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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Objectif: 500 Millions!

In autumn and early winter of 1965, Marisa Mell was filming in Paris (France). She was playing the part of fashion model Yo in the black and white French film noir "Objectif: 500 Millions" directed by Pierre Schoendoerffer with Bruno Cremer as her counterpart. The film tells the story of French army Captain Jean Reichau (Bruno Cremer) just released from prison, when he meets fashion model Yo. She proposes him to steal 500 millions old French franks from a postal plane as she is the only one to know the exacte date of the departure of the plane every month from Paris-Orly to Bordeaux. Being an ex-army soldier makes this sting easy for Reichau, knowing how to dive, parachute, handle guns, shoot and kill people if necessairy but the trouble starts when he learns that the man behind Yo is nobody other than the police officer who arrested him a few years earlier and put him behind bars for refusal of a military order in the French Indochine wars! Will he go ahead with the heist and work together with the man who is his sworn enemy or is he going to kill him in revenge for in his eyes unjust arrest in the past? The movie is one of the best Marisa Mell-movies in my opinion. It has a terrific cast opposite Marisa Mell with Bruno Cremer as Jean Richau and Jean-Claude Rolland as Pierre, who sadly commited suicide two years later on the eve of the première of his latest movie. All three are able to carry their difficult parts in this movie with not that many other actors which otherwise would very quicky become rather theater like. What is also a real joy to see in this production is the interaction between Bruno Cremer and Marisa Mell in their different scenes together. You feel the attraction between them but also the distance she has to him and her struggle with her loyality to Pierre. Another real bonus is to hear the own husky voice of Marisa Mell talking in French. In most of her films, especially the Italian and Enlgish talking movies, Marisa Mell is dubbed by another voice actress and often the voice color is totally opposite her own timbre mostly ruining the movie! Being a fashion model in this movie, Marisa Mell has the opportunity to wear some really great cloths and outfits giving her character more depths than usually in her movies. The styling of the cloths was done by "Victoire" of Paris, a then rather well known fashion house! They took their inspiration for this movie mostly from the French couturier André Courrèges. Especially the white cat suite is a direct referal to his style around 1965. What is diffecult to grasp in this movie is what kind of women the director had in mind when casting the role of Yo. As you can see from the different picture grabs, Marisa Mell and her different cloths and styles give a rather mixed image of a mature women in the mid sixties ranging from a diva with a fur coat, seductress in her white cate suit, a school girl with her sweater and skirt, a rich women in probably at that time real leopard skin coat and finally an action heroine in her diving suit. When viewing this movie and the role Marisa Mell plays you notice also the reference to two other European actresses very much en vogue at that time: Catherine Deneuve and Romy Schneider. So it could be possible that the role of Yo had also been offered to those leading ladies in Europe. And finally, as extra bonus, you hear the latest single of French singer France Gall with "Dis A Ton Capitaine". In 1965, she won the Eurovision song contest with "Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son" for Luxemburg. The song became a major hit in Europe that summer. The movie got is première on March 25 1966 in France. Since then it is sometimes seen on French television stations but generally speaken it is forgotten by the general audience.
France Gall-Dis A Ton Capitaine...


Anonymous said...

A great film, stunning photography and a masterful guidance by an Academy Award-winning director. Thanks for this great article! So happy the blog is back!!

Alex B. said...

I like B/W French films and Marisa, of course!
Thanks a lot for the article and nice screengrabs:)