Truffaut said The Bride Wore Black was his homage to Hitchcock. A great homage it is, with that Bernard Herrmann score, murderous psychological ambiguity, bad things happening on warm, sunlit days and a complex -- and looney -- main character. Think of it as a black comedy with enough riffs on Vertigo to smile at. Just as importantly, while the film may be Truffaut's homage to Hitchcock, the film remains completely Truffaut's. It's one of his best, and features a wonderful performance by Jeanne Moreau as a woman whose husband is shot and killed as they're standing on the church steps just after they've been married. After recovering from the shock, depression and a suicide attempt, Julie Kohler decides to do something about the five men responsible. If you are unfortunate enough to hear the whispered words, "Je suis Julie Kohler," they will be the last words you'll ever hear.
Julie methodically checks off the names on her list as she finds ways to see that her version of justice is done. She may be obsessed, but she knows exactly what she's doing...and she is implacable. Jeanne Moreau, with those plump, downward-turning lips and puffy smoker's eyes, has never been better. Moreau is an extraordinary actress. She had features that at times could seem almost coarse, but then almost beautiful and certainly desirable. She had a strange fusion of intelligence which challenged and a vastly intriguing nature. I could easily picture her watching Casanova with those reserved, quiet eyes while he struggled to mumble self-consciously, "I love you." Moreau can do more with a stare, a look, a glance than just about any actress I know.
As much as the movie is a joy to watch, the last five minutes has a conclusion that is unexpected and completely satisfying. I think even Hitchcock would have had a smile on his face as he patted Truffaut on the back.
For those fans of Truffaut and Hitchcock, you may find of interest Hitchcock (Revised Edition) by Helen G. Scott and Francois Truffaut. The book covers the lengthy interviews Truffaut had with Hitchcock as they discussed Hitchcock's work and each of his films.
on 20 January 2014
Very simply, this is not one of Truffaut's greatest films, due partly to becoming quite dated. However, like all Truffaut movies, it is worth watching simply because Truffaut made it. As an Hitchcockian exercise it both plays tribute to and subverts the suspense thriller conventions on more than one occasion, which I will not reveal in detail (suffice to say it is usual to build towards greater tension as each murder occurs, not deflect the murderer suddenly as she moves in for the kill). Moreau is flawless as ever in terms of her acting, though by the time of this film's production both she & the director are stretching her physical beauty to the limit. She is no longer so captivating that all men fall under her spell and we are not so captivated that we accept this occurs. In short, two major cinematic stars create a minor film. Beware of this particular copy though; the transfer results in a rectangular black frame appearing around the whole image when played on certain systems, shrinking it to half-size onscreen. I have access to six different types of players; the frame appeared on three. Plays beautifully on my blu-ray player though.
on 24 July 2012
I had no idea of what to expect but Jeanne Moreau is an amazing actress.
I must admit i am a big fan of her, I wish I could buy "Balzac" in which she acted in her later years...does anyone knows if/where it is available, in French with English subtitles?
Back to "the bride wore black": i had no idea it was in fact a murder story which kept me on the edge of my seat till the absolutely unexpected end.
If you enjoy "murders" buy it and enjoy.