• Elena and Her Men

    Elena and Her Men

    French Cancan generally disappointed Renoir's fervent admirers. Not that the film seemed a failure, but it was somewhat below the director's usual caliber. And this was even more apparent because it adopted - simplifying it to an extreme - one of the themes of The Golden Coach (La Carrosse d'or): show biz.

    Italian comedy is one thing, Theater with a capital T, but the cancan? In making a plea for cabaret, Gabin also made a plea for Renoir, who had…

  • Les Étoiles de midi

    Les Étoiles de midi

    Is it our place to pass judgment on a work whose beauty - and quite a beauty it is - seems to be more sporting than cinematic in nature, which seems to fill us with admiration more for the model than for the art with which it is reproduced? My answer is yes, and for two reasons. The first is that cinema, as Andre Bazin demonstrated, invites us to revise formerly antithetical notions of art and nature. As for the…

  • South Pacific

    South Pacific

    If we judge by our usual criteria, this film is not worth much, even less than Sayonara, after which Logan's popularity plunged. Would the director of Picnic and Bus Stop be merely the least scrupulous of frauds? A patented imitator, delivering, on request, a designer product or a mass-produced one?

    Logan's first two films are worth about the same as certain Broadway productions. His fourth gives us a faithful copy of what must be the world's worst genre. The American…

  • Moby Dick

    Moby Dick

    From its beginning, Cahiers has followed the principle of critiquing "beauties." The critique of a film is ordinarily assigned to the one among us who finds the most arguments in its favor. There is no question of our abandoning this method which, believe us, is the most equitable.

    Some of our readers, however, have written to us saying that a disdainful silence is sometimes too generous and that certain "losers," especially those favored by the public, merit a more severe…

  • Vertigo


    Itself, by itself, solely ONE everlastingly, and single. - Plato

    We would have gladly pardoned Alfred Hitchcock for following the austere Wrong Man with a lighter work, more of a crowd pleaser. Such was perhaps his intention when he decided to bring the novel by Boileau and Narcejac, D'entre les morts, to the screen. Now, the esoteric nature of Vertigo, so they say, repelled Americans. French critics, on the contrary, seem to be giving it a warm welcome. Our colleagues…

  • Dreams


    Cahiers now will be a subscriber to Ingmar Bergman for a good long while, as Dreams inaugurates a series of more or less varied releases to take place over the coming months. We will certainly not complain about this, nor will the reader, whether provincial or Parisian. The year 1958 will be the year of Bergman for French audiences, just as 1953 was the year of Cinemascope. These two events have nothing in common, except their equal ability to enhance…

  • The Quiet American

    The Quiet American

    This is an admirable film and is well worth a change of opinion. He who says politique des auteurs, says loyalty, and it is certainly easier and more appealing to maintain faith in a man than in a system. This is why one should not be too surprised to see me take the opposite view of the one I expressed here earlier, concerning Les Girls. No film caused more ink to flow at Cahiers than The Barefoot Contessa, and yet…

  • Les Girls

    Les Girls

    There are roughly two kinds of films, just as in the French language there are two ways of forming words: scholarly and popular. Films, of course, do not necessarily have a label attached to their credits. Even if they did, we couldn't accept it as proof of quality. Given our theoretical standpoint - which, as we know, is one that places emphasis on the director - Cahiers deliberately ignores social prejudice. We pay no heed to those - and they…

  • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

    Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

    For a certain time, we considered Frank Tashlin's work as the culmination of the trend toward the new American comedy, as opposed to that of classical comedy illustrated by people like Capra, Lubitsch, McCarey, and La Cava, the many remakes of which persist in flowering the grave, only to make its death more apparent. Tashlin is new, yes, and even slightly decadent, or if one prefers, baroque. He enriches the arabesque of grimaces with a thousand spirals, grimaces that in…

  • The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz

    The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz

    Archibaldo de la Cruz has the good fortune to see someone else commit the crimes that an equally fortunate fate prevents him from committing himself. In a word, this is the story of the film that Luis Buñuel shot in Mexico three years ago.

    Like all well-told tales, this one leaves a respectably wide margin for interpretation. Are we to understand, very simply, as the author suggests in a brief passage - whose naivete is equaled only by the splendor…

  • Bigger Than Life

    Bigger Than Life

    Nicholas Ray has enough partisans among our readers for me to venture praising him without preliminaries. Yet I can easily see how his last film might be shocking in the eyes of those who demand a certain literary content in a cinematic work. Bigger Than Life is not a melodrama. If it were, defending it to certain people would be easier. I will therefore limit myself to pleading guilty; I will consider the style, and only incidentally mention the conventions…

  • Mr. Arkadin

    Mr. Arkadin

    The revolution brought about by Welles seems greater every day. Without him, as we said in the dedication to our Christmas issue, "the new American cinema would not be what it is." From Wyler to Robert Aldrich, through Kazan or Preminger, following a meandering but never entirely broken line, his influence has never ceased to obsess Hollywood. True, like Eisenstein, he is not the type that can be imitated, and with the help of time and ingratitude, the many errors…