The Woman on the Beach

Screening on Film
Directed by Jean Renoir.
With Joan Bennett, Robert Ryan, Charles Bickford.
US, 1947, 35mm, black & white, 71 min.
Print source: Warner Bros.

Joan Bennett had starred in Scarlet Street, Fritz Lang’s Hollywood remake of La Chienne. That connection led to Renoir’s directing this noirish tale of a love triangle between an older man, a traumatized ex-soldier and a femme fatale. Renoir had wanted to make a film about a purely physical erotic connection, but studio interference invariably diluted this idea, and a disastrous preview screening led to extensive reshoots. Nevertheless, Jacques Rivette regarded the film as a masterpiece: “if there is such a thing as pure cinema, it is to be found in The Woman on the Beach.” 

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