Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

2 French films from 1959:
Franju's EYES WITHOUT A FACE (LES YEUX SANS VISAGE) a poetic horror film aeons removed from usual horror fare. Brilliantly cast with Pierre Brasseur as the mad surgeon trying to graft a new face onto his daughter whose face was injured in an accident, she is the wonderful Edith Scob and has to wear a mask for most of the film. Juliette Mayniel is one of the girls - one watches the operation with fingers over one's eyes - and Alida Valli is perfect as his assistant with a new face of her own, luring girls back to their mansion. Full of those eerie Franju poetic moments, like watching the aeroplane in the sky when they are in the cemetry disposing of a body, or the weird beauty of the dove alighting on the masked daughter and that stunning last shot of her at the end.... it certainly deserves its strong reputation, with brilliant photography of the great Eugene Shuftan.

LES DRAGUEURS (or The Young Have No Morals) by Jean-Pierre Mocky, is a crisp black and white 1959 (so rather new-wavey) drama set in Paris by night, as Jacques Charrier (that pre-Delon leading man) and Charles Aznavour drive around Paris trying to pick up girls. The interest here is the girls who include starlets of the era like Dany Robin, Anouk Aimee has one good scene, but the biggest female role is played by England's own siren, Belinda Lee, who looks terrific here. Shot about the same time as Truffaut's 400 BLOWS it is another interesting look at Paris by night 50 years ago.

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