Circonstances Attenuantes (1939)

Genres - Comedy  |   Run Time - 87 min.  |   Countries - France  |  
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Circonstance Attenuantes (Circumstantial Evidence) stars Michel Simon as a judge known as Le Sentencier because of his stern adherence to the letter of the law. In private life, however, the judge is hardly a bastion of severity, concocting an elaborate excuse to visit his mistress while on vacation with his terrifying wife. En route to his assignation, the judge stumbles onto a criminal gang headed by the lovely Marie (Arletty). Because of his thorough knowledge of the law, the judge is mistaken for a criminal mastermind whom the gang has been waiting for. Revelling in this misapprehension, our hero decides to supervise a series of robberies, using his knowledge of due process and rules of evidence to escape detection--though he soothes his conscience by secretly paying for all his ill-gotten gains. As a climax to his short life of crime, the judge leads the gang to his own home, where he gleefully orders them to remove all the hideous furnishings with which his wife has adorned the place over the past several years! Delightfully acted, Circonstance Attenuantes arrives at a moralistic conclusion, though one half-wishes that the judge and his new friends will escape scot-free.

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Keywords

criminal, escape, evidence, extramarital-affair, gangster, judge, mastermind, mistaken-identity, mistress, robbery, Robin-Hood, vacation