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, 22 December 2011

Another French rarity: La Fille Aux Yeux D'Or (1961)

A beautiful girl without a name...! WHO was the mysterious rival who kept her captive in a world of luxury?

THE GIRL WITH GOLDEN EYES - This routine film by novice director Jean-Gabriel Albicocco handles the subject of a relationship between women, set in the haute couture world of Paris circa 1960 - so it is naturally tres chic, though the story implies that if a man falls in love with a lesbian she can change her sexual orientation. Loosely based on a novel by Honore de Balzac, a skirt-chasing fashion photographer and "modeliser" who seduces models like the young Francoise Dorleac (while his friends listen as it is tape recorded) meets a mysterious young woman who captures his interest immediately. She is not wholly forthcoming, but after a period of time, he realizes that he is in love with her — she is not just another conquest. It takes awhile before he also realizes that she is the partner of his female associate who is possessive, at the very least.

Paul Guers is the attractive hero (he was in the Bogarde A TALE OF TWO CITIES as well as Demy's BAY OF ANGELS, Demy label), Francoise Prevost is the chic lesbian (she was also in the English PAYROLL with Michael Craig in '61, and the female part of the triangle in Griffi's IL MARE, in 1962 - review at Italian label). The Girl herself is the marvellous Marie Laforet, who dazzled me as Marge in Clements' PLEIN SOLEIL the previous year (see label on that...). Marie sings as well as acts and is still working now.

The drama here escalates as the three characters grapple, and a knife comes into play .... Chabrol did more of the same 6 years later with his popular LES BICHES, the first of his successful series with Stephane Audran. THE GIRL WITH GOLDEN EYES is photographed by the director's father, Quinto Albicocco, and must have been quite daring for its time. My friend Jorge advises that the film's director, Jean-Gabriel Albicocco, abandoned the director's chair in the early 70s to live in Brazil, he fell in love with the country, and opened several art cinemas in Rio and in São Paulo. This is certainly an oddity to see now.

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