Jump to: navigation, search

The Times (01/Aug/1968) - Truffaut à la Hitchcock



Truffaut à la Hitchcock

By John Russell Taylor
Film Critic

The one almost infallible way to enjoy the new Jeanne Moreau film is to put right out of one's bead the thought that Francois Truffaut made it. It is a lightweight film with no pretensions to doing anything but entertain, which it does very well, but in a nice, safe, old-fashioned way. From anyone else it would be delightful, from Truffaut it is really not good enough.

It has been suggested that it is the fruit of Truffaut's long period sitting at Hitchcock's feet to write his great book on the subject, and it may well be so. But in spite of the many echoes, particularly from Marnie, and the use of Hitchcock's own composer Bernard Herrmann, as a pseudo-Hitchcock it lags far, far behind the genuine article. The mystery of why Jeanne Moreau. in a succession of stunning rigs, is roaming round killing a number of total strangers does have a certain initial fascination. But Hitchcock would never make the mistake of telling us all — —one of them, during a card party, inadvertently shot her husband dead on their wedding day — —some way before the end, or not unless he had some other brilliant twist up his sleeve, which Truffaut has not. Nor, I think, would he be so careless as to leave us worrying about how she found out the truth when all the efforts of the police have failed

However, the film's failure to qualify either as good Truffaut or as good Hitchcock does not prevent it from offering a lot to enjoy. For one thing, it is very good Jeanne Moreau: she clearly has enormous fun playing the glamorous multi-murderess, more than a trifle tongue in cheek, and her first crime in particular, disposing of Claude Rich from a balcony with impeccable acrobatic timing, has just the right sort of Feuillade dottiness. The colour too is very pretty, and the film remains thoroughly watchable even to its rather anticlimactic end. Not something for any director to be ashamed of, certainly; what a pity it is not something of which Truffaut might feel positively proud.