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FRENCH

ACTION/THRILLERS

NO HARM INTENDED (1989)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. Terrific thriller by director Alain Jessau! When Catherine (Nathalie Baye) is caught with her illicit lover by her father-in-law Paul (Michel Serrault), the concerned father leaves to tell his son Thomas (Francois Dunoyer) about the incident. Paul is injured in an auto accident and returns home in a wheelchair unable to speak. Catherine's guilt weighs heavily on her as she hopes to never let Thomas know she was unfaithful. She panics and seeks a way to eliminate Paul in this psychological thriller.

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RENDEZVOUS  IN BRAY (1971)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. Try to imagine a quiet blend of Jules and Jim and Gertrud filmed in color (the cinematographer is the great Ghislain Cloquet, who also did superb work for Demy, Bresson, Polanski, and Penn)and you’ll start to get some idea of the mood of this adaptation of a novella by post-surrealist writer Julien Gracq. Most of it charts a mysterious night in 1917 spent by a Luxembourgian pianist and music journalist (Mathieu Carrière) who’s been summoned by a friend, a soldier and composer (Roger van Hool), to his house in a Paris suburb. The friend inexplicably never appears, but the woman (Karina) who prepares dinner, whose identity is never clarified, eventually takes him to bed. There are also several flashbacks involving the two friends as well as the soldier’s girlfriend (Oger), a character who doesn’t exist in Gracq’s story.

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FANTOMAS TV MOVIE #4 (1980)-In French with english subtitles. The final part in the 4 part TV movie series starring Helmut Berger as the titular character. Directed by Claude Chabrol. Fantômas, in this fourth and final episode, continues his grim exploits in Vienna, Austria and the Kingdom of Transylvania. He kidnaps the King of Karpatek after strangling and throwing out of the window his young mistress Romy, recovers as ransom the famous red diamond in the crown of Transylvania, hijacks a tramway car, kills Mareike, Romy's young seamstress  with an infernal machine... Under various identities, Fantômas with his accomplice Grand Duchess Alexandra, aka Lady Beltham, continues to mystify those who stalk him and even goes so far as to have Juve arrested!

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THE STRANGERS (1969)-Letterboxed print. Director: Jean-Pierre Desagnat and starring Julián Mateos, Michel Constantin, Senta Berger & Hans Meyer. Film begins with a sleek heist scene, notable for its Melville-styled gangsters in their suits and skimpy-brim hats (including Mateos) as well as its ruthlessness. Mateos gets away with a bag of diamonds, which he plans to fence in Hong Kong, but after a well-staged car chase he ends up in the desert, finding refuge in the remote cabin of Constantin and Berger. Movie quickly becomes a war of wills -who will get and keep the upper hand. Constantin knows from press coverage that Mateos is the criminal on the run with the diamonds and he insists on splitting them 50/50, or else. Flies in the ointment are a dogged local sheriff Blade anxious to catch Mateos (well-played by Hans Meyer) and various hit men being dispatched by the Syndicate to get Constantin for a years-ago misstep on his part, which caused him & Berger to be hiding out.

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FLESH OF THE ORCHID (1975)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. A disturbed young woman is kept prisoner in a castle by her aunt for her money. The game-keeper, her guardian, tries to rape her but she escapes. In her flight she meets a man also running away, from two killers. Stars Charlotte Rampling who you may remember in the Night Porter by Liliana Cavani and yeah, she gets nude in this one too! Also her favorite form of self-defense in this movie seems to be slashing people right in the eyes.

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THE BLOODY PUPPET (1976)-In French with english subs. Director:Marcel Cravenne, Based upon two novels by Gaston Leroux. This would be "Frankenstein" if Mary Shelley were French. It tells a story about an ugly man who lives in the woods and is lynched for the death of a young girl. The town-folks believe this put an end to the dreadful disappearance of young girls that ravaged the area in the last few months. Meanwhile, a girl starts working in a strange manor, where she finds the true killer of the girls, and ends up being kidnapped. But before all that: her fiancée builds an automaton, the epitome of beauty, and the girl falls in love with the automaton; the ugly man, a nice and gentile servant, loves the girl and is the only one to know her secret love. So, when he dies, the girl's fiancée takes his brain and heart and puts it on the automaton. The servant becomes an avenger for his death, and the only thing that can save the girl from a certain death. As long as he winds up his coil. Cast: Jean-Paul Zehnacker ... Bénédict Masson, Yolande Folliot ... Christine Gaillard, Dominique Leverd ... Jacques Quentin, Ludwig Gaum ... Gabriel, Edith Scob ... Marquise de Coulteray. This is a 6 episode miniseries that runs 300 minutes. COMES ON 3 DVDS FOR $25

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FRANKENSTEIN A LOVE STORY (1974)-In French with english subs. One of the rarest versions of the Frankenstein legend you will ever see! Director: Bob THENAULT, Cast: Gérard Berner: Frankenstein, Karin Petersen: Elizabeth, Françoise Lugagne: The mother. Obsessed with the idea of creating life, Count Victor Frankenstein turned to science that he considers capable of generating a new man. He began, at first, to research on animals and cadavers much to the grief of his teachers and community leaders in Geneva. His family is also terrified by his experiences. Condemned to isolation in the mountains, he takes this opportunity to experiment on a human being ...

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JULES VERNE AND THE UNDERGROUND CITY (1964)-In French with english subs, B&W print. Director: Marcel Bluwal, Stars: Alain Mottet, Georges Poujouly, André Valmy. In 19th century Scotland, mining engineer James Starr receives a letter from his old colleague Simon Ford. Simon Ford and his family living in a cottage deep inside the abandoned Aberfoyle mine are asking for James Starr's assistance on a delicate matter regarding mysterious and unexplained happenings taking place deep inside the Dochart well of the Aberfoyle mine. James Starr and Simon Ford explore the mine and they discover a new vein of coal. This discovery revitalizes the whole mining community and leads to the creation of a great underground mining town around an underground lake called Loch Malcom. However the mysterious occurrences continue and they threaten to destroy the new found prosperity of the underground mining town.

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KISS FOR A KILLER (1957)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. Wow, what a great French Noir thriller! In Nice, the wealthy widow Betty Farnwell falls for the charms of a handsome young man, Philippe Delaroche. Mrs Farnwell is so taken with Philippe that she persuades her bank to allow him to manage her financial affairs. Philippe, an unscrupulous opportunist, is not slow to turn the situation to his advantage and within no time he is married to his wealthy benefactor. Philippe has barely grown accustomed to wearing a wedding ring when he begins a romantic liaison with his wife’s attractive secretary, Eva. It soon transpires that Eva is even more ruthless than Philippe...Directed by Henri Verneuil and starring hot stuff Mylene Demongeot, along with Henri Vidal and Isa Miranda.

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LUCKY JO (1964)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. Directed by Michel Deville and starring: Eddie Constantine : Lucky Jo, Pierre Brasseur : Chief Inspector Loudéac, and Georges Wilson : Simon. Michel Deville had begun his career with an average thriller:"Une Balle Dans Le Canon" featuring ,among others ,Brigitte Bardot's sister Mijanou."Lucky Jo" was a return to the genre, but with much better results. The cast was very good (Eddie Constantine-generally relegated to mediocre B-movies- Georges Wilson, Françoise Arnoul, and the Brasseurs , father and son),there was a nice score by Delerue and a good use of the wide screen. Although marred by two or three rumbles ,the screenplay is certainly smarter than most French films noirs of the time. In fact, one thinks of Jean Pierre Melville, without all his metaphysical pretensions and all the numerous tedious parts which the "Cercle Rouge" director used to bestow on his ecstatic audience . In "Lucky Jo" the characters hardly meet, except for the prologue when all their (illegal) attempts are failure .The villains work behind the scenes and the hero is alone most of the time ,or almost alone (since a dog becomes his mate).The Police seem to play a strange chess game ,and it is a joy to see Pierre and Claude Brasseur playing in the same film :to my knowledge, it is the only film when they portray the father and the son.

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MIMSY WERE THE BOROGOVES (1970)-In French with english subs. Mimsy Were the Borogoves was published under the name  Lewis Padgett, a pseudonym used by Henry Kuttner and and his wife C. L. Moore. Philippe and Sylvie live in a mountain hotel run by their parents. On leaving school, Philippe discovers a mysterious metal box in the snow, which seems to have literally fallen from the sky. It contains all kinds of wonderful and mysterious objects that he shares with his sister. Together they begin a tentative research on these unusual toys, creating a complex labyrinthine network in their room that functions as a door on the way...

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THE DOG (1962)-In French with english subs. In this extremely hard to find TV movie from 1962, Delon plays the role of "He", a nameless man who loves his dog very much. But the destiny plays funny jokes with us sometimes, so for one night our protagonist loses his dog and finds the love of a beautiful woman ("She", played by the gorgeous Elke Sommer).

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THE THREAT (1977)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. Director: Alain Corneau and starring Yves Montand, Carole Laure, and Marie Dubois, Dominique Montlaure owns a substantial trucking business near to Bordeaux, which she runs with the help of her boyfriend, Henri Savin.  Unbeknown to Dominique, Henri has been having an affair with a young Canadian woman, Julie, who is now pregnant with his child.  When Henri reveals his intention to end his relationship with Dominique, the latter retaliates with a vengeance.  After a violent argument with Julie, Dominique climbs to the top of a tower and jumps to her death.  When the police arrive on the scene, Julie is suspected of murdering her rival.  To save his lover, Henri fabricates evidence which will implicate him in the murder.  Once Julie has been cleared, his plan is to stage his own death so that he can start a new life with Julie in Canada.  Things do not go as planned.

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THE RAPTOR (1968)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. Vera Cruz, 1938. "Le Rital", a tough French hit man, agrees to serve Mexican revolutionaries who want to replace the current President by Chico, an insecure young bourgeois that they intend to manipulate. The killing of the President is to take place in a small town whose "great lady", Camito, is an alluring former thespian and the despot's mistress. Things go according to plan as the President commits the imprudence to come and see Camito without his escort. "Le Rital" just has to pull the trigger and his mission is achieved. But to no avail actually as the revolutionaries prove unable to take advantage of the situation. Worse, "Le Rital" finds himself driven to shoot at Chico(without killing him though) whereas he has become close to him. In the end he leaves Mexico for new adventures without anybody knowing that deep inside himself he is a broken man. Directed by Jose Giovanni and starring Lino Ventura and Rosa Furman.

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WEAK SPOT (1975)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. I am saving the best for last!! Greece 1974 - during the brutal era of the military government, an innocent tourist manager (Ugo Tognazzi) is accused of being a member of the illegal resistance movement. Two secret agents (Michel Piccoli and Mario Adorf) are bringing the innocent victim to Athens. During their trip, their car breaks down, and they're stopping in a small village. From now on, everybody is fighting against each other, and a psychological cat-and mouse-play is starting...Filmed shortly after the end of the military terror regime in Greece, WEAK SPOT is less a political thriller in the wake of Watergate and Co. but rather a well-done psycho thriller about terror, angst, obedience, torture and sheer naked aggression. The plot focuses on the three men, all brilliantly played by the Italian-German cast of Ugnazzi, Piccoli and Adorf, and the fast-pacing action of the second half of this movie and the surprising end makes this movie an outstanding European "Politthriller", directed by German Peter Fleischmann.

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HELLE (1972)-IN FRENCH WITH ENG SUBS, LETTERBOXED PRINT. Nice and sleazy film from Director Roger Vadim. Stars Robert Hossein ... Kleber, Gwen Welles ... Hellé, Maria Schneider ... Nicole. Haute-Savoie, 1951. Hellé is a young deaf-mute living among the mountains. She's ignored by everyone except, now and then, the local woodsmen, who use her for their pleasure. She has no education, no knowledge of right or wrong. One summer, a young man comes to spend the holidays in her village... The setting is a village in the High Savoy mountains, providing the film a stunning scenic backdrop. By contrast, the idyllic feel of early 1950s French rural life is torn apart by the reappearance of a returned -- and embittered -- French veteran of Viet Nam. Despair, eroticism, and suicide become the themes pursued by the film, whose impact is powerful. For Americans who thought they alone were scarred by Viet Nam, it is historical tonic.

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BYE BYE BARBARA (1969)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. Directed by Michele Deville and starring Ewa Swann, Bruno Cremer and Alexandra Stewart. A journalist meets a pretty, young woman in Biarritz and they fall in love with each other. Once they have returned to Paris the woman disappears mysteriously. A movie full of mystery and charm with characters who are mysterious as well. The atmosphere of the beautiful region of South West of France, and then Paris, gives another charming and pleasant background. The actors play in a very simple, sober yet full of feeling. It is a good movie to see and see again.

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MAN IN A TRUNK (1973)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. A beautiful and thoroughly modern young French women, Francoise, gets involved with an Israeli agent working in Lybia. The agent is exposed and in order to save his life, he has to be smuggled out of the country in a trunk ("valise"). Francoise and the agent get through a lot of turbulent adventures, in the process of which the thoroughly liberated young woman also seduces a Lybian agent and an Egyptian officer, who also fall wildly in love with here. Resolute Francoise stays in control of the situation and imposes a kind of peaceful coexistence on her three lovers. Directed by Georges Lautner and Starring Mireille Darc, Michel Constatine and Jean-Pierre Marielle.

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LE SCANDALE (1966) aka THE CHAMPAGNE MURDERS-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. UNCUT 106 MINUTE VERSION!! 10 minutes longer than the english dubbed version, this film can now be seen to have been the one to virtually inaugurate Chabrol's major period; it was actually made in conjunction with Universal, a studio with which his idol Alfred Hitchcock was still tied at the time and, to further stress that connection, he utilized one of the stars from the latter's recent work (Anthony Perkins in the first of two pictures he did for the French director). Apart from Stephane Audran – not to mention a glossy look (courtesy of the ubiquitous Jean Rabier) which was soon to become a trademark of the Chabrol style – the film boasts a number of other attractive females (including Yvonne Furneaux as Perkins' wife, whose lust for power proves her undoing, Catherine Sola as Ronet's tennis partner and, both as unwitting pawns in the game of murder, voluptuous artist Suzanne Lloyd and Christa Lang, who had previously worked with Chabrol three years earlier in his espionage pastiche THE TIGER LIKES FRESH MEAT and would go on to marry iconoclastic American film-maker Samuel Fuller). The plot in one sense is very simple. Furneaux runs a champagne concern, but Ronet has the copyright on the name. She wants to sell out. He resists selling his name. Perkins is the husband of Furneaux. He was not born to wealth. Ronet has had psychological therapy as the result of his being attacked while on a date in which his date was strangled by the attackers. He doubts his stability. When the first girl is murdered, he begins to doubt his sanity. When a second one is murdered, again while he was nearby, his doubts grow larger. Furneaux is quite willing to supply an alibi if he will sign over the copyright.

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THERE'S ALWAYS A PRICE TAG (1957)-In french with english subs. Based on a novel by James Hadley Chase. What do you do when you want to commit suicide but you have just had the suicide clause cancelled from your insurance contract ? Just ask your wife ! What do you do when the attractive new chauffeur surprises you in the process of distorting the truth ? Just make him your lover! But beware : even the most elaborate schemes can backfire ! First the screenplay :it's a model of film noir: the suicide clause was cancelled from Morgan's hubby's insurance contract .And he does commit suicide. Before dying, he tells her the only way to get the dough is to use the well known suicide and make it look like a crime. But you know ,they were not really in love and she had become the chauffeur's lover. The lovebirds will run into difficulties when they apply the husband's suggested ominous plan. Then ,the cast: Michele Morgan is wonderful as a gorgeous not-so-merry widow ;"I've always been bought" she keeps on saying. She is more than fed up with men. It's quite possible that sexual relations may become something loathsome to her. Daniel Gélin is as effective as a naive chauffeur .A superb supporting cast includes Peter Van Eyck as the "dear" departed ,Bernard Blier-strangely, his name does not appear in the cast and credits, but at the end of the movie, as a smart ironical captain, and Michèle Mercier in her pre-Angelique days.

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THE MAN WITH THE TRANSPLANTED BRAIN (1971)-IN FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBS.  Directed by Jacques Doniol-Valcroze and starring Mathieu Carriere, Jean-Piere Aumont and Nicoletta Machiavelli. Professor Marcilly is a famed brain specialist who, following in-depth and extended research work, is now able to perform brain transplant surgery. One day, he finds himself in the presence of a young car accident victim for whom the only hope of survival would be a brain transplant. Marcilly, who has a heart condition and is terminally ill, decides to become the "donor". The operation is a success. But who is actually the patient discharged from the hospital: a young fellow with the brain of a young man or an old man in the body of a young one?

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DUCHESS D'AVILA (1973)-IN FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBS. An epic six-hour adaptation of Potocki's The Manuscript Found in Saragossa.  Most famously filmed by Wojciech Has, this four part adaptation has the advantage of a vastly expanded running time, allowing for more of the novel to be incorporated >> shot on film, it was clearly a very expensive production and is equally spectacular in its own way. Directed by Philippe Ducrest. Starring Maistre, François / De Ré, Michel / Morel, Jacques / Blaise, Jean / Laurent, Jacqueline / Breal, Sylvie / Eyfel, Eveline. "The Manuscript Found in Saragossa collects intertwining stories, all of them set in whole or in part in Spain, with a large and colorful cast of Gypsies, thieves, inquisitors, a cabbalist, a geometer, the cabbalist's beautiful sister, two Moorish princesses (Emina and Zubeida) and others that the brave, perhaps foolhardy, Walloon Guard Alphonse van Worden meets, imagines or reads about in the Sierra Morena mountains of 18th-century Spain while en route to Madrid. COMES ON 3 DVDS FOR $25.

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THE GARDEN THAT TILTS (1974)-IN FRENCH WITH ENGLISH SUBS. The young hit man in this movie cannot bring himself to fulfill his contract on Katie (Delphine Seyrig), and for a little while the two have an affair. Even after their affair is over, he hesitates, which has dire consequences for the two of them. Directed by Guy Gilles and co-starring Sami Frey. This is an interesting film that the public and fans of Delphine Seyrig should seek out. She is given a substantial role and makes the most of it. The film is genuinely odd in that it feels like two unrelated tales; Karl (a hit-man) dispatches his victims coolly. Then he enters the tranquil world of Kate and falls in love, with tragic consequences. The film is beautifully shot and well observed, its complex characters interacting and developing. For no apparent reason Jeanne Moreau appears and sings a song by Stephane Grappelly. There are shades of Rohmer and painterly influences. The French countryside has rarely appeared lovelier. At times the camera simply lingers on a tree or glass which creates an atmosphere. The performances are terrific, Guy Bedos, usually a comedian, plays it straight here with great success. However, the film belongs to Seyrig, one of the most totally underrated and truly great actress' of theatre and cinema.

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