Henri Clouzot - 1947
I first saw this during the infant years of Film Club. I will forever credit John with spurring me on to canonize and write about movies in depth. This vocation led me to a stressful but meritorious project in which I filled various blind-spots from respective years, mostly the 40s and 50s. I saw this French Christmas noir when catching up with 1947 titles.
I loved the four principles: Maurice, Jenny, Dora, and especially Detective Antoine. The post-war December backdrop and the attention to details therein, including the smorgasbord of extras popping in and out of the woodwork brought it to life in ways I guess I wasn't expecting. I also wasn't expecting its emotional pull, which slowly reveals itself as characters act outside of their archetypes.
This was Clouzot's first debut from a four-year absence following Le Corbeau's release under the German owned/run Continental Pictures. He and his films had been branded with allegations of treachery and cowardice, a stain that would wash away with subsequent films that would brand him with the much preferred moniker as the French master of suspense. Quai des Orfevres set the public's change in perception in motion and the rest is history. Here's hoping that The Criterion Collection re-releases it.