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Peau d'Espion


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Peau d'Espion


1967 : Peau d'espion
To Commit A murder
d'Edouard Molinaro
Avec Senta Berger, Edmond O'Brian & Bernard Blier.
Dans le rôle de Charles Beaulieu




L'histoire. Ancien d'Algérie dans le besoin, Charles Beaulieu accepte deux missions. La première est commanditée par l'un des chefs du contre-espionnage qui lui demande d'empêcher un savant français de partir en Chine. L'autre est proposée par la charmante Gertrud, qui lui demande de faciliter le départ dudit savant...




Plot. Charles (Louis Jourdan) is a writer who falls for Sandra (Senta Berger) in this routine spy story. Sandra talks the writer into helping her stop her husband from kidnapping a nuclear scientist and delivering him to the Chinese.




Review. 4,4/10. Does it deserve such a low rating? Frankly, no. There were, in the wake of James Bond, so many dismal spy thrillers that you've got to be kind to "peau d'espion". Anyway, it's not James Bond style : no gadgets, no high budget. The plot might repel some, since it remains almost indecipherable till the scene between Jourdan and Berger in the car at night. And it's an hour before it shows up. But, although implausible, - like 99% of the spy thrillers anyway - the story makes sense and features good actors: handsome Louis Jourdan, the French lover par excellence (he did a lot of work in Hollywood), gorgeous sexy Senta Berger, veterans Bernard Blier and Edmond O'Brien. Sometimes looks like a poor man's "torn curtain" if you take China instead of USSR. It's a far cry from it, but, once again, it's passably entertaining stuff.
A rather unpleasant scene nevertheless : a very unfriendly look at long-haired boys ; and they said they were all hippies!




Movie Review
by Roger Greenspun
The New York Times
(January 15, 1970)

SUMPTUOUSLY but sloppily mounted, elaborately but carelessly plotted, Edouard Molinaro's "To Commit a Murder" serves mainly to show that good material can't keep a bad director up. With a subject worthy of Hitchcock and with a cast potentially better than Hitchcock's in his superb "Topaz," Molinaro has flattened each character into a type and sought in each situation the most unleavened form of cliché.





The story concerns a down-at-heel Parisian writer (Louis Jourdan) who finds himself tempted (Senta Berger), bullied (Edmond O'Brien) and virtually ordered (Bernard Blier) into spying on a personable scientist slated for abduction into Communist China. The scientist (Maurice Garrel), who happens to be a Marxist, wants to go, and the writer finds himself torn by opposing personal, political and ideological loyalties at the same time he is forced to choose between conflicting interpretations of apparently straightforward events.





The ambivalence of motives and the idiocy of espionage — concerns that should have been central to the film—are lost in dull compromises and steadfast assertion of patriotic platitudes. "To Commit a Murder" takes certain stands by the way—for example, firmly against long-haired youth and equivocally for middle-aged philandering—but it never aspires to investigate the complications inherent in its several points of view.





Made in France, "To Commit a Murder" has been dubbed into English—sometimes by the actual actors in the film and sometimes by that mysterious pool of dubbers whose voices we have often heard before and which I should be happy not to hear soon again. They speak English like over-trained, exhausted social climbers whose sexual preferences are indeterminate but whose attitude is always universal disdain.





TO COMMIT A MURDER, directed by Edouard Molinaro; screenplay by Mr. Molinaro and Jacques Robert, based on the novel "Peau d'Espion," by Mr. Robert. Photography directed by Ray Le Moigne; music by Jose Berghmans. Produced by Alain Poire. At neighborhood theaters. Running time: 91 minutes. (The Motion Picture Association of America's Production Code and Rating Administration classifies this film: "M—suggested for mature audiences.")








Senta Berger & Louis Jourdan