Some film historians regard Yves Allegret's Une si Jolie Petite Plage (aka Such a Pretty Little Beach and Riptide) as the French director's finest work. Yet, it was twice ignored by American filmgoers when it was released in the U.S. in February and July of 1949. Perhaps those filmgoers weren't prepared for Allegret's merciless, almost sadistic assault on audience sensibilities. Gerard Phillipe plays Pierre, who escapes to a coastal village in Northern France after accidentally killing a famous singer. Pierre had grown up in the village and had hoped to find inner peace by returning to his roots. Instead, the grotesque pettiness of the local townsfolk, the duplicity of friends and "loved ones," and the relentlessly rotten weather conjoin to drive Pierre to desperation.
by Hal Erickson synopsis