Whirlpool of Fate

1925 [FRENCH]

Drama / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 62%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 62%
IMDb Rating 6.7/10 10 701 701


Top cast

720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
763.09 MB
No linguistic content 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 23 min
Seeds 7
1.38 GB
No linguistic content 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 23 min
Seeds 14

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dbdumonteil 6 / 10

A melodrama:it has its moments

To try to find some of the seeds which produced Renoir's masterpieces of the thirties is splitting hairs.All we can say is that it shows Renoir's taste for nature ,rivers,country landscapes.

The heroine called Gudule (the name has become completely ludicrous in today's France ;no one is called Gudule anymore)is played by Renoir's favorite actress of the silent era ,Catherine Hessling.Her fate is worthy of Hugo's "les miserables" :mistreated by a wicked lecherous uncle ,taken in by a poacher and his mum, left in the cold and the rain...And finally she finds love :a nice young man falls for her and marries her.His background is very bourgeois ,but the parents do not seem to bother.That is to say we are far from "Boudu Sauvé des Eaux" ,"La Chienne" and even "Une Partie de Campagne" .

Best moment: the heroine's nightmare;people who know well Renoir's silent era will notice the similarities between this sequence and that of "La Petite Fille aux Allumettes" where the little match girl and her attentive escort go for a horse ride in the sky.The comparison stops here for " La Fille de l'Eau' is inferior to the Andersen adaptation.

Actually the main influence is DW Griffith but then again Hessling is not

Lilian Gish.

For Renoir's fans.The others might find it a bit obsolete.

Reviewed by RNQ 8 / 10

Unprotected young woman

A complex and sympathetic narrative about a young woman that begins with her working on a river barge with her father and her uncle and follows her through difficult circumstances after her father dies, exploited but resourceful, even using petty crime, particularly in the company of a scampish boy. There's something Pickfordesque about Catherine Hessling (who became Mme. Renoir), and a touch of D. W. Griffith in her occasional hanky-winding, but Renoir is not as sentimental. There's a dream sequence as good as Hitchcock decades later, night scenes (a haystack on fire), and observations about the ways of the well-born that are a start on the way to La Règle du jeu.

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 7 / 10

WHIRLPOOL OF FATE (Jean Renoir, 1925) ***

Admittedly made merely to exploit his wife Catherine Hessling's "photogenic" attributes, Jean Renoir's solo directorial debut already displays his trademark humanism and painterly eye – while Hessling herself turns in a far more naturalistic performance here than she did in NANA (1926).

The plot is simple and melodramatic: Hessling loses her father, is abused by her brutish uncle (possibly inspired by Griffith's BROKEN BLOSSOMS [1919]), falls in with crooked gypsies (who ultimately incur the wrath of the people and have their caravan burned to the ground), is taken in by a wealthy family but is caught stealing for her uncle's sake…until the latter gets his come-uppance and the girl is engaged to her employer's young son. The accompanying organ score is effectively evocative to begin with but, eventually, it takes a tediously avant-gardist turn.

The film's barge opening anticipates Jean Vigo's L'ATALANTE (1934) and the search at sea, F.W. Murnau's SUNRISE (1927); there is also some remarkably fast cutting throughout, a style which Renoir would largely forsake in his subsequent work. The highlight of WHIRPLOOL OF FATE, however, is undoubtedly an amazing dream sequence which, uncharacteristically for the director, is heavily reliant on optical effects and camera technique; incidentally, the two shorts I followed it with on Lionsgate 3-Disc "Jean Renoir's Collector's Edition" proved similarly experimental.

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