My Gleanings

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cahiers and Georges Lautner -- 1960-1967

In France, in the early 1960s -- glory days of the New Wave --, Georges Lautner was the young director who most exemplified the idea of les films de scenariste. Not simply did Lautner exemplify this but also he often worked with Michel Audiard a screenwriter who had clashed with the "young turks". While inventorying Jacques Rivette's record on the conseil des dix, I noticed that Rivette had on a few occasions rated Lautner films at two stars. A two-star rating on the conseil meant "to see" and for a film meant to be just commercial, that would have to be considered something of a complimentary. I decided to explore Lautner's experiences with the conseil des dix.

La Mome aux Boutons

This film was not reviewed in Cahiers. Its release in Paris was noted in the December 1959 issue with the comment,
A rather sympathetic enterprise. There is a sort of eccentric freedom in the way Lautner, in a 28 day shoot, attempted to save an unsavable comedy.”

Marche ou Creve

This film was not reviewed in Cahiers. The June 1960 issue noted its release and commented,
The story of a secret agent who wants to quit the trade, despite friends or enemies. Stoutly encumbering. A lot of ideas, a little humor, some verve, some invention. Lautner often enough attains his target to leave us waiting with a great deal of interest for his next film."

In the conseil des dix, Jacques Rivette and François Truffaut both gave the film two stars while Eric Rohmer and Luc Moullet both abstained.

Arretez les Tambours
This film was reviewed in the March 1961 by Michel Delahaye. It read in part,
In brief, Lautner is not yet the French Sam Fuller that some have called him. But the comparison is not absurd, The spirit as well as the style of “Arretez les Tambours’" is not without evoking the far-away Fuller. Fuller’s foes are Lautner’s foes, both having the reproach of “confusionism” heaped on them.”

Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, and André Labarthe each gave the film one star in the conseil des dix.

Le Monocle Noir

This film was reviewed in the October 1961 issue by Michel Delahaye. Quoting from that review.
Lautner is here at ease which was not the case for his preceding film. He owes this to a less sensational subject, (But he would be capable of tackling such subject, exactly on the condition of not considering them sensational) to a crew more homogeneous and more flexibe, knowing exactly where he is headed and how to persuade everyone to go in a bloc in the same direction.

In the conseil des dix, Jacques Rivette, Eric Rohmer, Jean-Luc Godard, and Michel Delahaye all gave the film two stars.

En Plein Cirage
This film was not reviewed in Cahiers. Its release in Paris was noted in the May 1962 with this comment,
Starting with a detective story which is worth as much as any other, Lautner, who seems to be ill at ease, renounces playing his game and treats the subject with contempt and he treats the subject with an unequal verve to a cascade of effects and winks of the eye which, if they do not save the film, permit him, however, to show that he has decided not to let himself be imposed on.”
This film does not appear to have been considered by the conseil.
Le Septième Juré
This film was not reviewed in Cahiers. The June 1962 issue noted its release in Paris and commented,
With this film, which is built on all the worst conventions of French cinema, falls dead into the trap from which he had extracted himself in “Arretez Les Tambours”. Some very dull wiliness of direction (and two shots borrowed from Orson Welles) aggravate things even more. Pierre Laroche’s dialogue is worse than ever. The trial is one of the most boring and false that ahs ever been shown on film."


In the conseil des dix, Louis Marcorelles gave the film one star. Michel Delahaye, André Labarthe, Jacques Rivette and Jean Douchet all bulleted the film.

The December 1962 issue of Cahiers du Cinema was dedicated to the New Wave. One article provided a filmography, a capsule biography and for some a capsule critique for young French directors.
Lautner’s critique read:
A sporadic talent, capable of transforming assembly-line scripts into films promising (“Marche ou Creve“) and then successful (“Arretez les Tambours”); breeziness, sizzle, imagination, here is the young director who can give French cinema what it most lacks -- commercial production which, within its own conventions, would be revived by the scrappiness and masked ambition of the filmmaker.
Unfortunately, Lautner has not yet learned how to disengage himself from the ruts of our worst tradtion. “Arretez les Tambours” often becomes entangled there and “Le Septième Juré” never leaves it. Unable, we’d say, to sniff out some of the traps or to acquire the power to avoid them, maybe, he should surrender with more confidence to the small shrewd genius which is dormant within him
L’Oeil du Monocle
This film was not reviewed in Cahiers. The January 1963 issue noted its release and made this comment.
“Returning to a genre and a style which profit him more, Lautner greatly works on and develops the tone, the types, and the tics which made the first ‘monocle’ film successful. And another success is certain. Lautner lines up a series of scraps of derring-do, which at least, had they been used in a detective story ten years ago would have led to shouts of “Genius”. But it is also worrisome: You sense complaisancy rising. You wonder if Lautner will not settle comfortably into the cushiness of exploiting this into a complete factory.”
In the conseil des dix, Jacques Rivette and André Labarthe gave the film one star. Jean Douchet abstained.

Les Tontons Flingueurs
Not reviewed by Cahiers. The film’s releease in Paris was noted in the February 1964 issue with the comment,
“The misadventures of a thief who has retired with his automobiles who is called one to once more be an imtimidator by executing the last wishes of a minor crime boss. A congenial re-bottling of comfortable series films in the Gabin style. (Audiard let’s himself go) Smooth work, perfect actors but Lautner uses the parodic tone developed since ‘le monocle’ to freely. Clever flashes of mischieve might show his true way.“
Jacques Rivette and Jean Douchet both gave the film one star.
Des Pissenlits par la Racine
Reviewed in the May 1964 issue of Cahiers by Jean-Claude Biette. That review said in part,
“I say out loud, paradoxically, “Des Pissenlits par la Racine” marks the triumph of intellectual over commercial cinema. This film, which almost everyone leads us to beleive is only a commercial “product”, plays its own game and finds itself - for better or worse - face to face with its own veritable proposition.”
Michel Delahaye gave it three stars.
Jacques Rivette gave it two stars.
Jean-Claude Comolli gae it one star.
Jean Douchet bulleted it.

Le Monocle Rit Jaune
This film was not reviewed in Cahiers. In November 1964, on its sortie in Paris, this comment was recorded.
“In stringing out the monocle, Lautner does anything, pleasantly, if you will, but anything. See with your eyes, listen with your ears, the traditional tricks receive a new coating, the routine remains. But with Lautner it isn’t necessary to worry that this film fails, the next will be better. At least, let’s hope so."
Jean Douchet gave the film one star.
Jacque Rivette and Michel Delahaye bulleted it.
Jean-Luis Comolli abstained.

Les Barbouzes
This film was reviewed in the February 1965 issue by Jean Narboni. A quote from that review,
“From on film to the next, what is clearly to be remarked in Lautner’s work is a quite original will to mix preciosity with truculence, intellectuality with commerce, the jousting of gangsters with esthetic refinement, the strains of a harpsichord with the click of a “silencer“, in sum to detail the settling of accounts in an atmosphere “gallant feast”."

Jean-Louis Comolli and Jacques Rivette gave the film two-stars.
Michel Delahaye gave it one star.

Not reviewed in Cahiers but this comment by Michel Delahaye appeared to not the films release in Paris.
This is what defines the merits and limitations of the film. The merits: on one side, the totla absence of cynicism and immoralism. demystifactors and, on the other side, a few scenes well come upon, well started and well elaborated. The limitations: The sceanrio-support is too much or not enough constructed and at the heart of that “Galia’ is free too much or not enough. In brief, Lautner continues to be a filmmaker of some beautiful flashes (most on-key to here in “Les Tontons Flingueurs”, the result of having found his ideal scenarist-accomplice."
Michel Delahaye gave the film two stars.
Jean-André Fieschi and Jean-Louis Comolli gave the film one star.

Nous Ne Fâchons Pas
Also not reviewed , Jean-André Fieschi wrote this comment on its release.
With Lautner, it will now be convenient to speak of mythology. From Lino Ventura to Mirielle Darc, passing through the more and moreesoteric dialogue of Michel Audiard, all the constitutive elements of this mythology are meticulously indexed and exploited. “Nous Ne Fâchons Pas” indicates three new ideas: The setting (the Côte d’Azur ) the scope-color (not beautiful) and an anglophobia channeled by an army of young britishers on motorcycles with guitars... Lautner nevertheless has an advantage over his sad brethren of appearing to amuse himself a little. He, alone, takes parody (of Grisbi, Bond, westerns or Richard Lester) seriosly, which obviously is not serious."

La Grande Sauterelle
No full review in Cahiers, however, a mini-review by Jacques Bontemps in the “films sortis à Paris” in the February 1967 issue read,
“”Galia” formula disposes in a manner Lelouch. As Lautner is not made for this variation, one endures watching him whirl endlessly around from his “lovers” to the desperate search for a lyricism that is steadfastly refused to him. This is most dreadful, for it is dreadfully conceived, written, acted and directed. But in the lower world, the misfire is often more attractive than the success."
This film earned bullets from Jacques Bontemps, Michel Delahaye, and Jean Narboni from the Cahiers regulars. This is one of the few films to earn nine bullets from the conseil. Only Michel Aubriant of Paris-Presse gave it one star.

La Pacha
Another film not reviewed by Cahiers, its release was noted and commented on, thusly
“In fact, ‘La Pacha’, prepared with quite a different screenplay was to have been set on a ship. (Whence, the title, which is what the captain of a ship is familiarly called.) Having not been able for a variety of reasons to do this, Lautner found himself with a most Godardian obligation, to improvise in a few days. Beginning from an abandoned novel, the results are not dishonorable."
This film was not considered by the conseil.

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Anonymous mrbelette said...

It's "Ne Nous Fâchons Pas" not "Nous Ne Fâchons Pas"

25/11/13 16:24  

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