ⓘ In Case of Adversity

                                     

ⓘ In Case of Adversity

In Case of Adversity is a 1958 French drama film directed by Claude Autant-Lara, starring Jean Gabin, Brigitte Bardot and Edwige Feuillere. It was released as Love Is My Profession in the United States. It tells the story of a married lawyer who rigs a trial to acquit a young female criminal he has become obsessed with, even to the point of imagining they might have a life together and start a family. The screenplay was written by Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost after the novel In Case of Emergency by Georges Simenon. The film was released in France on 17 September 1958.

                                     

1. Plot

A petty criminal aged 22, the attractive Yvette is caught after robbing a watchmakers shop with a toy pistol and felling his old wife. To defend her, she asks for Andre Gobillot, a leading member of the Paris bar. Telling him she has no money to pay him, she lifts her skirt to show him her goods. Accepting the deal, he arranges a false witness and after getting her acquitted instals her in a small hotel.

His childless wife Viviane realises what is happening but hopes the improbable affair will not last. Knowing nothing about the girl, Gobillot has first to wean her off drink and drugs. He also doesnt know that she is still entertaining her current lover, an impoverished medical student called Mazetti. As Gobillots obsession grows, his wife gets more alarmed and an enquiry is opened into his bribing the witness who lied.

When Yvette tells him she is pregnant, he is overjoyed and books a holiday for the two of them. Before they leave, Yvette cannot resist one last visit to Mazettis sordid room where, enraged with jealousy, he cuts her throat. It is not stated whether Gobillots wife will take him back or if he will still be able to practise law.

                                     

2. Cast

  • Madeleine Barbulee as Bordenave
  • Brigitte Bardot as Yvette Maudet
  • Gabrielle Fontan as Mme Langlois
  • Edwige Feuillere as Viviane Gobillot
  • Jacques Clancy as Duret
  • Nicole Berger as Janine
  • Annick Allieres as Noemie
  • Jean Gabin as Maitre Andre Gobillot
  • Franco Interlenghi as Mazetti
                                     

3. Reception

"Something is obviously missing in the French film that has been made from Georges Simenons weirdly off-beat novel", wrote Bosley Crowther of The New York Times. He continued: "There are elements for shattering drama here. Yet, strangely, it doesnt develop. It all moves along in the groove of conventional nonconformance with the obvious social rules." Crowther called Autant-Lara "one of the best directors in France", but wrote that Bardots performance "falls far short" and that "Jean Gabin misses, too".

François Truffaut called it one of Autant-Laras best films and compared it to the plays of Jean Anouilh, noting:

We come out of it with a mixture of disgust and admiration, a sense of satisfaction that is real enough but incomplete. It is 100 percent French, with all the virtues and vices that implies: an analysis that is at once subtle and narrow, a skill that is mixed with spitefulness, a spirit of unflinching observation directed at the sordid, and talented sleight-of hand that delivers a liberal message in the end.

He described how the film contrasts the scene where Bardots character robs a backstreet watchmenders shop with the ceremonial on the same day of Queen Elizabeth IIs state visit to Paris:

Its the girl who interests us and preoccupies us, not an anachronistic queen. It is precisely because Bardot is a girl who represents her time absolutely faithfully that she is more famous than any queen or princess …. And its why En Cas des Malheur is her best film since And God Created Woman - an anti- Sabrina, anti- Roman Holiday, anti- Anastasia movie that is truly republican.