The Woman on the Beach
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Time Out saysThe last film from Renoir's wartime exile in America, considered too obscure, too erotic, and cut by nearly a third of its running time by RKO after a preview. What might have been is anybody's guess (not least because it freely rewrites the emphases of its source novel, Mitchell Wilson's None So Blind), but what's left is great Renoir: a tormented triangle involving a blind painter (Bickford), his passionate wife (Bennett), and a shell-shocked sailor (Ryan), all three of them outcasts in different ways. A film noir in mood, with terrific performances, wonderful use made of the dead-end settings (the lonely clifftop house, the beach strewn with dead hulks), and darkly elemental overtones to the emotional battle (Ryan's recurring nightmare of drowning; Bickford's cleansing by fire of his past). Fragments, maybe, but remarkable all the same.