No Sun in Venice (1957) Poster

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Worth it for the music and the visuals
drbobgold24 March 2009
I have been waiting to see this movie again for fifty years, and now I find that it was shown at MOMA in 2008. I was originally drawn to No Sun in Venice by the Modern Jazz Quartet's score, and the memory of the funeral scene on the Grand Canal as the black gondola's glided by with the procession to the MJQ piece entitled CORTEGE is a haunting one.

The music album is widely available on CD and DVD (though I am still playing the LP), but it goes so wonderfully with the gorgeous photography that it is a shame that the movie has never been released in the United States on VCR or DVD. Perhaps someone will discover and revive it as so many lesser movies of that era are so widely available.
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Music outdoes the story
paul-213621 June 2011
The film opens with a cartoon, as another reviewer has stated, and the camera pulls back to reveal a movie theater. One of the theater goers (the main character) leaves, and once outside, begins to cross a bridge in Venice, at which point, the music ("The Golden Striker") starts, with a compelling sense of drama. Unfortunately, that's about the only dramatic moment. The plot is trite and predictable, and the music carries the film. It seems not to be available on DVD, and no wonder: the MJQ's score is the only interesting thing, so you might just as well get the album, which, after 54 years, remains compelling. I still have the vinyl platter in its original cover, but am delighted to have downloaded it from Amazon.
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Garish melodrama
pstumpf20 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Venice in winter provides the reliably attractive setting for this movie that begins as a free-spirited romance and declines into a laughably Gothic melodrama.

Rather puzzlingly, it begins with a full-screen presentation of a Gerald McBoing Boing animation; about halfway through it, there's an insert shot of an audience laughing in a cinema, and the rest of the cartoon is shown on the smaller screen that the audience is watching. This sets up the flirtatious encounter between two exiting patrons Sophie (Francoise Arnoul) and Michel(Christian Marquand)(and also prompts the question - why a cartoon at the end of the show?). Despite a confrontation with Sforzi (Robert Hossein), who pretends to be Sophie's brother, but acts more like a jealous lover, Sophie brings Robert home to her room in a Venetian palazzo, which is owned by the reclusive Baron von Bergen (O.E. Hasse), protected by two comically ineffectual bodyguards. The baron is also jealous of Sophie, and Michel sensibly decides to treat his night with Sophie as a one-night stand. However, they can't keep away from each other; soon enough, money and murder lead to chases down Venetian alleyways and across rooftops and a predictably violent denouement.

Sumptuous settings and skillful cinematography keep the visuals consistently interesting; there's a wonderful shot, framed by an archway, of the lovers walking through the Piazza San Marco, with the pigeons erupting and flurrying about them. One surprising element is John Lewis's elegant score, played by the Modern Jazz Quartet; given the trashy story, one would expect a fully overstated sturm-und-drang score of the most old-fashioned kind. Lewis's spare and sparkling tunes lend a sophisticated patina to the junk on screen.

Seen, in a faded print with heavy magenta overtones, at MoMA on June 18, 2008.
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the picturing does it
wvisser-leusden6 January 2012
'Sait-on jamais' (= French for 'one never knows') is a typical Vadim-film: a nice picturing supports the public mood of its times -- while containing a pretty meagre plot.

As the public mood of 1957 is beyond memory for most of us, the nice picturing of Venice at the times is all that's left to us. Unfortunately, that's not enough.

the barely adequate quality of 'Sait-on jamais' is also illustrated by the necessary support of Arnoul's nakedness. Daring to the standards of 1957.

All in all, 'Sait-on jamais' is a film you do not want to see twice.
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Rat race
dbdumonteil24 December 2016
Imagine Juliete (BB ,"Et Dieu Créa La Femme")chooses to follow her millionaire (Curd Jurgens).She becomes a kept woman living with a shady German (an ex-Nazi)who could be her father and is wooed by a good-looking man (Christian Marquand ,who courts her in "Et Dieu...." ).There the comparison ends,for Françoise Arnoul is an old school actress,often directed by Henry Decoin ("La Chatte " which features a memorable hot erotic questioning) or Henri Verneuil.

I've never been a fan of the new wave,let alone Vadim (in the cast and credits ,his first name does not appear,which is very rare),but I must say that "Sait -On Jamais? " (the question is uttered by Marquand at the beginning of the film ;as it is short,watch out!)has stood the test of time better than most of his flicks which ,seen today ,often sink into ridicule .

This must be the atmosphere .The screenplay is poorly written and the viewer does not really care for this 2 million coup .

The cinematography (by Armand Thirard) uses the wide screen and Eastmancolor with talent : Venice has perhaps never been filmed so nicely (except maybe in Roeg's "don't look back" ),and the interiors of the Venetian palaces have something venomous (note the presence of Daniel Emilfork ,the most sinister-looking French actor,as a servant )

The movie also shows that Vadim could have been a true film noir director,had he not succumbed to the N.W vices (loose screenplays,cult of youth ,navel-gazing,cheap eroticism):

-the murder of O.E. Hasse ,with Hossein's tears falling on his cheeks ,in an unusual inventive scene .

-the macabre procession on the blue-green waters of Venice canals ,which may have inspired Nicholas Roeg.

On the other hand ,the Boing Boing cartoon which opens the movie ,unless it forebodes the characters 'impossibility to communicate - after all,there are Germans,French and Italians),is mostly filler .
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