Montand was the superstar draw, but more interesting now is to see Mastroianni’s burgeoning charm. Lollobrigida is all determination and low-cut dresses, and the film is surprisingly kind to her. The Law was released in the US as Where the Hot Wind Blows, a much more evocative title that gets to the sweaty, lusty heart of the film. It’s a perfect summer film—close your eyes and you can almost feel the ocean breeze that blows through the trees, even if it’s actually the MoMA air conditioning.
It is this strange, digressive looseness that makes The Law such an appealing find, as though all these genres are cards in a deck that Dassin keeps shuffling. It's a strange "whatzit," a curio by definition, mixing and matching tones to offer moments of levity, violence, music, tragedy, and most of all, theater. For a director known for filming on the streets of New York or London or San Francisco, The Law finds him moving from rawness towards the pleasures of artifice.
A few scenes of singing and dancing point to the direction it should have taken – a sort of modern Harlequin and Columbine. Once again, alas, our Jules, believing himself to be Hercules, took himself seriously and plunged on the contrary into Melina-melodrama. The result, of course, is not one good shot in two hours of film. Mastroianni hams horribly. Pierre Brasseur is half asleep, and Montand I have seen better.