What happens to the heroine of "The Love Game" ("Les Jeux de l'Amour"), which came to the Sixty-eighth Street Playhouse yesterday, shouldn't happen to any normal female, let alone to the heroine of a French film.
Here she is, nimble and nubile, rarin' to get married and have kids with a fellow with whom she lives and runs an antique shop on the Rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevieve. But he is a very fragile specimen. Rose paintings are his speed. He prefers to keep it chummy and casual. No marriage, no kids, just fun and games.
So she has to turn to their neighbor, who is tiresome but fairly masculine, for a down-to-earth matrimonial offer. When her partner hears of this, he pouts and goes off in a terrible tizzy. But the next morning he comes around and says, okay, he'll marry her and have kids if he has to—but gawd! And that's how we leave our heroine.
As you can see, this is not the sort of romance that is likely to be favored generally. It is certainly not the sort we ordinarily expect from the well-adjusted French. But then, this film is a production of Claude Chabrol, who is one of the foremost exponents of the so-called "new wave," so it may be a fair example of what the snappy young Frenchmen want these days.
If so, they are welcome to it. Genevieve Cluny is cute as the girl—a little skinny but full of sparkle and fun. However, Jean-Pierre Cassel is in strictly outer space as the lad. He flits and flounces and grimaces, and once he takes off through the woods, waving his arms and screeching. Not exactly our idea of charm, Jean-Louis Maury is rather plain looking, also rather dull, but he holds the franchise for the male sex. They're the only characters of any consequence in the film.
© Bosley Crowther, "The New York Times", Nov 9, 1960.