Une si jolie petite plage

Yves AllégretFrance91 minutes1949PGB&WFrench

Jul 27
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The term "buried treasure" might have been invented to describe this wonderful noir, one of the moodiest mysteries imaginable. The "beautiful little beach" of the film's original title may be so in summer but is certainly not in the off-season, when the bone-chilling rain of the northern French coast seems incessant and the sand dunes remain desolate. Gérard Philippe plays a secretive stranger who takes a room at the local hotel and quickly arouses the suspicion and enmity of the staff and the other inhabitants; his attempts to communicate with a surly, abused teenaged servant placed in the care of the hotel owners by an orphanage are brusquely rebuffed. The fates of these two men become increasingly intertwined when another interloper arrives, an insidious Parisian (Rififi's Jean Servais) apparently on the trail of Philippe. Mysteries multiply as the various characters set traps for each other, eavesdrop on sordid goings-on, and hatch plans to blackmail, murder, and avenge. "Philippe gives a remarkably lucid performance of emotional tension and confusion" (The New York Times).