Le chevalier de la nuit (1953)

aka Knight of the Night

Article 3590 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-27-2011
Posting Date: 6-13-2011
Directed by Robert Darene
Featuring Renee Saint-Cyr, Jean-Claude Pascal, Gregoire Aslan
Country: France
What it is: Jekyll-and-Hyde romance

A ballerina’s husband has been split into two personalities, and she finds herself falling in love with one of them while growing to hate the other.

Because I knew my copy of this was going to be in unsubtitled French, I tried finding a few plot descriptions. Those that I found made a bit of a deal about the Jekyll-and-Hyde connection, but I found knowing this sometimes confused the issue when I was trying to watch the movie. One of the personalities seems to be an arsonist who can set fire with his touch, but the other one is the one who seems mean and cruel. This somewhat confuses the issue about which is good and which is evil, though maybe that’s the point; I do know the arsonist seems to mostly work on people who themselves are not good, such as the man who is beating a horse. Still, I wish there were subtitles to help me clarify it, but since this is one of those movies that ended up on my “ones that got away” list after lingering too long on my hunt list, I consider myself lucky just to have seen it. There’s some nice spooky touches, especially in a dark castle during the first part of the movie. Part of my confusion may be due to the fact that it seems more like Poe’s “William Wilson” than “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, if for no other reason in that the two sides of the personality have separate but identical bodies.


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