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Mississippi Mermaid

Catalog Number
M202330
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Primary Distributor (If not listed, select "OTHER")
Release Year
Country
VHS | N/A | Slipcase
N/A (NTSC)
N/A | N/A | English
N/A | N/A
La Sirène du Mississipi (1970)

Additional Information

Additional Information
The Bride cames as advertised....With an unadvertised special that made mail-order marriage a dangerous game!


A rare mid-career flop for director François Truffaut when it was released, Mississippi Mermaid has become a cult favorite, thanks in part to the availability of the original French version, which added 13 minutes to the U.S. release running time. Adapted from a story by William Irish, it's a noirish tale of a man who orders a mail-order bride but receives instead a con woman. Louis Mahe (Jean-Paul Belmondo) owns a tobacco factory on the remote Indian Ocean island of Reunion. His bride, Julie Roussel (Catherine Deneuve), looks nothing like the photo she sent him, but she explains that she had forwarded a picture of a friend instead. After Louis allows Julie access to both his personal and company bank accounts, she disappears with most of his fortune. Heartbroken and bitter, he takes a holiday in the south of France and improbably spots "Julie" on a TV news story. When he tracks her down, she reveals her real name, Marion, and how she and her con-man boyfriend, Richard, had intercepted the real Julie on the boat Mississippi that was headed for Reunion. Richard threw Julie off the ship and Marion assumed her identity, but once the two thieves returned to France, Richard made off with the money. Marion professes that she fell in love with Louis, and he believes her. They try to make a life together in France, but a private detective whom Louis and Julie's sister, Berthe, had hired to find Marion, tracks them down to a house they have rented in Aix en Provence, forcing them to go on the ru

Mississippi Mermaid (French: La sirène du Mississipi) is a 1969 French romantic drama film directed by François Truffaut and starring Catherine Deneuve and Jean-Paul Belmondo. Adapted from the 1947 novel Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich, the film is about a tobacco planter on Réunion island in the Indian Ocean who becomes engaged through correspondence to a woman he does not know. When she arrives it is not the same woman in the photo, but he marries her anyway.[4] Filmed in southern France and Réunion island,[5] Mississippi Mermaid was the 17th highest grossing film of the year in France with a total of 1,221,027 admissions.[6] It was remade in 2001 as Original Sin, directed by Michael Cristofer and starring Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas.

In his review in The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote that the film "defies easy definition and blithely triumphs over what initially appears to be structural schizophrenia."[8] Canby noted the performances of Belmondo, Deneuve, and Bouquet, which were "played with marvelous style."[8] Canby concluded:
In Mississippi Mermaid, as in all of Truffaut's films, love leads only to an uncertain future that, at best, may contain some joy along with the inevitable misery. Truffaut's special talent, however, is for communicating a sense of the value of that joy.[8]
In his review in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1999, film critic Edward Guthmann praised the film, writing:
Truffaut tells his story with terrific dispatch, as if he was thrilled by its possibilities and couldn't wait to share his enthusiasm ... the result is a cool combo of film noir, star vehicle and picaresque romance. It's vintage Truffaut, and a great way to get acquainted or reacquainted with one of cinema's true masters.[9]
The film, however, had many detractors. Dennis Schwartz, for example, wrote:
This perverse love story just doesn't fly. The two leads play unsympathetic characters and instead of getting into their character's heads they both play it as a game. It comes off as a disturbing film that seems pointless and has questionable entertainment value. It's one of the few misfires from the talented Truffaut, even with the restored 13 minutes missing from its American release that supposedly makes the film more lucid.[10]
On the review aggregator web site Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an 85% positive rating from top film critics based on 13 reviews, and a 71% positive audience rating based on 2,387 user ratings

Release Date: April 10, 1970


Distrib: United Artists

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