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Portrait Of An Assassin

3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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(Apr 04, 2000)
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$224.59 $46.95

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Editorial Reviews

Carnival daredevil Fabius (Pierre Brasseur) is tired of his dangerous job and his nagging wife (Arletty), whom he jealously suspects of having an affair. A botched attempt to kill her accidentally wounds the seductive carnival owner, Catherine (Maria Montez), a woman turned on by reckless men. When he falls for Catherine, Fabius decides to stay with the carnival. But he still must deal with his troublesome wife, as well as Eric (the incomparable Erich von Stroheim), one of Catherine's former lovers, now hopelessly paralyzed. This international cast of film greats will keep you riveted to the last suspenseful scene of this murderous melodrama.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Maria Montez, Erich von Stroheim, Arletty, Pierre Brasseur, Marcel Dalio
  • Directors: Bernard-Roland
  • Writers: Charles Spaak, François Chalais, Henri Decoin, Marcel Rivet
  • Producers: Hubert Vincent-Bréchignac, Jacques Gauthier
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 4, 2000
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004S89A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,335 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Portrait Of An Assassin" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
aka Portrait of an Assassin (1949) aka Pasión Prohibida
(Drama, 1 hr 30 min, Black & White) S.E.L.F. - FRANCE
DIRECTOR: Bernard Roland
CAST: Maria Montez (As: Christina), Erich Von Stroheim (As: Eric), Arletty (As: Martha), Pierre Brasseur (Fabius), Jules Berry (Pfeiffer), Marcel Dalio (Fred)
COMMENTS: Christina (Montez) is the sadistic manager of a circus show, who uses her attractiveness to seduce men. But she only gives-up to them in exchange of promises of performing a dangerous acrobatic act in motorcycle which it could cause them the death or make them handicaps for ever, as it happened to several of her lovers. One of them, the unfortunate Eric (Von Streheim), who became handicap.
An evening, Fabius (Brasseur) met this diabolic woman and soon he abandons his wife because of Lucienne.
Then Martha (Arletty), Fabius' wife, with the intention of saving him, she shows up to the circus and performs the lethal acrobatic act, which it causes her death.
Due to the sacrifice of his beloved wife, Fabius understands at last that he has been manipulated by the evil Lucienne and he takes the decision of killing her.
After committing the murder and completely convinced that he is going to die, he rides the motorcycle for performing the dangerous acrobatic act, but miraculously, he survives and goes to the police to confess his crime.
This one was the second and last French movie of Maria and she was more successful and seductive than ever before.
In this occasion, and by the first time, the critics said her performance was adequate and she demonstrates she has some worthy elements.
Even the French critic, André Bazin, famous by his merciless comments, he admitted that Montez was not so bad in this movie. Other critics were more specific by saying she was the appropriate actress for this role.
This movie was projected in the U.S. only in the art theathers.
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Format: DVD
If, like me, you spend your lazy hours watching Erich's performances in obscure B movies hoping every so often to find the gold, this movie pays off pretty well. Erich's performance in this film is small, but extremely moving, and deserves to be extracted from the rest of this silly movie and placed in that great Erich von Stroheim highlight video that every EvS fan would love to see someday.

The cult of Stroheim is a difficult one to follow. Its practitioners must sift through countless hours of old film in the hope of catching a glimpse of the real Stroheim, somewhere amid all the mutilation and the mediocrity: a woman making love to a bed of gold coins, a simpleton left to his fate in the middle of Death Valley, a convent girl presiding over an orgy in an African brothel, a brutal bully just as brutally murdered by an orangutan. If social taboos had not stopped him, he would have been the Moliere of the 20th Century. In this film, near the end of his career, we see this intensely proud artist, now old, actually caring enough about some crummy role to actually cry real tears for it. Worth seeing for any Stroheim fan.
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Format: DVD
Maria Montez, a sultry temptress who achieved fame in the Forties, was no better an actress in French than she was in English. During WWII, garbed in wisps of gauze and wearing tons of flashy jewels, she undulated her way through a series of highly popular flying-carpet adventures filmed in Technicolor and co-starring the likes of Jon Hall and Turhan Bey. When WWII ended her Hollywood days gradually came to a close. By 1949 she and her French husband, Jean-Pierre Aumont, had settled in France. Montez made six films in France and Italy before dying in 1951 at age 39. She had a heart attack while bathing and drowned in her bathtub. Nowadays, I suppose, she is mainly remembered because of her popularity among men who like to dress up and pretend they're Judy Garland, Carol Channing and...Maria Montez.

This French drama is ripe to the bone. The storyline -- a man lured to his doom by a heartless woman -- is older than a bag of moldy croissants. In an odd way, it's sort of fascinating to watch because of the overwrought melodrama the director, a fellow with two names who liked to be billed as one name, Bernard-Roland, pours over the proceedings. The result is 86 minutes of what we presume Bernard-Roland thought was French existential angst. There's the same inevitability we see with an over-confident carpenter who hits his finger several times with a hammer. The movie isn't much good, but it's oddly watchable.

Montez plays Christina de Rinck, the beautiful, cool owner/manager of circus acts. She specializes in the dangerous ones that feature handsome men. Pierre Brasseur plays Fabius, billed as Fabius the Great, who runs his motorcycle around the walls in a wooden circle, faster and faster, with paying circus rubes watching over the top to see if he makes it.
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