The writer, actor, and director Sacha Guitry emerged from the theater to become one of Franceâs best-known and most inventive filmmakers, and La poison
marked his first collaboration with another titan of the screen, the incomparably expressive Michel Simon. With Guitryâs witty dialogue and fleet pacing, the black comedy is the quintessential depiction of a marriage gone sour: after thirty years together, a village gardener (Simon) and his wife (Germaine Reuver) find themselves contemplating how to do away with each other, with the former even planning how heâll negotiate his eventual criminal trial. Inspired by Guitryâs own postâWorld War II tangle with the lawâa wrongful charge of collaborationismâLa poison
is a blithely caustic broadside against the French legal system and a society all too eager to capitalize on othersâ misfortunes.
- New interview with filmmaker Olivier Assayas on director Sacha Guitryâs influence on French cinema
- On Life On-screen: Miseries and Splendour of a Monarch, a 60-minute documentary from 2010 on the collaboration of Guitry and Michel Simon
- An essay by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau and a 1957 obituary for Guitry by FranÃ§ois Truffaut