Sunday, July 14, 2013

Someone is Bleeding/Icy Breasts Richard Matheson


Ed here: This is from Movie Morlocks by . Someone is Bleeding is one of my favorite bitter noir love stories. As is suggested here it would have been better done by the great French director Claude Chabrol. He owns this turf.

Before Richard Matheson etched out a name for himself as a popular writer of horror and science fiction he dabbled in crime fiction and mysteries. His very first novel was a pulpy noir titled Someone is Bleeding (aka The Frigid Flame or The Untouchable Divorcee) and it features many of the genre’s typical tropes. But Matheson was anything but a typical writer and this psychosexual thriller contains some surprising twists and turns including an ending that would have been right at home in an Edgar Allen Poe story or an EC Comic book from the ‘50s. In fact, after enjoying all the brash and snappy dialogue exchanges in Matheson’s 1953 literary debut you half expect the Crypt Keeper to appear at the end with some kind of funny anecdote to lessen the horror of the book’s final chapter but there’s no simple escape from this grim story. Like many of Matheson’s best tales,Someone is Bleeding leaves readers with an unshakable sense of dread and despair. In Matheson’s imperfect world everyone and everything is suspect. No one is safe and nothing is sacred.

In 1974 French director and screenwriter Georges Lautner adapted Someone is Bleeding for the screen under the title LES SEINS DE GLACE aka ICY BREASTS. His script made many changes to Matheson’s original story but some elements remained the same. Lautner’s film moves the action out of Los Angeles and onto the French Riviera where a free-spirited and rather naïve writer named François Rollin (Claude Brasseur) becomes obsessed with an aloof blond called Peggy (Mireille Darc). At first Peggy forcefully rebuffs his aggressive come-ons but François manages to win her over with his childlike sense of humor and naivety. Their budding relationship is interrupted by Peggy’s overbearing lawyer, Marc Rilson (Alain Delon) who begins questioning François’ intentions and insists on having a gorilla-like doorman (Michel Peyrelon) and chauffeur (Emilio Messina) keep track of the couple’s every move. Complicating matters are the lawyer’s wife (Nicoletta Maschiavelli) and brother (Fiore Altoviti) who claim that Marc is having an affair with Peggy and wants François out of the picture so he can have her all to himself. When a scissor wielding killer starts leaving a trail of dead bodies behind everyone becomes a suspect. François and Peggy eventually flee to the French Alps but just as the carefree François begins to think that he’s capable of breaking through Peggy’s icy façade, his romantic delusions are shattered by a life-threatening revelation.


Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Great to see the book and movie getting a little respect - though, having said that, "Icy Breasts" is just the pits as a title whereas I think the movie definitely has virtues of its own -

John Boland said...


Matheson's first pub was actually sf/horror, the creepy short "Born of Man and Woman," in Fantasy & SF in 1950.

I'd love to find the pb of this noir or a dubbed movie.