Ribbeting

Robert Enrico is best known, I guess, for his adaptation of Ambrose Bierce’s An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, entitled LA RIVIERE DU HIBOU — this was adopted by Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and screened in a truly appalling copy, ruining some of the loveliest b&w cinematography you’ll ever see. It’s also part of a trilogy of adaptations of Bierce’s macabre Civil War stories by Enrico, otherwise comprising versions of The Mockingbird and the horrifying Chickamauga, equally fine.

LA REDEVANCE DU FANTOME is a TV episode by Enrico, based closely on Henry James’ A Ghostly Rental — Enrico evokes the “spiritual blight” hanging over an abandoned house by way of an electronically enhanced frogs’ chorus of ribbets and chirrups. Splendidly eerie. Presumably in an effort to fill a time slot, he drags every scene out to breaking point, alas, giving even the viewer unfamiliar with his source plenty of time to figure out the Scooby Doo twist, but there are splendid moments along the way, and Marie Laforet sings us out — here is your daily allotment of the sublime. Do not exceed the stated dose.

NB — this is, technically, a spoiler, I suppose, since it’s the end of the film. But it’s not a narrative spoiler, imho.

Marie Laforet — if you have enjoyed this, check out her version of Paint It Black on TousTube.

And buy her stuff — 1963-1969

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7 Responses to “Ribbeting”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    My God, isn’t she exquisite? Even that large mole on her back somehow manages to be ineffably chic.

    Marie Laforet is one actress who deserves to be far better known than she is. A refreshing contrast to all those ghastly women who’ve unaccountably become world famous…Keira Knightley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank, need I go on?!

    Any other candidates in either category?

  2. The more I see of Laforet, the more of an *AXIOM OF CINEMA* I realize she is.

  3. Hello–thank you for this write-up about “La redevance du fantôme” by Robert Enrico; I was not aware of this film until recently discovering it here on your lovely blog. As a fan of Henry James’ ghost tales, I was not aware that there was anything filmed whatsoever(!) of his short, “The Ghostly Rental,” so this comes as quite a delightful surprise. Unfortunately, I am not able to locate this film for purchase, so far as I can discern, but would love to add it to my collection. Do you know where I could perhaps find a copy of this film? Apparently this was a TV film, correct? I would appreciate any kind of feedback/information that you know (perhaps a place to purchase the film, or even a box-set of the directors’ shorts, etc. or whatever it may be–I am very familiar with INCIDENT/OCCURRENCE AT OWL CREEK BRIDGE, by the way, which is just plain brilliant, and even Hitchcock loosely adapted the story for one of his programs on Alfred Hitchcock Presents.)

    Wonderful blog, and thank you in advance for any feedback!

  4. I’ll email you!

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