There’s Always a Price Tag + The Proud and the Beautiful

  • There's Always a Price Tag (1957)
  • There's Always a Pricetag (1957) - Michele Morgan
  • The Proud and the Beautiful (1953)
  • The Proud and the Beautiful (1953)
  • The Proud and the Beautiful - Michele Morgan

MICHÈLE MORGAN: celebrating the unique range of classic French cinema’s most luminous star, with Daniel Gélin & Gérard Philipe

There’s Always a Price Tag / Retour de Manivelle

6:30 PM: In There’s Always a Price Tag Michèle Morgan is a revelation as an icy wife who hatches a complex bait-and-switch scheme to collect insurance money after her embittered, alcoholic husband (Peter van Eyck) commits suicide. For the dough to be hers, she has to make it look like murder!

This film is a seminal entry in the “last wave” of French film noir that emerged underneath the vogue for American-influenced heist films. It represents the “Frenchification” of the British imitator of James M. Cain, James Hadley Chase, whose work comes into vogue in French noir in the late 50s (Une manche et la belle, Delite de fuite, Les canailles) and achieves its ultimate payoff in Duvivier’s 1963 masterpiece Chair de poule. (1957, dir. Denis de la Patelliere, 103m)

The Proud and the Beautiful / Les orgueilleux

8:30 PM: A doctor driven to deep drink by despair (Gérard Philipe) and the long-suffering wife of a disgraced official (Michèle Morgan) find themselves caught in a Mexican village during a raging typhus epidemic.

The Proud and the Beautiful might be viewed as Yves Allegret’s “corrective” to the flamboyant excesses in Henri-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear (1953), where the despair leading to danger is fueled not by greed, but by relentless remorse. Allegret takes the village setting so memorably depicted in Clouzot’s film, moves it to Mexico and turns it inside out, merging neo-realism, noir overtones and “impossible romance” into a film literally like no other. Morgan and Gérard Philipe are like moths trapped in their own flames, slowly flitting toward each other as their circumstances bottom out during a typhus epidemic.

Based on a discarded treatment by Jean-Paul Sartre, completed and shaped into a screenplay by veteran Jean Aurenche and Clouzot’s cousin Jean while consoling Allegret over his breakup with Simone Signoret, The Proud and the Beautiful is a unicorn in the still-mysterious French noir canon. (1953, dir. Yves Allegret, 103m)

The tenth in a series that began in 2014, THE FRENCH HAD A NAME FOR IT ’23 is a masterful mixture of newly rediscovered rarities and re-screenings of past festival favorites that exemplifies the unique programming touch of mercurial Midcentury Productions executive director Don Malcolm. FRENCH ’23 screens November 26-27 and December 3-4.

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3h 26m
2D Digital
In French with English subtitles