The Black Book par A.W.

The Black Book par A.W.

17 octobre 1949. La curiosité du passant cinéphile est titillée par The Black Book, film noir au temps de la Révolution Française. D’autant plus que son traitement semble flirter avec celui du western, genre qu’il adore. Direction donc le Globe voir si quelques têtes vont tomber.

Critique d’époque :

« Since the events attendant on the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror were, to put it mildly, lively, the producers of The Black Book can hardly be blamed for choosing the period for purposes of filming. And, the period piece which clattered into the Globe on Saturday is simply good, old-fashioned action melodrama in which the horses, villains and the guillotine are not spared and which seems closer to standard Hollywood writing than it is to Thomas Carlyle. Suffice it to say that the derring-do is constant, hectic and familiar even if the history is obscure.

The point of departure in this cloak-and-dagger adventure is the theory that Robespierre kept his own doomsday book in which he listed all his candidates for the chopping block. The idea, of course, is for the opposition, led by a youthful and fearless disciple of the Marquis de Lafayette, to snatch that explosive dossier and with it expose the would-be dictator to the Convention. As has been noted previously, that trick is finally pulled off, not neatly perhaps, but not before quite a mess of double dealing, hard riding, sword play, fireworks, torture and soupçon of romance is thrown in.

The acting, obviously secondary in importance to the action, is notable, by and large, for the piercing eyes and grim determination of the principals. As the undercover hero, Robert Cummings is no exception to the foregoing. A stalwart lad, he liquidates the numerous dastards who turn up with speed and abandon and even finds time to rekindle the flame of an old love. As his romantic and political partner, Arlene Dahl is one of the most decorative conspirators ever to elude the tumbrils.

Richard Basehart is properly fanatical as Robespierre; Jess Barker is handsome as his conniving sidekick, Saint Just, and Arnold Moss is slickly evil as the chief of police who plays both ends against the middle to save his neck. However, despite the revolutionary declamations, powdered wigs and eighteenth-century costumes, the goings-on seem strangely reminiscent of the Old West. Substitute six-guns, chaps and the proper palaver and it could have happened deep in the heart of Texas« . Par A.W. pour le New York Times.

Une foule devant la guillotine

A.W. semble avoir apprécié cette délocalisation du film noir au temps de la Révolution Française. La réalisation, tout comme l’interprétation est bonne. Mais tout cela lui rappelle beaucoup trop le western pour être véritablement honnête.

Vous pouvez retrouver mon avis sur ce The Black Book ici.

Le Livre Noir est toujours disponible auprès d’Artus Films en dvd ici.

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2 réflexions sur « The Black Book par A.W. »

  1. Kirk Shaudys from the group The World Of Noir : « Also known as Reign Of Terror and starring Arlene Dahl in the middle of it all ».

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