Tuesday, December 9, 2008
L'Enfer sur la plage (1965)
Jose Bénazeraf's take on the espionage film may at first seem typical of the genre---a sun-baked setting, beautiful women, raucous action, and a Sylvie Vartan song over the opening credits. But the actors (all unknowns) and direction ranges from understated to detached. The story---as far as I can tell---concerns the head of a gunrunning ring hiding out in his yacht with his wife and younger partner. They are being targeted by the MI5 and a terrorist organization. This is all a contrivance for Bénazeraf's camera to study women's faces. The two female leads are diametrically opposed, one a coquettish blond pixie, the other a more serious woman with darker complexion and thin nose.
The supporting actresses further the film's cool aura.
There is only one brief flash of nudity in this film, but several scenes of slow-burn eroticism. It's not the best introduction to Bénazeraf, but this rarely-seen early work is pleasantly diverting.