Edwige Feuillère

Woman Hater (1948, Terence Young)

Woman Hater is an incredible mess. It’s a romantic comedy about the titular character, played by Stewart Granger, who wants to “scientifically” prove women will throw themselves at any man. Or something along those lines.

Luckily, he’s a British royal, so he can engineer the entire thing–his victim is a French actress (Edwige Feuillère) looking for a secluded holiday.

Ninety-five percent of the film takes place on Granger’s estate, with he, Feuillère and their assorted servants. Maybe if the writing were good, this confined setting would work. But the writing is incredibly boring, something Young’s direction does nothing to help. Young can’t tell a joke and Hater is full of these screwball comedy moments and they fall painfully flat, each worse than the last.

While the film’s a complete failure, both Granger and Feuillère are excellent. They can’t sell the ludicrous plot but it doesn’t much matter. Granger’s charming, suggesting a layered character the script doesn’t provide. Feuillère’s actress is intelligent and deliberate. The script serves her a little better, but only because Granger’s character is so terribly written.

Mary Jerrold’s got a few scenes as Granger’s bewildered mother and she does well. As the principal servants, Ronald Squire and Jeanne De Casalis both lack comic timing. There is a funny subplot about British men being unable to resist French women, but it doesn’t spill over onto the main plot, which makes no sense.

Woman Hater‘s exceptionally overlong and sometimes unpleasant. It wastes Granger and Feuillère’s considerable abilities.



Directed by Terence Young; screenplay by Nicholas Phipps and Robert Westerby, based on a story by Alec Coppel; director of photography, André Thomas; edited by Vera Campbell; music by Lambert Williamson; produced by William Sistrom; released by General Film Distributors.

Starring Stewart Granger (Lord Terence Datchett), Edwige Feuillère (Colette Marly), Ronald Squire (Jameson), Jeanne De Casalis (Clair), Mary Jerrold (Lady Datchett), David Hutcheson (Robert), W.A. Kelly (Patrick), Georgina Cookson (Julia), Henry Edwards (Major), Stewart Rome (Colonel Weston) and Valentine Dyall (Spencer).

Lucrezia Borgia (1935, Abel Gance)

Gance has a real problem with Lucrezia Borgia… none of his characters are likable. Even Antonin Artaud, playing a friar who rallies against the Borgia regime, is unlikable and he’s the film’s closest thing to a good guy. Gance shoots Artaud like a lunatic.

It’s also not a film about Lucrezia Borgia, it’s a film about the Borgias. Edwige Feuillère’s Lucrezia is a far second behind Gabriel Gabrio’s César. Feuillère isn’t bad, but she’s playing an impossible role. She’s not supposed to be likable or even sympathetic, but still tragic.

As for Gabrio, he seems to model his performance on a wild boar. He’s not even interesting to watch because being so evil all the time is boring. Especially since he’s in most of the film.

The film also concerns Machiavelli (played by Aimé Clariond) and his influence on Gabrio’s César. If Gance had structured the film from Clariond’s perspective, it might have been a little better. It certainly couldn’t have been a worse approach.

Gance jumps around–a month here, a year there, a decade or two… there’s no accounting of the time as it passes. With its ninety-some minute run time, one has to wonder if Lucrezia Borgia wasn’t supposed to be much, much longer. Like three hours.

The film’s at its strongest in the first half, before it becomes clear Gance is operating on a severely restricted budget (people talk about locations instead of visiting them).

Lucrezia Borgia isn’t terrible, but there’s nothing to recommend it.



Directed by Abel Gance; screenplay by Gance, Léopold Marchand and Henri Vendresse, based on a novel by Alfred Schirokauer; director of photography, Roger Hubert; edited by Roger Mercanton; music by Marcel Lattès; production designers, Henri Ménessier and René Renoux; released by Héraut Film.

Starring Edwige Feuillère (Lucrezia Borgia), Gabriel Gabrio (César Borgia), Maurice Escande (Jean Borgia, Duke of Gandie), Roger Karl (Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI), Aimé Clariond (Niccollo Machiavelli), Philippe Hériat (Filippo, sculptor-lover), Jacques Dumesnil (Giannino Sforza, Duke of Milano), Max Michel (Alfonse de Aragon), Louis Eymond (Capt. Mario, officer-lover), Jean Fay (Tybald), René Bergeron (Pietro), Gaston Modot (Fracassa), Antonin Artaud (Girolamo Savonarola), Marcel Chabrier (Un moine – l’envoyé de Savonarole), Georges Prieur (Baron de Villeneuve), Louis Perdoux (Carlo), Yvonne Drines (Flamette), Mona Dol (La Vespa), Jeannine Fromentin (La Malatesta), Josette Day (Sancia, Lucrezia’s companion) and Daniel Mendaille (Micheletto, chief henchman).

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