The Law Screen 3 articles

The Law

1959

The Law Poster
  • 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.

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    Cahiers du cinéma: Jean-Luc Godard
    March 1959 | Godard on Godard (p. 127)

    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.