The Bluebeard of Happiness

No sooner have I finished typing my new year’s resolution to catch up on more films by the late Chabrol, than CineMoi, a cable channel devoted to French movies, runs LANDRU, the avuncular M. Chabrol’s black comedy treatment of the infamous Bluebeard case. Now, I don’t pay for CineMoi at present, due to the habitual tightfistedness of the Scot, and the man who isn’t too sure where the next paycheque is coming from, but it’s free for two months, as a special promotion, although my cable provider is sabotaging that by assigning it such a low bandwidth that every movie looks like a broken mosaic viewed by a myopic housefly.

Despite this considerable handicap, the movie shines, and so I decided to stretch a point and feature it, as a less-celebrated Chabrol, as the subject of this week’s edition of The Forgotten.

11 Responses to “The Bluebeard of Happiness”

  1. Arthur S. Says:

    It’s only recently I became aware of how great an impact MONSIEUR VERDOUX had on me. It was the first Chaplin movie I saw, on the MK2 DVD edition(and Chabrol’s interview with Bernard Eisenschitz on the second disc is terrific as he describes Chaplin’s visual style and one camera movement which he finds humbling as it displays a mastery no one can achieve). That film really shook me in a very challenging way and made me forget about old-fangled notions of old films or classics.

    I’d love to see Chabrol’s film. I also plan to catch up with his films as part of my new-year’s-resolution. He’s a major master of French cinema and what I like is that his chosen material being dried-in genre plots and stories, he re-calibrates these stories with real terror through visual style, framing and editing. He’s super-Brechtian in that regard.

  2. We had a 2 month trial of CineMoi a while back and saw lots of good stuff, but, like you, have failed to subscribe. It did make me want to catch up on all that I’ve missed, which I’m managing to do via Love Film (in between Clone Wars movies, that is … 7 year old son), but catching up on Chabrol is going to be a pretty major task!

    To change the subject entirely, I wanted to mention that ‘Dean Spanley’ is, at long last, available as a region 1 DVD. Miramax bought the rights and never did give it a US cinematic release, but at least they’ve sort of played fair by releasing a DVD. It’s also available at Netflix and Starz.

  3. Haven’t seen this one in a great many years, and forgot that Melville and Queneau were in it.

    With or without a beard Denner invariably looks passing strange.

  4. unfortunately, not translaated

    Landru</a<

  5. unfortunately, not translated

    Landru

  6. Tom, that link just refuses to work. Maybe just paste the address?

    Just enjoyed Marie-Chantal Contre le Docteur Kha, which has Denner in brownface. Chabrol seems to delight in messing with his peculiar appearance.

  7. Sorry, David C., once more…
    Landru

    This one, I couldn’t resist….

    Landru

  8. Wow! And wow!

  9. david wingrove Says:

    The great obscure Chabrol for me is still ALICE with Sylvia Kristel. The more famous ‘classic’ ones I honestly don’t like very much, apart from LES BICHES…one of the all-time great exercises is ‘lesbian chic’.

    MARIE CHANTAL sounds truly tantaliising. Is the lovely Marie Laforet in that one? I know she did a couple of films with Chabrol around that time.

  10. In the ad, the waltzing figures are a nice touch. Bizarrely, none of the owners’ names is Landru…..

  11. Yes, Marie Laforet is Marie-Chantal, and very lovely she is.

    I guess the chocolatiers must’ve thought “Nothing says chocolate like an infamous serial killer.”

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