Thursday, April 21, 2022
Women Are Like That (1960)
Peter Cheyney was one of a number of English crime writers in the 30s and 40s who aped the American hardboiled style (another notable example being James Hadley Chase). Their knowledge of the American underworld, American police procedures and American culture in general was gleaned entirely from Hollywood movies and American novels which gave their books an odd distinctive quality. Cheyney enjoyed his greatest success with his Lemmy Caution thrillers. Lemmy Caution is an American FBI agent. He likes whiskey and he likes women. He also likes getting into trouble.
The books were hugely popular in Britain but even more popular on the Continent and the French film adaptations enjoyed immense success. They made gravel-voiced granite-faced American singer-actor Eddie Constantine not just a star but a pop culture icon.
Like the books the Lemmy Caution movies have a definite tongue-in-cheek quality. They’re hardboiled but with an emphasis on action and wisecracks.
I'll Say She Does.
In Women Are Like That Emmy is on assignment in Paris. His orders are to keep a low profile. Lemmy has his own ideas about what keeping a low profile means. The first thing he does is to start a brawl in a girlie bar. That gets him arrested. The French police are irritated and they’re even more irritated when they discover that they are going to have to co-operate with this impossible man. They have their orders.
The case involves a super-spy named Varley. No-one knows what Varley looks like, but the police have a lead and Lemmy has a contact in Paris who knows something. Lemmy meets his contact in an art gallery (after trying to pick up the lady who runs the gallery).
The frail in the art gallery is Isabelle (Françoise Prévost). She gives Lemmy the cold shoulder, and then suddenly she’s interested. He should smell a rat. To his credit he is suspicious, but not suspicious enough.
But there’s yet another dame mixed up in this, Général Rupert’s niece Martine (Françoise Brion). The general is in charge of the French end of the investigation. Martine happens to bear a striking resemblance to a glamorous lady spy of Lemmy’s acquaintance and it occurs to Lemmy that this could be useful. He needs a break, given that the man who could have helped him break the case has been murdered.
A case involving three beautiful dangerous women. They’re the cases Lemmy really enjoys.
There’s a pretty decent plot here, with the necessary spy thriller twists.
These movies are I’m afraid rather politically incorrect, but they’re so shameless and unapologetic about it that no reasonable person could object.
If you’ve never seen any of the Lemmy Caution movies you’re in for a treat. They’re clearly modelled on American crime B-movies but with a French twist. And if you haven’t yet made the acquaintance of the great Eddie Constantine you’re in for an even bigger treat. This is what B-movie acting is all about.
Women Are Like That is wonderful entertainment. Highly recommended.