Bay of Angels

Compulsive gambler Jeanne Moreau aims her manic schemes and Bette Davis eyes at a naive young bank clerk in this sun-drenched, nicotine-stained ode to the gamblers and losers of the French Riviera. First seen walking proudly along the Monte Carlo boardwalk in the film's justifiably famous opening, the glamorous but fraying Jackie (Moreau) is more comfortable in the less blinding enclosure of a casino, where a clueless bank clerk soon falls for her. “I thought this lifestyle only existed in American movies,” he marvels, but the joy of Bay of Angels is that it only exists in this movie: the whirl of roulette wheels, the constant click of chips, elegance and effortless cool, all framed by the radiant black-and-white camerawork of Jean Rabier and the music of Michel Legrand. Towering above it all in white boas and heavy makeup is Moreau, capable of making even borderline-psychotic addiction look enthralling in “a bravura demonstration of star power on the rampage” (New York Times).

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