Luis Bunuel, Mexican filmmaker of Hispano origin, comes up with a crackling look at a supposedly well-married, comely girl who begins to give way to masochistic leanings working by day in a sporting house, if a good wife by night.
Pic [from the novel by Joseph Kessel] starts in a jolting manner as she is riding with her husband in a carriage in the woods. He has his coachmen stop, string her up, strip her, whip her and then begin to make advances. This is all in her mind. When the dandyish friend talks of clandestine houses, and even drops an address of one he used, she finds herself looking up the place, and finally beginning to work there. Belle de Jour is the name she uses.
Catherine Deneuve has the fine, luminous features to help make her heroine always coherent, rigorous and forthright enough to clarify the dual life. Jean Sorel is properly attractive and weak as her husband. Michel Piccoli is an outspoken friend who sees through the heroine as effectively as the many perverted clients in her bagnio life. The color photography is also an asset as is the production dress and the well-done editing.