Dying of Neglect

Over at The Daily Notebook, I keep The Late Films Blogathon going with an edition of The Forgotten tackling a film which is triply a late work: the posthumous project of Max Ophuls, the penultimate film of Jacques Becker, and one of the last movies of star Gerard Philipe.

It shames me to say that in enumerating the many great virtues of this colossally moving piece, I neglected to mention composer Paul Misraki, an underrated fellow who wrote scores for Welles, Godard, Chabrol, Melville… Here, his woozy organ arpeggios take us spiraling down towards oblivion, a dreamy death…

5 Responses to “Dying of Neglect”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    What’s most fascinating about MONTPARNASSE 19 is the way the gorgeous but much-neglected Lilli Palmer almost steals it from such full-blown icons as Gerard Philipe and Anouk Aimee. Not that both of them aren’t marvellous – they are – but Palmer is an especially lovely surprise!

  2. She’s the character most full of contradictions, so she has a lot to work with. I agree she’s an underrated figure — she keeps cropping up here on Shadowplay!

  3. David Boxwell Says:

    I always ponder how Philipe’s career might have evolved with or aganist the New Wave in the 1960s. How would Godard or Truffaut or Rivette have used him? The Vadim version of Liaisons Dangereuses prompts this speculation.

  4. Indeed. I don’t think they’d have any trouble finding ways to use him, or that he would have had any trouble fitting in with them. He was politically left-liberal, even if like Godard he came from rightwing roots. And he certainly embraced a variety of styles of cinema during his too-brief career.

    The only barrier might have been some kind of reluctance on the part of the nouvelle vague to work with French stars from earlier, and their initial tendency to feature younger characters.

  5. A very nice piece, David. Before I settled on Curtiz, I was going to post my “Late Show” piece on “Le Trou,” which would have been a nice counterpoint, but I couldn’t get my hands on the Criterion DVD in time, and it’s been far too long to go from memory.

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