26 décembre 1953. La Passant Cinéphile sort de l’Astor les yeux encore tout embués de larmes. The Bigamist signé Ida Lupino vient de lui briser le coeur. H.H.T. avait donc raison. Ce film est à voir toutes affaires cessantes.
Critique d’époque :
« Filmakers, Inc., the independent outfit masterminded by Ida Lupino and Collier Young, already has shown a penchant for such somber, unorthodox themes as illegitimacy, rape, maternal ruthlessness and pathological vagrancy, with an estimable batting average. The Bigamist, starring Edmond O’Brien, Joan Fontaine and Miss Lupino, who directed, had a paradoxical Yuletide première at the Astor, examining possibly the most ticklish subject, in Filmakers’ best offering, to date.
The picture is notable on two counts, primarily for the singular perception and skillful compactness, extending from Mr. Young’s script down to the least significant bit player. It also ascertains, if further proof is necessary, that a low-budget in adult hands can outstrip the most spectacular commercial tonnage.Contrasted to the usual panting tabloid exposé, Filmakers’ case seems a markedly genteel criterion for evaluation. While the story, relayed in flashback to an adoption investigator, is framed in a sternly objective scolding, this particular dilemma happens to stem from one man’s altruistic pity. Or so it would seem.
For quibbling’s sake, it’s hard to fathom why a realistic road salesman, whose flourishing business has been partnered for eight years by a casually adoring wife, should annex secret martyrdom by legalizing his pregnant mistress. This rather naive nobility also applies, latently, to both ladies, and the incidents of deadlock and discovery are calmly devoid of any sound and fury.We have, in short, the perfect format for the soap opera of them all. However, under the Filmakers’ aegis, there emerges a small miracle of transformation. For if a specialized triangle is merely posed in an inconclusive frame, the protagonists make up the most persuasive trio of marital victims in a long, long time.
Mr. O’Brien, as the focal commuter, again displays one of the most authentic, inconspicuous acting talents in Hollywood. As the business-minded spouse, Miss Fontaine conveys some good, sleek sensibility. Edmund Gwenn, as the investigator; Kenneth Tobey, Jane Darwell and the rest of the small cast are equally credible.
But The Bigamist belongs to Miss Lupino, and in more ways than one. This fragile director keels the action with such mounting tension, muted compassion and sharklike alacrity for behavior detail that the average spectator may feel he is eavesdropping on the excellent dialogue. And as the decent, wistful waitress, Edmond’s Other Wife, her performance glowingly underscores the real text of her picture, to wit, an insidious point of no return for the lonely« . Par H.H.T. pour le New York Times.
Je suis en parfait accord avec le sieur H.H.T. Le sujet entre d’autres mains que celles de Lupino aurait pu se transformer en naufrage. Il n’en est rien. D’une justesse et d’une humanité confondante, la réalisation d’Ida Lupino est sensationnelle. Et l’interprétation est de grande qualité. Sur ce chemin, je vous suis H.H.T !
Pour retrouver l’intégralité de ma chronique de Bigamie, c’est ici.