Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Madeleine (1950)

Madeleine is a bit of a strange film, and viewed by many as one of the very few blots on director David Lean's record.  I found the first part of the film really dragged, and the forbidden romance between Madeleine (Ann Todd) and Emile (Ivan Densy) wasn't helped by both of them overacting rather terribly in their first few scenes together.  Add in an over-bearing father and a young man who wants to marry Madeleine, and you have a sequence of contrived scenes which don't make you care much about any of the characters.

After half of the film devoted to this dreary love drama, the mood changes and suddenly it becomes a bit of a murder mystery, with the guilt or not of Madeleine never being completely indicated (and the awful end scene has a narrator directly asking Madeleine whether she's guilty or not, at which she sort of smirks at the camera... ugh).  However the final quarter or so of the film, in the form of a courtroom drama, is really quite compelling and cleverly written.

The curious hotchpotch of film styles doesn't really work and the flat characters and performances, don't help, but for film buffs Madeleine may nevertheless be worth watching purely for the art direction, which is fantastic.  Purely as entertainment though... I'd probably give it a miss.

CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog


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Mauricem said...

Yeah, I notice a lot of movies back them focused more on the cinematography than anything else. Of course, in black and white it was easier to create a mood.

Mauricem said...

"Back them?" Engage spellcheck. LOL

CaptainD said...

I guess that's true, it was easier to create mood with b&w... pity the stunning art direction here wasn't backed up with a better film!