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Irene Wagner, the wife of prominent scientist Albert Wagner, finds herself blackmailed about her affair by her lover's jealous ex-girlfriend. The plot, an experiment in causing fear, drives her into a rage.
In winter of 1938, Paris is crowded with refugees from the Nazis, who live in the black shadows of night, trying to evade deportation. One such is Dr. Ravic, who practices medicine illegally and stalks his old Nazi enemy Haake with murder in mind. One rainy night, Ravic meets Joan Madou, a kept woman cast adrift by her lover's sudden death. Against Ravic's better judgement, they become involved in a doomed affair; matters come to a crisis on the day war is declared.Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
This could have been a much better movie. Boyer's disenchanted, vengeful refugee doctor is excellent and Bergman's Joan, unable to commit or disengage, could have been a fascinating characterisation. But while individual scenes are very fine, the film, as a whole, is oddly disconnected, suggesting ruthless cutting. The sub-plot involving Laughton's porcine Gestapo bully is perfunctory and we get far too much of Calhern's emigre. Still, the black and white photography is impressive, and I rather went for the doom and gloom!
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