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The Road To Corinth
cast: Jean Seberg, Maurice Ronet, Claude Chabrol, and Michael Bouquet

director: Claude Chabrol

96 minutes (18) 1967
Arrow DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Jim Steel
This is a curious film. Claude Chabrol is acknowledged as the founder of the new wave and is generally recognised as a master of the thriller. The Road To Corinth (aka: La Route de Corinthe) however, is not a classic. Indeed, its lightweight approach to the spy thriller genre seems almost contemptuous of the audience. It still entertains, though.

A stage magician, Socrates, arrives at the docks in Greece and drives off the boat in his open-top white car. A customs official searches his car. Birds appear from the engine and Socates produces his papers from behind the ear of the customs official. Then the customs official finds a curious, wire-filled black box, and the magician is hauled in for questioning (which involves a severe beating). He produces a cigar from the air in which he has hidden cyanide (!), which he then uses to kill himself.

It turns out that the black boxes are being used to disrupt NATO missiles. Secret agent Bob Ford (Christian Marquand, with terminal male pattern baldness) is investigating the case and discovers that the Kahlides Marble Works is somehow involved (this is a warning to British viewers that much of the upcoming action will take place in a quarry). Later on, back in his hotel room, Ford decides to celebrate but is murdered while Shanny, his wife, is getting the champagne out of the fridge. With commendable self-composure, Shanny (Jean Seberg, blonde and beautiful) then picks up the baton and sets to work with her late husband's fellow agents. This is, of course, after she's been framed for his murder and sprung from prison. She proceeds to charm her way through the rest of the plot without dishonouring herself.

All the Greek clichés are present: orthodox priests, marble busts, island hopping, and copious amounts of zither music. Add the spy clichés such as Anthony Pass as a dapper, almost camp, hitman, and you can pretty much imagine what you are going to get. Much is made of the visually arresting Corinth Canal, and there is the odd piece of editing and the occasional shot that might signify that a genius is sleepwalking through a film, but don't expect too much and that way you will be able to enjoy it. It might go well with a couple of beers.

Other than the option of turning off the subtitles (although set in Greece, the dialogue is in French), there are no disc extras.

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