The Bride Wore Black (rewatch)
Posted by martinteller on May 27, 2012
Although Truffaut is clearly working in the Hitchcock vein, there really isn’t a Hitch film with this sort of plot. You could make superficial connections to Marnie or Vertigo and others, but he didn’t really do any films that focus so much on vengeance. I’m not saying Truffaut isn’t paying homage, but it’s not a ripoff and has a stamp of originality. One thing that’s undeniably Hitchcockian is the Herrmann music, and as far as you can accuse a composer of being derivative of himself, then okay, that part is derivative. But still beautiful… it’s an incredible score, even one of his best.
The story does have one gaping plot hole, or rather unexplained bit of business, namely… how the heck does Jeanne Moreau find out who her targets are? Also, the third murder is highly unlikely. Not sure if Truffaut is to blame for these items, though. It’s based on a Cornell Woolrich novel, and Woolrich’s stories are known for wild coincidences, farfetched implausibilities and the downright impossible. I suppose I should read the book one day. But that list is almost as long as the list of movies I want to see.
Nagging, nitpicky plotting issues aside, it’s a wonderfully crafted story. The way Julie plans and adjusts to obstacles is wickedly clever, and her motives are withheld from the audience until halfway through film. The use of alternating black and white costumes is a nice touch (and likely a nod to Janet Leigh’s brassiere in Psycho). Moreau is fantastic, cold and calculating, using her victims’ lechery against them. She makes a great femme fatale. Her performance isn’t as striking as it was in Jules et Jim, but it’s still a damn good one. Still, I’m wondering what compelled me to place this film in my top 100 last year. It must have felt like the right idea at the time, a left-field choice to give my list a little oddball flavor. It won’t appear in this year’s revision of the list, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the movie. It’s a marvelous entertainment, whether as genre exercise, pure homage, or just another Truffaut delight. Rating: Very Good