THE LIGHT ACROSS THE STREET
Also known as "La lumière d'en face"
Les Productions Jacques Gauthier, 1956. Directed by
Georges Lacombe. Camera: Louis Page. With Raymond
Pellegrin, Roger Pigaut, Brigitte Bardot, Claude Romain, Jean Debucourt,
Antonin Berval, Guy Piérauld,
Lucien Hubert, Daniel Ceccaldi, Christine Gouze-Rénal,
Georges Lacombe 's most famous works are
certainly "le dernier des six" (1941), which owes a lot to HG
Clouzot,"Martin Roumagnac" where Gabin teamed with Marlene
Dietrich—but as a seed merchant, she was miscast!—and "le pays sans
étoile which has become very hard to see.
"La lumière d'en face' is one of these little gems which should not
be missed. Crazy it certainly is, as the precedent user says, but
not crazier than
The Postman Always Rings Twice, which it sometimes recalls.
Brigitte Bardot and her impotent(!) husband run a small restaurant.
Across the road, two men run a gas station. Most of the time, and
because of a diversion/detour, this quartet is on his own.
More than Roger Vadim and his mediocre "et Dieu créa la femme," it's
actually Georges Lacombe who revealed
Brigitte Bardot's sensuality and intense erotic potential.
Bardot brought a new form of eroticism, with her spontaneity, her
absence of hypocrisy and she managed to stay very natural because of
Lacombe's excellent direction. Things were to get wrong afterwards
with Vadim's disastrous turkeys. But it emerged again, notably in
H.G. Clouzot's "la vérité" and Louis Malle's "vie privée" and "Viva
The film has a very good male cast too. Raymond Pellegrin—who was
the hero of the first (and best ) version of "Manon des sources"—in
a thankless part, plays a neurotic man eaten with desire, sometimes
recalling Van Heflin; Roger Pigault plays the handsome gas station
man who, of course, covets the wife. But more than the story, it's
the atmosphere that matters: a sultry place, with the insects noise
and four human beings about to explode.
The movie has a prologue and an epilogue which are downright
embarrassing. It was obviously intended to lecture, to edify
the audience. It was probably imposed on Lacombe by his
producers for fear the censorship may be infuriated, because this is
a rather risky movie.
Poster artwork courtesy of Dieter