Le Mouton Enrage


1h 45m 1974

Film Details

Also Known As
Enraged Sheep, The, French Way, Love at the Top, Mouton Enrage
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1974

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Synopsis

Film Details

Also Known As
Enraged Sheep, The, French Way, Love at the Top, Mouton Enrage
MPAA Rating
Release Date
1974

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)

Articles

Love at the Top


Imagine Claude Chabrol with a sunnier disposition and you've got a fairly solid description of Michel Deville, the unassuming director of a string of quirky character studies for over four decades. Largely unknown in the U.S. apart from his minor hit La Lectrice (The Reader) (1988), his affinity for whimsical thrillers has yielded some worthwhile films prime for rediscovery, such as the erotically charged Death in a French Garden and the earlier Le mouton enrage, christened by Pathfinder Video as Love at the Top since its literal title, "The Angry Sheep," might look a little strange on a DVD cover.

Milquetoast bank teller Nicolas (a doughy-looking Jean-Louis Trintignant) picks up pretty Marie-Paule (pop star Jane Birkin), a sweet call girl whom he forces into bed. Impressed by the macho potential lurking in his friend, wheelchair-bound author Claude (Jean-Pierre Cassel) decides to turn Nicolas into a wheeler-dealer ladies' man capable of pulling off outrageous business deals by mixing sex and cash. While poor Marie-Paule is used as bait and soon winds up engaged to a man she doesn't love, Nicolas is entangled with and falls for ravishing Roberte (Romy Schneider), leading to a tragic, ironic, but ultimately redemptive finale.

For the bulk of its running time, Love at the Top plays like a standard French sex comedy along the lines of such cheesecake chestnuts as The Libertine (also with Trintignant), laced with healthy dollops of bare flesh. Shot with a minimum of fuss, the film is orchestrated to move along smoothly until it takes a nasty turn in the third act, revealing a sad view of human nature in which progress carries a swift, terrible price. The subsequent "happy" ending can't help but feel a bit tainted, as the surviving characters try to compensate for some very bad behavior indeed. Though saddled with a nearly impossible role, Trintignant does his best and remains his usual appealing self even when he's performing despicable schemes against the opposite sex. However, the women are the real show here as Schneider, Birkin, and Eurocult icon Florinda Bolkan (Flavia the Heretic) make the most of their glamorous turns as three very different women who each find a different fate with our duplicitous hero.

Pathfinder's DVD features the same strengths and weaknesses as its past French cinema releases. On the positive side, the multiple language options include the French and English language tracks with optional English subtitles, allowing a fascinating on-the-fly comparison between the two versions (with the French one winning, obviously, but the dub is worth a few minutes of time for the sake of contrast). Extras include two Deville interviews, one a text piece written for a critical magazine and the other an audio Q&A in French with very simplified English cards onscreen to translate. While the film itself merits a mention here and there, both discussions are mainly career overviews in which he maintains his intent to capture real life on film (and if that's the case, he must have one very interesting life). On the downside, the letterboxed transfer is not 16x9 enhanced and looks fairly bleary; colors are fine but blacks tend to become dirty and washed-out, while details ranges from solid to fuzzy depending on the scene. A worthy title for French film buffs seeking a solid blend of intellecutal substance and good old-fashioned '70s-style sex appeal.

For more information about Love at the Top, visit Pathfinder Pictures. To order Love at the Top, go to TCM Shopping.

by Nathaniel Thompson
Love At The Top

Love at the Top

Imagine Claude Chabrol with a sunnier disposition and you've got a fairly solid description of Michel Deville, the unassuming director of a string of quirky character studies for over four decades. Largely unknown in the U.S. apart from his minor hit La Lectrice (The Reader) (1988), his affinity for whimsical thrillers has yielded some worthwhile films prime for rediscovery, such as the erotically charged Death in a French Garden and the earlier Le mouton enrage, christened by Pathfinder Video as Love at the Top since its literal title, "The Angry Sheep," might look a little strange on a DVD cover. Milquetoast bank teller Nicolas (a doughy-looking Jean-Louis Trintignant) picks up pretty Marie-Paule (pop star Jane Birkin), a sweet call girl whom he forces into bed. Impressed by the macho potential lurking in his friend, wheelchair-bound author Claude (Jean-Pierre Cassel) decides to turn Nicolas into a wheeler-dealer ladies' man capable of pulling off outrageous business deals by mixing sex and cash. While poor Marie-Paule is used as bait and soon winds up engaged to a man she doesn't love, Nicolas is entangled with and falls for ravishing Roberte (Romy Schneider), leading to a tragic, ironic, but ultimately redemptive finale. For the bulk of its running time, Love at the Top plays like a standard French sex comedy along the lines of such cheesecake chestnuts as The Libertine (also with Trintignant), laced with healthy dollops of bare flesh. Shot with a minimum of fuss, the film is orchestrated to move along smoothly until it takes a nasty turn in the third act, revealing a sad view of human nature in which progress carries a swift, terrible price. The subsequent "happy" ending can't help but feel a bit tainted, as the surviving characters try to compensate for some very bad behavior indeed. Though saddled with a nearly impossible role, Trintignant does his best and remains his usual appealing self even when he's performing despicable schemes against the opposite sex. However, the women are the real show here as Schneider, Birkin, and Eurocult icon Florinda Bolkan (Flavia the Heretic) make the most of their glamorous turns as three very different women who each find a different fate with our duplicitous hero. Pathfinder's DVD features the same strengths and weaknesses as its past French cinema releases. On the positive side, the multiple language options include the French and English language tracks with optional English subtitles, allowing a fascinating on-the-fly comparison between the two versions (with the French one winning, obviously, but the dub is worth a few minutes of time for the sake of contrast). Extras include two Deville interviews, one a text piece written for a critical magazine and the other an audio Q&A in French with very simplified English cards onscreen to translate. While the film itself merits a mention here and there, both discussions are mainly career overviews in which he maintains his intent to capture real life on film (and if that's the case, he must have one very interesting life). On the downside, the letterboxed transfer is not 16x9 enhanced and looks fairly bleary; colors are fine but blacks tend to become dirty and washed-out, while details ranges from solid to fuzzy depending on the scene. A worthy title for French film buffs seeking a solid blend of intellecutal substance and good old-fashioned '70s-style sex appeal. For more information about Love at the Top, visit Pathfinder Pictures. To order Love at the Top, go to TCM Shopping. by Nathaniel Thompson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1974

Released in United States 1974