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.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Bonjour Tristesse

Staying with 1957 for now, I should have been at a screening of BONJOUR TRISTESSE last evening [part of the National Film Theatre's Deborah Kerr retrospective] but a knee injury intervened - apologies, Donal and Jerry (Timshelboy) - so its back to the dvd of this Otto Preminger classic, made in '57 for '58 release. That ace photojournalist Bob Willoughby was on the set (as he seems to have been on all the important-to-me movies of the late '50s, and he shot this classic shot of Seberg (above) and (botttom) best-selling author Francoise Sagan on set with Niven and Kerr.

David Niven plays a wealthy playboy, the father of teenaged Cecile (Jean Seberg). Cecile tolerates father’s girlfriends, particularly Mylene Demongeot, but doesn’t know what to make of the prudish Anne (Deborah Kerr), who will not cohabit with Niven until after they’re married. Feeling that her own relationship with her father will be disrupted by Anne’s presence and the plans for her further education, Cecile does her malicious best to break up the relationship, only to be beaten by Niven, who despite his promises of fidelity to Anne cannot give up his hedonistic lifestyle.
The combination of the daughter’s disdain and the father’s rakishness leads a fatal accident. Niven and Seberg continue pursuing their lavish but empty lifestyle, though both realize that their lack of moral fibre has destroyed a life, but was it an accident or suicide? The incestuous undertones of the original Sagan novel are only slightly downplayed in the film; the “tristesse” (sadness) is visually conveyed by filming the flashback scenes in colour and the opening and closing of the film in bleak black and white, as they drive and party around Paris - another Sagan best-seller "Aimez vous Brahms" filmed in 1961 as GOODBYE AGAIN is another bittersweet tale (which I must revisit) also with lots of driving around Paris by Anthony Perkins and Ingrid Bergman .... TRISTESSE is perfectly directed by Preminger with his SAINT JOAN star Seberg in her element here, Geoffrey Horne is her boyfriend, Juliette Greco sings the theme song "... my heart has no address, bonjour tristesse" in a nightclub and then the colour seeps in as the memories intrude ... Niven and Kerr are perfectly cast here, as opposed to their playing against type next in SEPARATE TABLES.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes!