His first film in color, it's a lively thriller, the very first of his bourgeois family melodramas (cf. LA FEMME INFIDELE, QUE LA BETE MEURE, LA RUPTURE, et al). It's a youthful film, and Chabrol encourages outrageousness in many of the performers. Jean-Paul Belmondo (as an anarchic guest of the family) disrupts every scene he's in; Mario David and Bernadette Lafont mug for the camera in hilarious fashion (Lafont, in particular, can't seem to deliver her lines without some facial contortion to let you know that this maid is fed up with the family she's working for). There's a great deal of emotion in this film, far more than in his more polished work, and the emotions aren't just expressed, they burst out, often in jagged spots. Lafont is very luscious here.
|Stephane dances and how!|
My friend Jorge has some nice comments on this quirky classic and its fascinating actress Bernadette Lafont (RIP label):
What an actress! I loved some quirky little touches in 'Les Godelureaux', Brialy's sensuous apartment, with flying pigeons, Persian carpets, and its greatest decoration: his very efficient "valet"! And the nearly palpable sense of macabre fun Chabrol has in casting Stéphane Audran as a burlesque danseuse - at a charity auction -, and even more so, a blink-you-miss cameo by Juliette Mayniel, as a nun!, drooling over Audran's performance!! Perhaps these bits and set-pieces - the juxtaposition between the Roman Orgy and apartment destruction, with the formal dinner at the restaurant, another example - are more memorable and sustain themselves better, than the whole, but it's a fun (occasionally uncomfortable, disquieting too) ride.