OF THE ORCHID
2. Bluebell Films.
on James Hadley Chase's sequel to his infamous No Orchids
for Miss Blandish (filmed in 1948 and, as The
Grissom Gang, in 1974), this convoluted French thriller
has the problem of being the follow-up to a story that most
people would be unfamiliar with, and doesn't help itself by
simply throwing in several thinly - if at all - defined characters
and then slowly building events around them, without bothering
to fill in the back story until late in proceedings (and even
then, doing so very reluctantly and loosely).
its core, it features Charlotte Rampling as an heiress who has
been unfairly (so it seems at first) institutionalised by her
greedy family. Escaping from the hospital in the opening scenes,
she eventually hooks up with Bruno Cremer, who is on the run
after witnessing a murder by two knife-throwers-turned-hitmen.
With the pair being (separately) hunted by the hitmen, the family
and various greedy people eager to cash in on a reward, they
attempt to escape but are soon drawn into ever more bizarre
of the Orchid is certainly never dull, but it is frustratingly
oblique throughout. It's very much a product of the time and
place, as fans of Seventies French cinema will recognise, and
makes few concessions to the audience. Rampling is excellent,
it must be said - seemingly sane (though her penchant for blinding
men who attack her is perhaps a clue otherwise), she manages
to tread the line between normality and insanity well. She's
the standout in a film where most characters are too thinly
drawn to impress.
Chereau directs with a sure hand, and the dour look of the film
is perfect for the story. But this is a mixed bag that could
annoy as much as entertain, so be warned - it's not for all
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