François Truffaut’s oeuvre is filled with hommages to Alfred Hitchcock, but this elegant, entertaining thriller, starring Jeanne Moreau, may be the most Hitchcockian of the French director’s films. (It’s no coincidence that The Bride Wore Black appeared soon after Truffaut published his invaluable Hitchcock, also known as Hitchcock/Truffaut, a book-length interview with the British master that is among the greatest and most pleasurable of film books.) Moreau plays avenging angel Julie Kohler, a young widow who systematically hunts down the men responsible for murdering her husband on their wedding day. The film is based on a novel by noted noir writer Cornell Woolrich (under the pseudonym William Irish), author also of the works from which Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Truffaut’s Mississippi Mermaid were adapted. The musical score is by frequent Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrmann. In the manner of Hitchcock, Truffaut relies on images rather than dialogue to carry the story, and mischievously manipulates audience expectations to create suspense. The expert cinematography is by Raoul Coutard; a wealth of references and allusions invoke various Hitchcock films, as well as the cinema of Jean Renoir, Truffaut’s other master. “Graceful and slender … A Truffaut lamb in Hitchcock wolf’s clothing” (Penelope Houston). “Finely detailed and lyric about love” (The New Yorker). (France, 1968, 107 min., French with English subtitles, 35mm print courtesy of The Film Desk)
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