HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iceman
Blue Sky
Tokyo Dragon Chef
Pittsburgh
12 Hour Shift
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
   
 
Newest Articles
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ten Days' Wonder Breaking the Commandments
Year: 1971
Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Michel Piccoli, Marlène Jobert, Orson Welles, Guido Alberti, Ermanno Casanova, Mathilde Ceccarelli, Eric Frisdal
Genre: Drama, Thriller, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Wealthy, young sculptor Charles Van Horn (Anthony Perkins) awakens in a Parisian hotel room, his hands stained with blood, with no memory of how he got there. Horrified he may have committed a murder, Charles appeals to his former college professor, Paul Régis (Michel Piccoli) to stay with him at his father’s country mansion and analyse his behaviour. Charles’ father Theo Van Horn (Orson Welles) is a domineering eccentric who insists his family dress in 1920s garb and has married Hélène (Marlène Jobert), a young woman whom he adopted as a child. Paul discovers Charles and Hélène are in love. Now their love letters have gone missing and an anonymous blackmailer demands $25,000 for their return. As Paul is drawn deeper into this labyrinthine mystery, he slowly realises the lovers are hapless pawns in a grandiose, biblically-inspired scheme while the film counts down towards the fatal day.

Now and again, French New Wave mystery maestro Claude Chabrol makes an English language movie and the results are almost always eccentric: e.g. The Champagne Murders (1966), Blood Relatives (1978) or Dr. M (1990). With Ten Days’ Wonder, Chabrol wove a wilfully surreal and dreamlike fable loosely based on a novel by pseudonymous pulp writer Ellery Queen. Uniquely, Ellery Queen was both the fictional detective and the alias used by his creators: cousins Daniel Nathan (alias Frederic Dannay) and Manford Lepofsky (alias Manfred Bennington Lee). A faintly smarmy, rich playboy who solves mysteries for his own amusement, Ellery Queen reached both big and small screens played by an array of actors, from Ralph Bellamy to Peter Lawford, but is absent from Chabrol’s adaptation, rewritten as Paul Regis, the man whom Theo notes has “an extraordinary analytical brain.”

Obviously out to try something wildly different, Chabrol kicks things off with a striking sequence wherein Dutch angles, weird lighting, and surreal cutaways to a writhing octopus combine into a delirious haze. Theo’s egomaniacal attempt to freeze time itself circa 1925, together with Charles’ statues of Olympian gods (modelled after Theo) and the frequent stream-of-consciousness leaps backwards and forwards in time (so seamless they render time itself irrelevant), evoke another Orson Welles cult classic: Malpertuis (1972). Yet though his script his peppered with musings on philosophy, finance and art, beneath the oddball atmosphere there isn’t an awful lot for Chabrol to sink his teeth into.

Although the strands do eventually string together, the film bewilders as it seemingly switches from one plot to another and the focus shifts from Charles to Hélène to Paul. Michel Piccoli, impeccably suave as always, remains the most engaging character but even he becomes a pawn, batted around like a ball of yarn by the balmy plot. Bereft of his usual satirical insights, Chabrol indulges in eccentricities: the crazy prophecy-spewing old witch in the attic who turns out to be Theo’s mother; his sarcastic (and frankly annoying) brother Ludovic (Guido Alberti) who seems content to linger on the sidelines mocking everybody else; and the cute little girl whose memory of the ten commandments inadvertently unlocks this decidedly wacky scheme.

Orson Welles is well cast as a millionaire with a god complex but though Theo and Paul have a well-scripted confrontation, the conclusion is as limp and unsatisfying as an episode of Murder She Wrote.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2286 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Claude Chabrol  (1930 - 2010)

A renowned director of French thrillers, he was one of the originators of the French New Wave of the fifties and sixties, often concentrating on middle class characters going through crises that led to murder, and made around fifty of these films in his long career. Starting with Le Beau Serge in 1958, he went on to direct such respected efforts as Les Cousins, The Champagne Murders, Les Biches, This Man Must Die, Le Boucher, Blood Relatives, Poulet au Vinaigre, a version of Madame Bovary with frequent star Isabelle Huppert, L'enfer, La Ceremonie, The Girl Cut in Two with Ludivine Sagnier, and his final work for the cinema, Bellamy with Gerard Depardieu.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: