Very cleverly made and beautifully acted. Unseemly title is hardly flavored enough to come up to the story, which was staged from the novel of the same name by Georges de la Fouchardiere at the Renaissance, a legit stand that specializes in sensational plays. The title word is meant to apply to a prostitute who drags down a man, and the story, sordid in itself, is shown in every sordid detail relating to each one of the principals – the prostitute, her man and the sucker.
It opens with the beating of a girl by her boy friend, who is shown throughout as living on her according to best traditions. This plus the extra inducement of a cashier robbing the till, a bedroom scene, not suggestive, but with the smell the only thing left out, a murder by stabbing done with sufficient delicacy to show the girl’s body lying on the bed and her blood staining the pillow, a courtroom scene ending in an innocent sentenced to death and the same innocent later being waked up in the death house to be led to the guilliotine, unquestionably constitute a pretty complete index of what is not for family trade.
Technically the film is practically a photograph of the stage version, with hardly any outdoor shots, but direction, photo and sound are good and continuity was planned so as to ensure fast tempo throughout.
The three main characters are splendidly acted – the woman by the late Janie Marese, who died in a motor accident on the Riviera. Georges Flamant plays her man with the most true to life and realistic naturalness. The middle-class sucker, who, unhappily married, must give vent to his sentimental vein by blinding himself to the fact that the girl he loves is milking him, is done by Michel Simon. Other parts are mere supports and satisfactory.