Things I read off the screen in MONSIEUR RIPOIS

After a one week hiatus to allow for Cannes film fest activities, The Forgotten is back over at The Daily Notebook. Our subject is MONSIEUR RIPOIS, whose 1950s London setting allowed for plenty of intriguing signage for me to note when I wasn’t staring in disbelief at the beauty of Natasha Parry and Gerard Philipe. One particular image, a TV shop called Drazin’s, caused me to contact author Charles Drazin (In Search of The Third Man) on Facebook to ask if he was by any chance related to the proprietor. He was! The store was run by his grandfather, who ironically didn’t like films at all.

Neat poster! That could almost be Alec Guinness.

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17 Responses to “Things I read off the screen in MONSIEUR RIPOIS”

  1. Cairns, sorry about off-topic, but did you ever get to see LA NUIT DU CARREFOUR? I saw a post from Shadowplay from 2008 where you mentioned it.

    Our little group saw it the other day, in subtitled glory, and we were all impressed, to varying degrees: I would go so far as to say it’s one of Renoir’s greatest films, which is tight company indeed.

  2. I’m hoping to run my new subtitled copy very soon, and might even stretch a point by featuring it in The Forgotten once I do. A very alluring report from Comrade K has whetted my appetite.

  3. La nuit du carrefour is a great film. It stays pretty close to the Simenon novel. I’d love to know what became of Winna Winifried. She plays Else in the film. She brought a nice touch of sensuality to her role. La nuit seems to have been her last film.

  4. La Nuit was her FIRST film — I suspect Peter may have glanced at the list and read it backwards.

    I just watched the film. She’s (1) very sexy and (2) very modern.

  5. Turtle! There’s a turtle in the film!

  6. The dress-/scarves-flinging tirade near the end just about nailed my heart to my skullcap.

    The whole film has a detached-from-specific-era feel, not an uncommon Renoir sensation. Experienced it recently (a few weeks before LA NUIT) with DR. CORDELIER, a film that could’ve been shot on 16mm b&w stock yesterday morning, or 1906, or something.

  7. True. Cordelier is especially time-warped, insisting on its modernity via the TV stuff, then insisting on its antiquity via everything else.

    The turtle is awesome.

    I think I’m going to work up some kind of comparison to Vampyr, which is the only film it seemed to resemble much.

  8. After the screening, someone aptly suggested it resembled a cross between THE BIG SLEEP and VAMPYR.

    Did you watch with subtitles?

  9. Yes. Isn’t there supposed to be a reel missing, or is that now reinstated? It’s such an odd film it’s hard to know if it’s complete or not.

    (Just read up on this — three reels of rushes lost, so it had to be assembled by Renoir without the missing material. I had erroneously thought footage had been lost from the final edit.)

    I think film history is partially moving out of its capitalist phase, via all this illicit fan-subtitling etc. And a good thing too.

  10. Howard Curtis Says:

    According to the version I’ve read, two (rather than three) reels were mislaid by Jean Mitry (who played a small role in the film and was later to become a critic) on the way to the laboratory. There is another version, put about by Simenon, that Renoir was drinking heavily during the making of the film (his first marriage was breaking up at the time) and simply forgot to shoot some sections of the script. (But on another occasion, Simenon told an interviewer that Renoir was unable to film all the script because the finance ran out.)

  11. I got the three reels story from Godard’s piece in the Bazin book. He blames Mitry also. I’d be very interested in Renoir’s own account, if any.

  12. I can’t accept the Renoir-was-drunk version. It’s a film that operates from within a cloud but……… Cairns can attest, even a simple shot is harder than it looks. To come to work soused, you risk having the crew quietly rebel and shoot as they please, and the chances of emerging with a distinctly Renoirian work diminish infinitesimally. Perhaps I am overstating the achievement but I don’t think that I am.

    If you are cutting together a feature, regardless of whether it’s early sound or not, and you lose a reel or two, or three, it likely will feel like an utter catastrophe. But you still have post to deal with, and magical things CAN happen in post. Looks to me like they did.

  13. I can’t understand how anyone can direct under the influence, but Peckinpah and others have proved it’s possible. But I agree that Renoir’s film world seems delicate enough that a lack of focus from the filmmaker would likely prove fatal.

  14. Christopher Says:

    Mr. Memory!..How far do I have to walk to buy a Television in Hampstead??

  15. Arthur S. Says:

    Renoir’s memoirs blame Jean Mitry too. But neither Godard or Renoir are too unhappy about it.

    If the print is good and the subs decent, axe me another please…

  16. It’s a fine print, considering age, and they’ve done a terrific job with the subtitles. When there characters swear or insult each other, they’ve gone for a very British form of vulgarity, which amused me.

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