mercredi 7 août 2013

Night of lust ( 1963)

 ( lire en français)
After Michel Deville's " A cause, à cause d'une femme", my agent Blanche Montel proposed me for the casting of José Benazeraf's second movie : " Le concerto de la peur" ( also known as " La drogue du vice"), a.k.a. Night of lust.

In the midst of rivalries between drug gangsters, laboratory assistant Nora/Yvonne Monlaur has become a compromising witness and is kidnapped and held in a remote house by Eric Wolf/Hans Verner. He falls in love with her. Nora is finally freed by the rival gang and helplessly witnesses Eric'death.

At the time, José benazeraf was best known as a producer. He had not yet won the reputation of cult filmmaker with generations of erotomaniac moviegoers.

I remember he invited me to meet him and his wife in his Paris apartment. He must have had a true passion for Napoleon, as eagle and bee, famous emblems of the emperor, highlighted the living room.

He told me about the film. Rivalries between drug traffickers. He spoke of the importance of my role- Nora, the laboratory assistant, held hostage by a gang and coveted by the Chief played by Hans Verner.
He did not, however, discussed the nudity scenes with me.

With Hans Verner

I was delighted to play alongside Michel Lemoine, whom I already knew. A funny and charming man that I would once play with in "Mission to Caracas".

I also met Jean-Pierre Kalfon. We would work together once again in the television series " Chevalier Bayard".

It was interesting to participate in such a different shooting. The camera was very static. Filming this way was the opposite of what could be expected in a genre film such as "film noir". It ultimately gave the film a very personal tone.

"Night of Lust" was a weird film, but so was its director : kind, cultured, then suddenly very coarse.
Especially during the scene where I fight with Régine Rumen.

Benazeraf abruptly rose from his chair. He came to me and shook me like a plum, accusing me of not being aggressive enough with my jailer. As I don't have the temperament to let others have their way, I began to struggle violently with him as well and, as we continued rehearsing, I had  the feeling that I was fighting him more than Régine!

At other times we walked about literature between takes, me of my dear russians, Pushkin, Gogol and him of Montherlant, whose work he regarded as his bible. But I was careful not to mention my father the poet, because no one in my family was really aware of the kind of screenplay I was involved in, and I did not want it to be otherwise. I still felt that I was shooting a kind of daring film that could shock them.

With Régine Rumen

At another time, I had a love scene with Michel Lemoine in the Verrières forest, in the middle of the night. Benazeraf left us free to improvise, it was so cold. We were glad to cuddle each other in order to keep warm. But this was not enough to protect us.
When the last shot was completed, the actors and the technical team left with a heavy cold.

With Hans Verner and Michel Lemoine

After this film, I was offered many nude parts. Eroticism got very popular in the 70s and began to become a key ingredient in the production of genre films.
But I had no intention to spent my time catching colds on movie sets !
I got some interesting proposals from abroad but they would have kept me away from my family at a time when I needed a more stable life. I turned to television.

Nora at Eric's bedside ( with Michel Lemoine and Hans Verner)

"Night of lust" was released at Paris in the famous Midi Minuit theater.
The room was full. I know. I was part of the audience. It is always a satisfaction, when you have made a movie, to come incognito in order to discover the first public reactions. " Night of lust" was well received.

I wish you all a great summer vacation.
Thank you for your kind comments. I kiss you.

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