating physical effect he’s making in his well-cut priestly cassock. The main relationship develops between Belmondo and Emmanuelle Riva’s secretarial teacher who comes to mock the man after reluctantly baptizing her daughter (just to be safe), but stays the course for intellectual discussion, surging religious belief & displaced sexual yearnings. Melville brings a startling technique to the film, ably abetted by Henri Dacaë’s rich b&w lensing, but it’s his view of how life goes on amid war’s circumstance that gives this film its special flavor. (*CORRECTION-11/04/14: A third WWII occupation story from Melville, his recently restored debut pic, SILENCE OF THE SEA/’49, about a German officer with a love of French culture billeted in a country home.)

DOUBLE-BILL/SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Most of those Deleted Scenes on your DVD Extras got chopped for darn good reasons, but this new Criterion edition has a shocking, and shockingly good, outtake that sees Belmondo’s priest offering tacit approval for an upcoming hit by the local Resistance. It certainly adds complexity to his character, perhaps too much. Melville would return to this theme, brilliantly, terrifyingly, and to the suggested moral conundrum in ARMY OF SHADOWS.

No comments: