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L'AUBERGE ROUGE (1951)

aka The Red Inn
Article 2854 by Dave Sindelar 
Viewing Date: 3-1-2009
Posting Date: 6-6-2009
Directed by Claude Autant-Lara
Featuring Fernandel, Francoise Rosay, Marie-Claire Olivia
Country: France

A monk stays overnight at a remote inn with a variety of travelers. He hears a confession in which he discovers that the managers of the inn have been robbing and killing their guests. He finds himself in a dilemma; how can he prevent the murder of his fellow travelers without breaking his vows that forbid him to reveal information he has learned during a confession?

For the second day in a row I find myself watching a movie where people have gotten into the habit of murdering and robbing others, and yesterday's movie (ONIBABA) would have been borderline horror (as this one is) even without the supernatural elements on these grounds alone, as this type of behavior puts us into serial killer territory. There are profound differences, of course; yesterday's movie was a harrowing drama, and today's is a satirical black comedy. Unfortunately, I don't have the benefit of English subtitles to help me along with this one, and I was only able to piece together certain plot elements with the help of descriptions elsewhere. It looks quite entertaining; plot elements include an organ-grinder's monkey on the loose, a clever hiding place for a corpse, a marriage ceremony intended to delay the murder of several people, and a pivotal snowball fight. The movie supposedly has an anticlerical message, though without the dialogue to help me, I'm not sure what it is, though I wouldn't doubt that an ironic ending plays into it. Even watched this way, the movie has its moments, but I'm really looking forward to seeing a movie in English again in the near future.

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