A psychiatrist, desperate for money to keep his faltering practice running, makes a deal with a spy to hide a mysterious person in his clinic in return for a million francs. As soon as the ...
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A psychiatrist, desperate for money to keep his faltering practice running, makes a deal with a spy to hide a mysterious person in his clinic in return for a million francs. As soon as the deal is struck his place is overrun by spies from both East and West, all in search of a renegade nuclear scientist. The psychiatrist's own sanity starts to break down as he submitted to unmitigated surveillance and deception. Written by
So ahead of its time it remains indecipherable today.
This is HG Clouzot's most ambitious work ,one of the most demanding and complex movie of a soon-to-be -nouvelle-vague France.Let's put it straight:although modern to a fault,"les espions" has nothing to do with the nouvelle vague:no ""free" camera here",a bunch of "old actors", a very elaborate screenplay.The problem is that it has nothing to do with the "old guard" either.The "story" flouts conventions,and HGC does not give a damn if his audience cannot catch up with it.The film was bound to be a commercial failure,particularly with an audience who got enthusiastic over "le salaire de la peur'(wages of fear) and "les diaboliques" .
The starting point may recall "the diaboliques": in this latter work,a seedy boarding-school;in "les espions" ,a doctor short of the readies,whose clinic is sinking.So why not gladly agreeing a mysterious man's proposal?One million francs,if he puts "them" up?Who are "they"?That's how the doctor's(Gerard Sety) nightmare begins.He is caught up in the system,and a lot of threatening characters (played by topnotch international actors:Curd Jurgens,Martita Hunt,Sam Jaffe)begin to show up:every time he thinks he begins to understand,the truth eludes him-Gérard Séty 's character predates Laurence Harvey's in "the Mandchourian candidate" and even Michael Douglas's in "the game".HGC watched the spies as if they were microbes under a microscope.It's a rather unpleasant view. Vera Clouzot-the unforgettable heroine of "les diaboliques" - appears in the role of a deaf and dumb neurotic woman(She was to die of an heart attack three years later).
Clouzot 's health began to deteriorate during the sixties.After "les espions" he was to make only two works "la vérité"(the truth) one of Brigitte Bardot's best parts and "la prisonnière".He made only 11 movies in all,which may not seem much,but most of them are among the best works French cinema has produced.
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