Les Liaisons Dangereuses
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That's certainly the case here, a smart, fast tightly-wound adaptation of Chaderos de Lalcos' 18th-century novel of lust and cruelty (and an attempt by de Lalcos, a rather reactionary Catholic, to indict the decay he thought that free-thinking and a lessening of religious faith had brought to French society). No version of this material can completely overcome the original material's sexism and misogyny (only modest, submissive women could be "good" in de Lalcos' eyes), but with intelligence and sensitivity, the characters can be complicated and deepened. And I suspect that even free-thinking atheists enjoy the spectacle of Valmont and Merteuil getting theirs . . .
One of the nice twists of this version (written by Vadim, Roger Vailland, and Claude Brule), is that de Lalcos' villainous pair are now married, although the rest of the plot is pretty much as before; Merteuil (Jeanne Moreau) angry at being dumped by a lover before she could get around to dumping him, asks her husband to seduce and ruin the innocent girl (Jeanne Valery) that she has been dumped for. While off on this, er, mission, Valmont (Gerard Philippe) meets a kind and virtuous married woman (Annette Vadim) and vows to have her. Eventually, both the virgin and the married woman are seduced, but complications spring up; for one thing, the younger woman is truly in love with a young man her own age (Jean-Louis Triginant) and Valmont genuinely falls in love with the married woman, and vice versa.Read more ›
There are some very good touches: Valmont's break-up letter to Tourvel -- which, in the novel, he copies verbatim from a letter Merteuil writes to him -- becomes a telegram dictated by Juliette. This is also the only film adaptation of the novel which preserves the theme of Merteuil's disfigurement and "her soul turning out on her face"; the novel's smallpox becomes a fire in the film. The final image is very arresting. But it's not enough to make up for the scant characterization and the other flaws of this film.
It's not the best transfer, but it may be the best SD transfer it receives in region 1. So, it you are a fan of French cinema, of black & white films, or films about relationships, you owe it to yourself to watch "Les Liasons Dangereuses".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Although Thelonious Monk is my idol, I did not know until recently after reading, "Thelonious Monk," by Robin D.G. Read morePublished on November 25, 2013 by warparty
I loved this film. It is a loose adaptation of the De Laclos story but worth seeing for it's fantastic actors: Jeanne Moreau and Gerard Philipe. I recommend this movie.Published on May 23, 2007 by G. Gregorio