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.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Jean Seberg trio
IN THE FRENCH STYLE is a charming entry in the American Girl in Paris stakes by Robert Parrish in 1963, from Irwin Shaw stories. Jean Seberg is quite charming here going from naïve young girl to sophisticated woman of affairs before giving it all up for domesticity with an American doctor (played by one of my favourite writers James Leo Herlihy, author of All Fall Down and Midnight Cowboy, among others). Stanley Baker is one of her lovers so cue lots of meetings at airports and a decadent party that prefigures the one in DARLING. Its an interesting American take on the international film scene of the early '60s and Seberg's iconic place in it.
MOMENT TO MOMENT in 1965 is a glossy romantic thriller by old hand Mervyn Le Roy (his last film in fact) set in the South of France and is a fabulous treat to see now at this remove. The first half is lushly romantic as Jean drives around Nice in her snazzy red sports car, sporting a Yves St Laurent wardrobe that would still be the height of chic today - she is a bored wife whose (dull) husband Arthur Hill is away on business, and she gets romantically involved with a sailor on the loose - Sean Garrison, a bit wooden but does what is required of him, ie - he fills out his uniform nicely. Jean resists at first but ... add in Honor Blackman [just after her stint as Pussy Galore with James Bond] as the maneater next door and the stage is set for some fireworks. Then it turns into a Chabrol-like thriller with a missing body, police on the prowl, the return of the husband and the missing body. It is though all nicely worked out, a lot of it studio bound, but nice locations too. Jean is perfect here and its a perfect mid'60s treat. Great Henry Mancini score too .... it deserves to be much better known and would be a much better chick flick now than some of the current examples.
THE ROAD TO CORINTH (LA ROUTE DE CORINTHE) is real Chabrol - an amusing thriller in sunny daylight as Jean looking lovelier than ever and Maurice Ronet chase after some McGuffin all over Greece, in 1967. It is nice to see Jean at this period, after BREATHLESS and LILITH before things darkened for her.
Jean was "the girl from Marshalltown, Iowa" as I remember reading as a child, when discovered by Otto Preminger for ST JOAN, she is marvellous as Cecile in BONJOUR TRISTESSE (my comments on it are a few posts back here), now if one could only see missing items like her husband Romain Gary's THE BIRDS COME TO DIE IN PERU.... Like Romy Schneider's, Jean's is one of the more fascinating careers in international cinema.