Stavisky

  • 1974
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Biography, Political

A fascinating true story of the man who almost brought down the French government. Serge Stavisky committed suicide on January 3, 1934. The Russian-born promoter had been involved with the issuance of phony bonds and several other crimes, but he had evidently been protected by officials in high places (he supposedly distributed millions of francs in bribes)....read more

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A fascinating true story of the man who almost brought down the French government. Serge Stavisky committed suicide on January 3, 1934. The Russian-born promoter had been involved with the issuance of phony bonds and several other crimes, but he had evidently been protected by officials

in high places (he supposedly distributed millions of francs in bribes). When one of the officials was murdered, there were accusations that this man in the public prosecutor's office was silenced to keep from spilling the beans. Factions from all of the parties began stirring up trouble and

claiming that it was due to the basic corruption in the elected government. Riots began on February 6-8, and a general strike was called. The government teetered and fell, then a new coalition was formed by people who had been outside of the Stavisky influence, and France went on. That's how it

ended. How it all happened is the subject of the movie by Resnais, a different kind of film from the director who helmed LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD and HIROSHIMA, MON AMOUR. The screenplay is by the man who wrote Z, so it is literate and has more than a bit of politics attached. Belmondo plays the

title role, a small-time hustler who migrates to France, becomes an embezzler, and uses his personal charm and diabolical tactics to rise quickly to a place of economic importance with a rash of bold moves. Belmondo's wife is Duperey, who goes along with his machinations, and Boyer is a poor

Spanish nobleman who dreams of stirring up a civil war in Spain and taking over after the current regime has been destroyed. The picture belongs to Belmondo, who oozes confidence as he makes his way up through the whirlpools of politics and emerges as the most powerful man in the country. Then,

when it seems as though he's gone too far, all of his associates desert him and he is left with only one recourse, the taking of his own life. With that, he duplicates what his father did upon hearing that his son had been clapped in jail. The picture is technically brilliant, visually stunning,

and ceaselessly interesting. But the hero is a villain without much to like, and audiences want someone to root for; thus, this movie did not make a great deal at the box office. Sondheim's music is a bit too intellectual for the emotions seen on-screen.

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  • Released: 1974
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: A fascinating true story of the man who almost brought down the French government. Serge Stavisky committed suicide on January 3, 1934. The Russian-born promoter had been involved with the issuance of phony bonds and several other crimes, but he had eviden… (more)

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