|Index||2 reviews in total|
If you're looking for something like "le boucher" or "les cousins" ,please
pass by.It's Chabrol's second period ,between his promising debut ("le
Serge" "les cousins" "à double tour" ) and his golden age ("que la bête
meure";le boucher").To set the record straight "Marie -Chantal contre
docteur Kha " is commercial stuff.It was obviously intended as a spoof on
the James Bond movies which were at their absolute peak at the time,when
Sean Connery ruled.Marie Laforêt -who is also a singer but here she does
sing- portrays a false bubble head girl,much smarter than her enemies -and
allies - think she is and she's both gorgeous and efficient.A bevy of good
actors support her:Bunuelian (!) Francisco Rabal,Serge Reggiani,Roger
-François Mitterrand's brother-in-law-,and as the villain,Akim Tamiroff
hams it up as hell,halfway between Fu -Manchu and a SPECTRE member.But
should also note Stephane Audran's presence :she was Mrs Chabrol at the
time,and she would be the star of his best movies ("le boucher" "la femme
infidèle" "la rupture" "les noces rouges" "Violette Nozières"...)as well
Bunuel's "le charme discret de la bourgeoisie" and Axel's
portrays Olga ,a false widow .Claude Chabrol ,in the grand Hitchcock
tradition,appears as a barman.
All these people are searching for a jewel,a panther with ruby eyes ;its secret is not very original .
This is a movie for Chabrol completists.If you're not,there's much more interesting in this director's uneven but interesting career.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
These mid-1960s spy movies by Claude Chabrol are fascinating in two ways: a) because they were his training ground for his later, more celebrated films (he was already working with his favorite cinematographer, his favorite composer, some of his favorite actors, etc.), and b) because you can see a "pulpy" genre like the Eurospy filtered through Chabrol's arty sensibilities; both "Marie Chantal Vs Dr. Kha" and Chabrol's later "The Road To Corinthe" (his "Tiger" films with Roger Hanin, who also has a small role here, are less successful) are one-of-a-kind film experiences. And they both have strong, smart female characters at their center: here, Marie Chantal is thought to be a bubblehead by most people she encounters, but she is really quite capable in the body and quick in the mind; Marie Laforet plays her with a charm that is uniquely her own. The film is colorful and exotic, but action scenes are not Chabrol's forte, and the finale feels a little rushed - the movie introduces a number of intriguing minor characters, who are ultimately all dispatched offscreen. But if you want to see an arty Eurospy movie with a strong female lead, "Marie Chantal" is just the ticket. **1/2 out of 4.
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