La Chienne

Dir. Jean Renoir (1931). Idiosyncratic Michel Simon gives a bravura performance as a henpecked unhappily-married clerk led into a life of crime by his love for a prostitute. In his first great talkie, Renoir takes a simple melodrama and turns it into a complex major work of unsentimental naturalism, tinged with theatricality, one of his most durable pictures, creating characters rather than types. Fritz Lang remade two of Renoir's French films in Hollywood—this one as the fine noir Scarlet Street in 1954.
Tue., April 13, 6:50 & 9:15 p.m., 2010
 
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