Jean Renoir’s beguiling final Hollywood film was conceived as something that would defy conventional narrative storytelling while also exploring the nature of sexual attraction. Robert Ryan’s PTSD-riddled Scott meets Joan Bennett’s steely-eyed Peggy on a deserted beach one day and they’re immediately drawn to each other, despite their respective romantic relationships, particularly Peggy’s with her blind painter husband (an outstandingly gruff Charles Bickford). The mood slowly darkens as Scott and Peggy’s mutual lust overwhelms each nightmarish interaction. The final film, re-edited and re-shot after an ill-fated test screening, may not be as Renoir initially intended, but a special strangeness—an almost ghost-like quality—remains, as does the defiant energy that he brought to this fascinating curio.

Restored by the Library of Congress and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

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