‘The Crime is Mine’

A comedy film about two actresses confessing to murder.


“The Crime Is Mine” opens at the M.V. Film Center on Friday, March 29. Directed by François Ozon, his 22nd film, this French screwball comedy is set in the 1930s. The 1934 play on which it is based has already been adapted twice into American films.

“The Crime Is Mine” stars Nadia Tereszkiewicz as the young, blonde would-be actress Madeleine Verdier; also stars Rebecca Marder as Pauline Mauléon, a young lawyer with no clients who is Madeleine’s friend; and the legendary Isabelle Huppert as Odette Chaumette, the nutty, outrageously has-been silent film actress. The New York Times has named Huppert one of the top actresses of the 21st century.

What’s interesting about “The Crime Is Mine” is the modern innuendos that keep it from being an ordinary vintage ’30s comedy,

This goofy tale begins with penniless Madeleine, dressed in glamorous art deco costumes, along with her friend Pauline, brunette of course, anxious about their five-month-overdue rent. On top of it, Madeleine is not much of an actress, and has had no success in landing movie roles. She’s even thinking about suicide, and has the gun to do it with.

When she gets a casting call from a famous but lecherous producer, she finds herself sexually accosted by him. In defense, she pulls out her gun and shoots him.

She’s arrested for murder, and ends up on trial before the befuddled investigating judge Gustave Rabusset (Fabrice Luchini). Luckily, her gorgeous looks work in her favor, and with her lawyer friend fighting for her self-defense, she’s exonerated. Here’s where a modern innuendo comes in, in that it is more likely her crime is a feminist one, and justifiable today. Madeleine becomes a tabloid sensation, finds herself out of debt, and even wins an acting role.

In the meantime, she has been romanced by Andre Bonnard (Édouard Sulpice), who’s heir to a tire fortune. The problem is that if he wants to inherit the tire business and pay off his gambling debts, he’ll have to marry an unattractive but wealthy “other” woman. He lets Madeleine know in that case she’ll serve as his mistress. Madeleine wants no part of it. Gilbert Raton, a reporter (Félix Lefebvre), plays a role by publicizing Madeleine’s justified crime.

Isabelle Huppert as Odette, complete with wild red hair and a cuckoo hat, arrives in a tour de force, insisting that she’s the one who should confess to the murder, and demands money in return.

This combination of vintage and modern make “The Crime Is Mine” an enjoyable comedy well worth watching.

Information and tickets for “The Crime Is Mine” are available at mvfilmsociety.com