6.3/10
211
6 user 2 critic

A Certain Smile (1958)

Dominique, a law student at the Sorbonne, is engaged to a fellow classmate. Unfortunately, she's more attracted to his philandering Uncle Luc, who's married to the charming Francoise. Dominique and Luc begin a tawdry affair.

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Writers:

Frances Goodrich (screenplay), Albert Hackett (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Rossano Brazzi ... Luc Ferrand
Joan Fontaine ... Françoise Ferrand
Bradford Dillman ... Bertrand Griot
Christine Carère ... Dominique Vallon (as Christine Carere)
Eduard Franz ... M. Vallon
Katherine Locke Katherine Locke ... Mme. Vallon
Kathryn Givney ... Mme. Griot
Steven Geray ... Denis
Johnny Mathis ... Himself
Trude Wyler Trude Wyler ... Mme. Denis
Sandy Livingston Sandy Livingston ... Catherine
Renate Hoy ... Mlle. Minot
Muzaffer Tema ... Pierre
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Storyline

Dominique, a law student at the Sorbonne, is engaged to a fellow classmate. Unfortunately, she's more attracted to his philandering Uncle Luc, who's married to the charming Francoise. Dominique and Luc begin a tawdry affair.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A CERTAIN SMILE...That French girl's love-novel that shocked the world! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 September 1958 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Una cierta sonrisa See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first feature film of Bradford Dillman. See more »

Connections

Referenced in You Bet Your Life: Episode #9.33 (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

A Certain Smile
Music by Sammy Fain
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster
Sung by Johnny Mathis
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Uncertain Expression
1 July 2010 | by Chase_WitherspoonSee all my reviews

Attractive looking romance fails to engage, despite glorious landscapes, Parisian backdrops and an A-list cast including a faithful performance by an enchanting Joan Fontaine. Her apparently fading allure is causing her husband Luc (Brazzi) to philander, his attentions straying to the nubile Parisian college student Dominique (Carere). To add to the interlude, Brazzi is Bertrand's (Dillman) uncle; Bertrand in turn is enamoured by Dominique, chasing her tail all over Paris in spite of her rather aloof and distant behaviour.

At the intermission, Johnny Mathis steps up to croon the title tune, and thus introduces Luc's affections to Dominique. Bertrand, aware of her distraction, but not suspecting of his own uncle seems oblivious to Fontaine's subtle hints, her wisdom laboured over years of Luc's infidelity. The scenes in which Fontaine emasculates Brazzi for his adultery, and the one in which she coolly chides Carere's naivety are among the film's rare highlights. In essence, Fontaine steals this picture with her mature, dignified portrayal of a woman scorned.

Carere is lukewarm, the nuances of her character aren't conveyed in her stilted performance; Brazzi, at the opposite extreme lays it on too thick, like some hormonal Latin lover crying rivers of guilt and remorse as he laments the mutual attraction as some kind of perverse affliction. Dillman, in his debut picture, offers some resistance, but ends up a tragic cuckold. The remainder of the supporting cast (Franz, Locke and Livingston) are reliable if largely uninvolved.

Next to Fontaine, the French Riviera is the most attractive feature of this rather sterile soap opera - the sets, costumes, colour and sound are all assets, but the dramatic tone just doesn't hit the right pitch. Tepid, overlong and in the final analysis, disappointing. If, however (like myself) you still revere Fontaine, or, pine for the Paris lifestyle, this glossy magazine cover will be worth the time.


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