Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Movies Every Day 9: Spotlight on a Murderer (1961)

"Men who love glory, take care of your tomb. Sleep well there. Try to keep looking good, because you'll be there a long time."

Why I'm Watching

  • Pierre Brasseur is one of my favorite French actors. 
  • Directed by Georges Franju, who also directed another movie I enjoy, Eyes Without a Face (Les yeux sans visage), which also features Brasseur.
  • Writers Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, who wrote novels that were the basis for Les diaboliques and Vertigo, wrote the script for this picture.   

The Gist

Comte Hervé de Kerloguen knows he's dying so he puts on his Knight of Malta costume and hides himself away in a secret room so that his relatives have to wait five years to be able to inherit his fortune. The heirs stage a son et lumière based on a legend to raise money to pay for the upkeep of the castle as they search for their uncle's corpse, but one by one they are dying off.

Things I Like

  • While I was able to predict a few events, I was surprised by the reveal of the murderer.
  • The son et lumière was a show within a show and was quite entertaining, especially because of the unplanned parts. 
  • Cool shots of the castle.

Things I Don't Like

  • There is just not enough Pierre Brasseur in this film to satisfy me.

Interesting Moments

  • Comte Kerloguen takes a music box doll into his secret room behind the mirror with him to die.
  • Interesting shot of the family through the two way mirror from the dead Count's perspective as they talk about where he could be.
  • Edwige breaks out laughing during the funeral procession and Michelin shows up with her radio and plays a jaunty tune about death.

Memorable Moments

Love It or Leave It

Love it! It's a fun whodunit that is beautifully filmed. It is fascinating the way the murderer causes the deaths of the family members without actually killing his victims. I enjoyed the shots from the perspective behind the mirror with the Count, but also the times when family members were looking into the mirror, not realizing what was behind it. The plot to expose the murderer was unexpected, and the discovery of the Count was wonderful. The lively tune played during the funeral procession was odd, and I had to wonder what Christian whispered to Edwige to make her laugh. It's an interesting movie and I'd watch it again just for the beauty of it.

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