Sunday, 19 March 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1947: Louis Jouvet in Quai des Orfèvres

Louis Jouvet did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Inspector Antoine in Quai des Orfèvres.

Quai des Orfèvres is a very effective mystery film, though in actuality it is more a comedy of errors than a thriller.

The veteran French actor Louis Jouvet does not enter the film until about halfway through. That first half focuses on the difficult relationship between an incredibly flirtatious singer Jenny (Suzy Delair) and her jealous husband Maurice (Bernard Blier). We see the two going back and forth as Maurice constantly threatens the men Jenny is flirting with them though she is completely devoted to him. Complications ensue though when one of the men, a sleazy photographer, turns up dead. This is made more complex by the married couple having separately visited the murdered man's house, and made even more complicated by Jenny's photographer friend Dora (Simone Renant), with an obvious crush on her, also visiting the crime scene. This leads Inspector Antoine to come in to attempt clear everything up despite the three doing their best to cover their tracks. Jouvet appears and this is great example of an old pro just going to town with some great material. That is to say Jouvet wastes no time in stealing the show.

Jouvet is exceptional as he sets up his whole character in his first scene as Antoine is informed of the crime. Antoine takes a moment to check on his adopted son before leaving. Jouvet's brilliant in just this slight interaction we are given with his son throughout these scenes as he grants such a rich history of the inspector with his son. Jouvet captures this sense of haplessness with his son, as well as this attempt at any sort of discipline in these interactions as he talks about his son's trouble with geography. Jouvet shows this perfect sort of appreciation if what he has, even though he also shows the inspector being perhaps slightly out of his element in this regard. Beneath all of it is such this sweet warmth that Jouvet exudes in almost this indirect way. This is the major personal element we are given on the inspector and Antoine makes the most of it. He humanizes the inspector far past the confines of the case or the confines of this supporting role. Jouvet makes this whole aspect of his character so very endearing while adding an extra layer to his character.

Of course the primary role of the Inspector is to solve the case and in this way Jouvet is again brilliant. Jouvet here reminded of the very best turns of this nature like say Morgan Freeman in Seven, Jouvet is just fascinating to watch as he works the case. The way Jouvet maneuvers every scene he is in is something in itself. I just love the physical presence of his work here as he dominates by almost being exactly where he shouldn't be. I have particular affection for Jouvet's stone face whenever Antoine appears from behind a doorway as though he's Frankenstein's monster. As the Inspector works the case though we are also granted a bit of his philosophy towards his profession. Jouvet delivers this certain acerbic tone even rather humorous as he ponders about the long list of costs to solve the murder for basically who was seen as an undesirable by most. What's best though is the way Jouvet shows that Antoine uses it to manipulate the situation, as Jouvet excels in his reactions in these moments as though he's watching to see guilt by supporting his own cynicism.

Jouvet is so good as he illustrates the technique of the Inspector in every scene as he goes about interrogating each of the principals to get to the bottom of the murder. Jouvet brings this elegance to his method as he shows the Inspector always switching things up so carefully. Jouvet often delivers a comedic moment, and plays it as though Antoine is speaking to a innocent person to get them to open up a bit more. Jouvet though makes it almost a dance of sorts the way he so seems to be playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers. Jouvet's delivery and reactions are truly remarkable in the way they do establish the incisiveness of Antoine. Jouvet portrays that Antoine does need to figure things out himself, but in front of the suspects he is always the one in charge. As he'll make a joke then suddenly switch to speaking of the severity of crimes actually, and Jouvet makes his intensity particularly effective by the way he springs it on the suspects as well as we the viewers. His work is excellent in the way he actually becomes a more than a little menacing by realizing this technique so effortlessly. I find Jouvet outdoes any Poirot of any kind in the final scenes of the film as Antoine fixes everything. Jouvet again tears through the scenes making it absolutely convincing that Antoine will get his man/woman in the end. Jouvet though goes even further to offer this touch of a philosophy though presenting again just the right hint of warmth. Jouvet's absolutely charming, in his own unusual way of course, as he makes final interrogation though this time offering such a genuine sympathy as he finally gets the truth. This is an amazing performance by Louis Jouvet as he steals the film wholesale though with such ease and grace as his atypical Inspector Antoine.
Updated Overall

Next Year: 1973 Lead

28 comments:

Calvin Law said...

Wow, you really loved him. Was hoping you might bump up one of the Odd Man Out men but glad to see Hartnell is now a 4.

Louis: thoughts on 'Going the Distance' from Rocky.

Calvin Law said...

And for 1973 lead:

Donald Sutherland, Don't Look Now.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Rating and thoughts on Walter Slezak in Born To Kill.

Thoughts on 'Skyfall'.

Edward Woodward - The Wicker Man
Donald Sutherland - Don't Look Now
Robert Mitchum - The Friends Of Eddie Coyle
Malcolm McDowell - O Lucky Man
Robert Shaw - The Hireling

Robert MacFarlane said...

Elliot Gould in The Long Goodbye
Robert Mitchum in The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Donald Sutherland in Don't Look Now
Edward Woodward in The Wicker Man
Malcolm McDowell in O Lucky Man

Calvin Law said...

Thanks for reminding me about Shaw, Woodward and Mitchum :)

Charles Heiston said...

Very happy to see a new winner.

As for 1973
Robert Shaw - The Hireling
Malcolm McDowell - O Lucky Man
Robert Mitchum - The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Donald Sutherland - Don't Look Now
François Truffaut - Day for Life

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Is Truffaut really lead for Day for Night. From the plot sypnosis, he seems to be more of a supporting player.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Possibly a supporting performance. But i heard some great reviews for the film. So i'd expect a great performance in there.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Well going by these suggestions, I'm confident it'll be Woodward, Sutherland, Mitchum, McDowell and Shaw as the five chosen.

BTW have you seen The Wicker Man, if not, I highly recommend it.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: I've yet to see The Wicker Man. I'll probably watch it this week.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I really want Gould reviewed. Even if Louis doesn't like his work in it, it's an interesting performance to dissect.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: I could live without McDowell getting in, because If... has the more noteworthy work from him and Shaw perhaps has a lead review somewhere.

But Woodward, Sutherland and Mitchum are musts.

RatedRStar said...

Edward Woodward - The Wicker Man
Donald Sutherland - Don't Look Now
Robert Mitchum - The Friends Of Eddie Coyle
Malcolm McDowell - O Lucky Man
Robert Blake - Electra Glide in Blue

Even if he isn't reviewed, there is no way that Robert Blake, who has given 2 five star performances and won the overall twice should not be seen at all despite getting a globe nomination and having a great track record so far.

I dont know if I ever want to see Eliott Gould ever again on this blog, Louis should have it in his mind " Do I want to give another chance to an actor who let me down, umm not sure".

RatedRStar said...

The Long Goodbye has got great reviews though, but, probably best Louis just sees all of the ones mentioned.

Alex Marqués said...

If Elliot Gould is good in that film (I think he is), who cares if he didn't like him in the past?

Varun Neermul said...

Is Erland Josephson eligble for his performance In 'Scenes From A Marriage'? If it is then i want him to be reviewed badly.

Alex Marqués said...

Varun: I haven't seen it, do you think the film cut is superior to the miniseries?

GM said...

Ian Holm - The Homecoming
Edward Woodward - The Wicker Man
Giancarlo Gianini - Love & Anarchy
Donald Sutherland - Don't Look Now
Robert Mitchum - The Friends Of Eddie Coyle
Malcolm McDowell - O Lucky Man
Helmut Berger - Ludwig
Rip Torn - Payday
George Segal - Blume in Love
George Segal - A Touch of Class
James Caan - Slither

Robson Nakazato said...

Dont forget thw winner George Seagal by A Touch of Class which wins Golden Globe to Best Actor Comedy/Musical.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts and rating for Betty Gabriel in Get Out?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Concerning Gould: Him in The Long Goodbye tends to be looked at as a case of deliberate miscasting, which is what the gives the film its satiric edge. Gould himself has admitted as much. That's why I think it's an interesting performance to review. I know a lot of people have told me they love his performance for this exact reason.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Films to watch, that haven't been already mentioned.

Scenes From A Marriage (Has been mentioned though it's ineligible. I'd watch the film first, then the mini-series at a later date)
The Spirit Of The Beehive (I've read many reviews where Torrent gives the best child performance of all-time)
The Holy Mountain
American Graffiti
Amarcord
Enter The Dragon
Disney's Robin Hood
Fantastic Planet
Day For Night
Sisters
Lady Snowblood

Luke Higham said...

Everyone: Are there any performances that you love, yet were disappointed that Louis didn't share as much of the same enthusiasm as you did.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Luke:

Sam Neill in The Piano (my win for that incredibly strong year)
Denzel Washington in Flight (the movie sucks, but he's great)
Chris Cooper in Lone Star
A lot of female performances (we seem to disagree on these the most)

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke:
Colin Firth in The King's Speech (have always loved his work, he's my #3 that year)
James McAvoy in Atonement
Al Pacino in Serpico
Claude Rains in Casablanca (although Louis has said that he might upgrade him, so all might be well)

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Going the Distance - (Guaranteed chills every time. The first half could not sound more dramatic and powerful. The song where you believe you could do anything just for that minute. Then the second half is the pinnacle of all accomplishment, in that playing the song after accomplishing anything makes it sound like such an achievement. Conti's kind of an underrated composer in general, and Rocky's score is a musical embodiment of success.)

Gabriel - 3.5(Her performance is quite a brilliant little piece of work since she is so bizarre and off-putting in all her scenes. When you learn what the truth about her character everything suddenly makes sense because of her performance.)

Luke:

Skyfall - (Essentially everything that "Writing on the wall" wanted to be. It also utilizes Bond motifs yet so much more effectively, also helps that Adele's vocals feel far more fitting to the Bond style. In that it kind of conveys this certain sleek darkness of sorts fitting to everything that is Bond. Also perhaps most importantly the chorus I'd say is undeniably iconic now, but also it actually bothers to naturally transition from the haunting verses.)

Varun:

No because it premiered as a miniseries first.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Rating and thoughts on Walter Slezak in Born To Kill.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Slezak - 4(It's rather interesting that Slezak is kind of the most heroic character in the film and that's as a blackmailing sleazy private detective. Slezak manages to make it work through he way he so successfully wears the sleaze. He has this certain joy attached to it that manages to make it oddly endearing and incredibly entertaining)