Release date30 September 1958 (1958-09-30) (Venice)
5 November 1958 (1958-11-05) (France)
26 October 1959 (1959-10-26) (USA) Based onPoint de Lendemain
by Dominique Vivant WriterLouise de Vilmorin (dialogue) ScreenplayLouis Malle, Louise Leveque de Vilmorin CastJeanne Moreau (Jeanne Tournier), Alain Cuny (Henri Tournier), José Luis de Villalonga (Raoul Flores), Jean-Marc Bory (Bernard Dubois-Lambert), Judith Magre (Maggy Thiebaut-Leroy), Gaston Modot (Coudray) Similar moviesKnock Knock, Cheeky, Lie with Me, Jamon Jamon, Heavenly Creatures, Fish Tank
The lovers 1958
The Lovers (French: Les amants) is a 1958 French drama film directed by Louis Malle and starring Jeanne Moreau, Alain Cuny, and Jean-Marc Bory. Based on the novel Point de Lendemain by Dominique Vivant, the film is about a woman involved in adultery who rediscovers human love. The Lovers was Malle's second feature film, made when he was 25 years old. The film was a box office hit in France when released theatrically gaining 2,594,160 admissions in France alone. The film was highly controversial for its depiction of allegedly obscene material when released in the United States. At the 1958 Venice Film Festival, the film won the Special Jury Prize and was nominated for the Golden Lion.
Jeanne Tournier (Moreau) lives with her husband Henri (Alain Cuny) and child in a mansion near Dijon. Her emotionally remote husband is a busy newspaper owner who has little time for his wife, except when he chooses to place demands upon her; often they sleep in separate rooms. Jeanne escapes to Paris regularly when she can spend time with her chic friend Maggy (Judith Magre) and the polo-playing Raoul (José Luis de Vilallonga), Maggy's friend and Jeanne's lover.
Jeanne's constant talk of Maggy and Raoul leads to Henri demanding that Jeanne invite them to dinner and to stay as overnight guests. Jeanne's car breaks down on the day of the dinner party, and she accepts a lift from a younger man, Bernard (Jean-Marc Bory), and then asks him to drive her home. By the time they get back, Maggy and Raoul have already arrived at the mansion. It transpires that Bernard, an archaeologist, is the son of a friend of Jeanne's husband, and he too is added to the guest list. Jeanne spurns Raoul's advances, claiming it is too dangerous, but she spends time in a small boat on the river with the attentive Bernard. Clandestinely, they spend the night together. In the morning, to the surprise of everyone, Jeanne leaves with Bernard for a new life.
Jeanne Moreau as Jeanne Tournier
Jean-Marc Bory as Bernard Dubois-Lambert
Judith Magre as Maggy Thiebaut-Leroy
José Luis de Vilallonga as Raoul Flores
Gaston Modot as Coudray
Michèle Girardon as La secrétaire
Lucienne Hamon as Chantal
Georgette Lobre as Marthe
Claude Mansard as Marcelot
Alain Cuny as Henri Tournier
American obscenity case
The film is important in American legal history as it resulted in a court case that questioned the definition of obscenity. A showing of the film in Cleveland Heights, Ohio's Coventry Village resulted in a criminal conviction of the theatre manager for public depiction of obscene material. He appealed his conviction to the United States Supreme Court, which reversed the conviction and ruled that the film was not obscene in its written opinion (Jacobellis v. Ohio). The case resulted in Justice Potter Stewart's famously subjective definition of hard-core pornography: "I know it when I see it." (Stewart did not consider the film to be such.)