Review: ‘Stavisky …’

This is an elegant, arresting film about the times and charm of a swindler who actually existed and almost brought down the French Third Republic in the 1930s.

This is an elegant, arresting film about the times and charm of a swindler who actually existed and almost brought down the French Third Republic in the 1930s.

And it is the era that seems to fascinate Alain Resnais as he dotes on the shiny opulence, sensual modes of living, with the psychology of his successful but ultimately sacrificed hero or anti-hero being mirrored by those around him as their testimony at a governmental inquest committee after his suicide or murder is intercut within the film.

Political substance is there, for it was written by Jorge (Z) Semprun, but all is bathed in a study of a driving charm that turned an immigrant Jewish boy (Jean-Paul Belmondo) from a small-time embezzler with a prison record into the most dazzling of economic operators but was discarded by disclosures of some of his frauds.

Belmondo is excellent, Charles Boyer is efficient as a ruined nobleman who is his friend and frontman, and Anny Duperey gracefully reveals an almost archtype embodiment of the beauties who became Paris centers of admiration and following.

Stavisky ...

France - Italy

Production

Cerito/Ariane/Euro International. Director Alain Resnais; Producer Alexandre Mnouchkine, Georges Dancigers (exec.); Screenplay Jorge Semprun; Camera Sacha Vierny; Editor Albert Jurgenson; Music Stephen Sondheim; Art Director Jacques Saulnier

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1974. Running time: 115 MIN.

With

Jean-Paul Belmondo Francois Perier Anny Duperey Michel Lonsdale Roberto Bisacco Claude Rich
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