Dead End

The Forgotten this week looks at IMPASSE DES DEUX ANGES, the one-hundredth and final film of revolutionary poet of cinema Maurice Tourneur. Thanks to La Faustin for the movie and translation — you can read her account of it here on Shadowplay, and mine over at the Daily Notebook.

16 Responses to “Dead End”

  1. I have seen copies of IMPASSE DES DEUX ANGES with subtitles for sale on a few sites.

  2. david wingrove Says:

    That opening image of the transparent lovers is so gorgeous you want to print it off and sell it as a postcard…thereby breaking copyright on so many levels you can barely count!

    I’ve often wondered if Daddy Tourneur’s relative obscurity is linked to his rather murky wartime role as a director at Continental Films. I’ve never seen the notorious MAMZELL BONAPARTE with Edwige Feuillere (complete with topless sword fight) but hope to one day.

  3. No sign of Mam’zelle, alas, but hopefully she’ll turn up at some point.

    Tavernier certainly seems to hint that the Continental years harmed MT’s rep. One can argue the ethics of collaboration forever, but it’s hard to judge the guy without having been in such a situation oneself. What I’ve seen of his work in that period was excellent, and the circumstances were certainly difficult.

    Peter, I’m pretty sure all those subtitles derive from La Faustin’s work.

  4. La Faustin Says:

    Wow, what a terrific way to celebrate Bastille Day!

    David, you leap gallantly to my defense (topless swordfight?), but googling reveals some subtitled DVDs (or just subtitle files) that seem to antedate mine. Let a thousand flowers bloom, if it gets this lovely oddity seen!

    Poor Maurice Tourneur was in bad odor in France even before the Occupation because he spent the FIRST World War in New Jersey at Pathé’s US studio and later became a US citizen (no idea why). I always felt the suspicion of the Meurisse character as a “spécialiste” from America was a sly nod …

  5. m,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, vbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

    Sorry, cat walked across keyboard.

    I applaud MT’s excellent judgment in avoiding trench-foot. And he was too old by WWII to have done much good in combat, but he helped keep the French film industry alive, which should count for something.

    Soon hope to write something on Forces Occultes, which shows what REAL Vichy propaganda looks like.

  6. It’s nice to at least read about M. Tourneur’s later French films. And of course now I want to go watch the end of BERLIN EXPRESS again. At least that I can do!

  7. Berlin Express is Jacques, not Maurice.

  8. True, but see the end of David’s review.

  9. I remember researching the date of MT’s accident to see if it lined up with Berlin Express, but I don’t remember what I found…


    It get weirder.

  10. That’s pretty weird! By the way, I got the Waldman book on Maurice, and it reads like he never saw any of the movies. Very strange, but almost every description of a film I’ve seen contains blatant errors, including the claim that FIGURES DE CIRE has the same plot as Leni’s WAXWORKS (which is described in great detail and has nothing to do with FIGURES DE CIRE) and a repetition of the claim that Josef von Sternberg and Maurice himself are actors in A GIRL’S FOLLY. Even if you haven’t seen the latter, a look at Sternberg’s autobiography debunks the claim that he acted in anything by Tourneur (whose films he admired).

  11. La Faustin Says:

    Waldman blithely states that “Impasse des Deux Anges” means “Dilemma of Two Angels.” I close the iron door …

  12. david wingrove Says:

    In all fairness, I think the French word ‘impasse’ does have two meanings. The fact that one meaning makes sense, while the other makes no sense at all…

    Great to hear from a fellow TWENTIETH CENTURY fan!

  13. La Faustin Says:

    It does, but “Impasse des Deux Anges” is an ACTUAL STREET IN PARIS and its street sign is SHOWN IN THE TITLE SEQUENCE, plus the protagonists GO THERE, so your suspicion about Waldman not seeing the movies is reinforced.

    Imagine me in white satin pajamas for the above, kicking petulantly.

  14. Of course, a lot of Tourneur films are hard to see. And many are lost, including his Lon Chaney Treasure Island (sob!). But I do feel an author is duty-bound to declare the fact that he’s been unable to see a film.

    Waitaminute, this book’s brand new? And the author also wrote books on lost films and unreleased films? Uh oh, looks like F Gwynplaine MacIntyre lives on!

  15. david wingrove Says:

    Could it be David Bret writing under a pseudonym?

  16. I like the idea that Froggy is behind it, but Waldman’s book isn’t brand new. To be fair, it was published before FIGURES DE CIRE had been rediscovered. However, he also makes errors about LAST OF THE MOHICANS, which has surely been the easiest of Tourneur’s films to see for decades.

    Okay, I’ll give the silk pajamas back to La Faustin now. The book does have some cool stills in it.

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