Temptation Harbour

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Reviewers contrasted this unfavourably with Renoir's La Bête Humaine, but Simenon's story, with the fates leading a well-intentioned hero to his destruction in the docks of Dieppe (here Newhaven), now looks like an interesting bridge between the gloomy French melodramas of the '30s and American film noir. Newton is the harbour signalman who retrieves a suitcase full of money after witnessing a murder, fails to report it to the police, and finds himself the object of murderous and mercenary interest. He gives a wonderfully tension-ridden performance, fleetingly caressing Simone Simon's slip, erupting into exasperated anger with the nervy Hartnell, but never allowing full expression to the lust and violence clearly visible beneath the kindly surface. The ending may appear disappointingly conformist, and Simone's bored femme fatale fails to fulfil her potential (despite having 'enough atomic energy in the lobes of her ears to flatten London'); but this is the price one has to pay for Comfort's dogged refusal to simplify, to sacrifice realism to melodrama, which is in itself interesting.

Release details

Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Lance Comfort
Screenwriter: Victor Skutezky, Frederic Gotfurt, Rodney Ackland
Cast: Robert Newton
Simone Simon
William Hartnell
Margaret Barton
Marcel Dalio
Edward Rigby
Charles Victor

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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