Die ebenso bemerkenswerte wie rare Dostojewski-Adaption im Gewand eines Film Noir
The cast and credits read "inspired by Dostoïevski" and it is obvious that not only the novel has undergone some changes ,but the movie also fails to capture the soul of Russia.Instead,we have a fifties french film Noir in the grand tradition of "La Neige Était Sale" ,"Voici Le Temps Des Assassins " "Avant Le Deluge" "Le Septième Juré " ....
Charles Spaak wrote a depressing screenplay ,depicting a world where the sun never shines on the poor:"we're already dead",says Lily the Hooker who puts her trust in God though ;but the hero can only kneel down to human destitution:thus the scene involving Yvette Etievant and her barfly of a husband is perhaps the most impressive in the movie .René (Raskolnikov)'s crime is no greed but rebellion against the establishment ,he tells it so to superintendent Gallet (Porphyre).By introducing René's mother and his sister,he discovers there are two kind of prostitution:Lily who feeds her drunken father's wife and kids ;her own sister,only 18,who is to make a money match with a vicious antique dealer,fond of very Young girls he lures with clothes or bars of chocolate,who also helped her old wife to commit suicide (but this kind of crime is not punished by a society which is hard only on humble people ).
Directing by Georges Lampin is efficient ,but it 's mainly the cast and the performances which can attract today's audience :Gabin,Blain,and Gabrielle Fontan -here cast as the usurer- would team up again in Duvivier's "Voici Le Temps Des Assassins" ;Bernard Blier is cast against type as a cynical antique dealer:the last face he will see will be that of Marina Vlady ,his daughter in "Avant Le Deluge".Vlady had married Robert Hossein the year before and they would often work together afterward .Hossein is the stand out ,his performance of the feverish desperate tormented student is very convincing. (imdb)