Quand tu liras cette lettre
(When You Read This Letter)
Juliette Gréco, Philippe Lemaire, Yvonne Sanson, Irene Galter,
A work-for-hire that Melville took on to fund construction of his future studio, this international coproduction still offers many insights into the director’s approach. Louche, virile, immoral, and poor, a preening stud on the French Riviera sets his sights on both an older wealthy woman and a young, naïve teen. Soon a rape sends the girl’s sister (a riveting Juliette Gréco), a nun, out of the convent and onto a collision course for vengeance—and passion. Lurid in its obsessions and often distasteful in its action, this melodramatic potboiler is ironically Melville’s noir-est work, with exquisite deep-focus cinematography and a deadly homme fatal.