PANIQUE
1946, Rialto Pictures, 91 min, France, Dir: Julien Duvivier

“If I were an architect and I had to build a monument to the cinema,” wrote Jean Renoir, “I would place a statue of Julien Duvivier above the entrance.” Duvivier made 70 films between 1919 and 1967, many of them landmarks of French cinema. His first postwar project, a noir adaptation of Georges Simenon's Mr. Hire’s Engagement (later adapted by Patrice Leconte as MONSIEUR HIRE), stars Michel Simon as a reviled voyeur framed for a murder by the girl he adores. Now widely considered the finest Simenon adaptation but criticized at the time for its bleakness, the long-unseen PANIQUE has finally been given the vivid restoration it deserves.


DESTINY
1944, Universal, 65 min, Dir: Julien Duvivier, Reginald Le Borg

Originally intended to be the opening tale of FLESH AND FANTASY, Universal elected to turn this segment into a 65-minute stand-alone feature, its added passages directed by Reginald Le Borg. A pair of robbers (Alan Curtis and Frank Craven) hide out in rural Paradise Valley, where the townsfolk are so pleasant and trusting that the crooks eagerly map out a plan to rob them blind. But a farmer’s daughter (Gloria Jean), who really is blind, has a big surprise in store for one of them.


FLESH AND FANTASY
1943, Universal, 94 min, Dir: Julien Duvivier

Considered one of the greatest French directors (his PEPÉ LE MOKO is the virtual template for the “poetic realism” that informed film noir), Duvivier escaped the war years at home by bringing his incredible style to several offbeat Hollywood films of the early 1940s. This anthology of slightly supernatural tales - a proto-“Twilight Zone,” if you will - features a dazzling cast of stars (Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Charles Boyer, Betty Field, Robert Cummings, Thomas Mitchell) and exceptional camerawork by Stanley Cortez and Paul Ivano.


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