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Le Crime de Monsieur Lange

(French 1936 b 78')

En: 7 Ed: 7


After an unscrupulous publisher absconds, the workers form a cooperative and make a success of a writer's stories; but the publisher returns and is murdered.

At a border hotel Amadee Lange (René Lefevre) and Valentine (Florelle) get a room. Lange is wanted for murder, and people discuss whether to turn him in. So Valentine tells them his story.

Dreamer Lange writes about Arizona Jim, and Valentine brings his clean laundry, asking if he likes girls. Magazine publisher Batala (Jules Berry) owes money and bribes a collector to go away. Batala kisses his secretary Edith (Sylvia Bataille); but Valentine resists him. Baigneur (J. B. Brunius) accuses Batala of swindling for not publishing three wholesome books. Batala tells Lange they will publish Arizona Jim, and Lange signs a contract. Lange tells Estelle (Nadia Sibirskaia) that she can trust him; but she takes a bus. Valentine shows Lange that his story plugs pills, and Batala tells Lange that he must be realistic about money. Lange gives Batala a registered letter a week old. Batala sends Edith to see Baigneur. Lange tells injured acrobat Charles (Maurice Baquet) that he went to a hotel with Estelle. Charles gets upset, and Lange says he made it up. An inspector comes to see Batala. Edith comes back to Batala and gives him some money. Batala asks Valentine for money and leaves on a train as Edith cries.

Valentine sings to Lange, and they kiss. Radio reports that Batala was killed in a train wreck. Lange is in bed with Valentine. Estelle is pregnant and asks Lange to tell Charles that she cares about him. Workers suggest a cooperative, and Meunier's son (Henri Guisol) approves. Lange opens up the room of Charles, and Estelle tells Charles that she is going to have Batala's baby. Arizona Jim is a success, and Meunier proposes making a movie.

Batala, dressed as a priest, learns that Arizona Jim is selling well. At a banquet the workers celebrate, and Lange leaves to write; but he finds Batala, who says that Arizona Jim is his. Batala says that cooperatives are a joke, and Lange says that Batala ruined the business. Batala corners Valentine, and Lange shoots him. Lange and Valentine tell Meunier, who advises them to flee. Batala asks a drunk employee to get a doctor but dies. At the border hotel Valentine says that Meunier drove them there. In the final scene men say good-bye to the departing couple at the seashore.

This social drama shows how one unethical boss can ruin a company that cooperating workers can make a success. The writer imitates his cowboy hero by killing a bad man for exploiting women and others.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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