“It’s a dream. It just doesn’t make sense.”
When Alain Delon awakes from a coma after a life threatening car crash, he’s told his name is George. He has a beautiful wife played by sexy Senta Berger with Sergio Fantoni as his doctor and best friend. The problem is that after a severe head injury, he has no recollection of anything or anyone other than a mysterious dream that leaves him believing his name is Pierre.
A jazzy score and rapid fire opening credits blow by leading to Delon’s crash, a brief awakening in a hospital bed and finally arriving with Berger at their estate in the French countryside. He’s like a stranger in his own house. Working the estate is a mysterious, somewhat creepy butler of sorts, Peter Mosbacher, who injects a kinky sexual flavor into the proceedings with his worship of all things Senta. He’ll dress her, massage her, comb her hair and even make her clothing using a custom designed Senta Berger look-a-like mannequin.
Delon may be mentally lost but he knows he’s supposedly married to a beautiful woman who looks good in a negligee. The problem is she continually keeps putting him off. She’ll not give in to his lust. Seems strange to both Delon and me. Her reasoning may be sound but I’m not so sure. She claims that until she is sure he believes her to be his wife they’ll be no love making. It would be like she’s cheating on her beloved hubby.
There’s definitely something amiss and when Fantoni arrives to ensure Delon’s getting plenty of rest and taking his pills, Delon still isn’t convinced that he is who they say and begins to think he is some sort of pawn in a plot he hasn’t yet figured out. A close call in a barn that almost sees Delon fall to his death soon follows. He next overhears a conversation between Senta and Sergio that appears to have been staged for his benefit giving insight to his past. Memories continue to plague his dreams that have nothing to do with the identity he’s being told is his. Recorded voices in the night play as he sleeps in what I assume to be an attempt to subliminally set him up for what lies ahead. Or is he just imagining it?
Yes, Alain has awoken from a three week coma to find himself in a rather strange plot one might usually see reserved for the hysterics of a William Castle movie starring Joan Crawford a Hammer Film psycho inspired thriller.
As near fatal “accidents” continue to plague Delon, he’ll begin to turn things around on his wife and doctor leading to the unveiling of a tangled web of deceit and murder from director Julien Duvivier. This would prove to be the director’s final film as he was killed in a car accident prior to it’s release. While I’m familiar with Duvivier and his reputation as one of the better directors to emerge from France, I’ve only seen one of his other films, the entertaining Tales of Manhattan from 1942 during his Hollywood years. I’ll have to remedy that so if you have a suggestion, please drop me a note.
All three leads are familiar to me thanks to their English language films. Delon came in to my universe thanks to a pair of films opposite Charles Bronson and another with Burt Lancaster. Senta was in Major Dunde, one of Peckinpah’s earlier films as well as a latter one, Cross of Iron. Fantoni appeared in Von Ryan’s Express opposite Sinatra. New to me, this decent thriller turned up in a Delon set of films I picked up on release thru Studio Canal that’s been collecting too much dust so I felt it was high time I cleaned it off and checked it out. More Delon films to follow…..