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Alphaville, une Étrange Aventure de Lemmy Caution

Alphaville
Agente Lemmy Caution, Missione Alphaville / Lemmy Caution gegen Alpha 60

France/Italy 1965
produced by
André Michelin for Chaumiane, Filmstudio
directed by Jean-Luc Godard
starring Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Howard Vernon, Akim Tamiroff, Michel Delahaye, Jean-Louis Conmolli, Jean-André Fieschi, László Szabó, Valérie Boisgel, Christa Lang, Jean-Pierre Léaud
screenplay by Jean-Luc Godard, based on a character created by Peter Cheyney, music by Paul Misraki

Lemmy Caution

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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From the outlands, agent Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) arrives at Alphaville to find professor Von Braun (Howard Vernon), a task that his predecessor Henri Dickson (Akim Tamiroff) failed to fulfill, as Lemmy finds him to be a hopeless alcoholic, who dies before his very eyes, before he can give him vital information.

However, Caution soon finds the professor's daughter Natacha (Anna Karina), but that lead seemms to amount to little, since she, like all the inhabitants of Alphaville, seems to be brainwashed by the city's almighty  computer Alpha 60 ... it seems Caution only managed to escape the brainwashing because he gave the computer a false identity, that of a journalist from Figaro-Pravda.

It takes a while though before Caution can break through Natacha's mental programming, by reading her poetry full of words she doesn't understand - cause you see, the brainwashing is based on a dictionary called The Bible that tells the citizens of Alphaville which words do, and which words do no longer exist, and a new bible is written every day, omitting ever more words. However, when he finally has conme through to Natacha, he is arrested and brought back to Alpha 60 for further questioning - but feeds the computer with questions that will eventually destroy the computer like a virus. Then he shoots his way out of the Alpha 60 building and meets with Von Braun, to find him a hopeless megelomaniac ... and when Von Braun threatens him, he shoots him as well ...

With Von Braun & especially the computer gone, chaos breaks loose, & without mind control, many of the Alphavillians die ... Lemmy though manages to fetch Natacha and escape - and wish Alphaville a better future.

 


Flix.com

From 1953 - and the film La Mome Vert-de-Gris/Poison Ivy (director Bernard Borderie) - onwards, American actor Eddie Constantine found success in a French series of films about the super agent Lemmy Caution. By 1965 however, the formula had grown somewhat stale - even though a very similar formula, but on a larger scale, was applied to the then incredibly successful James Bond series. To infuse the Lemmy Caution-series with new blood, someone had the idea to cross the formula with then-popular Nouvelle Vague filmmaking techniques, and thus Jean-Luc Godard, a fan of pulp detectives as well as the Nouvelle Vague director was hired and pretty much given carte blanche ... the idea (back then) did not prove too successful, since the Lemmy Caution series was suspended after this one - that said though, nowadays Alphaville is probably the most popular of the Lemmy Caution films.

The film might not be much as a routine pulp detective flick, but as an experiment, it is nothing short of fascinating, a mix of pulp cinema, George Orwell's 1984,  and poetic and philosophical ideas, with Paris masquerading as a cold, futuristic, anti-utopian city (without relying on anything but clever camera set-ups), and Eddie Constantine giving his usual, unique performance as the lead character.

Not to be missed.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD