Noir à la Lubitsch

Following my previous post on Jean Delannoy’s sexy and funny noir adventure-melodrama, Macao, L’enfer Du Jeu (aka Gambling Hell 1939), I want to share a delicious Ernst Lubitsch like scene from the movie featuring a mischievous Erich von Stroheim as the gun-runner Werner von Krall, and the utterly beguiling Mireille Balin as the cabaret dancer Mireille.

The background to the film is the 2nd Sino-Japanese war.  It is 1939 and in the battle-ravaged port of Canton,  Krall has rescued the lovely Mireille from internment by a local Chinese commander, with whom Krall has just struck a deal to deliver guns and ammo from Macao.  Krall offers to take Mireille with him to Macao on his yacht.  As Mireille has lost most of her luggage, Krall digs out an evening gown from his closet and offers  it to Mireille.  She wears the gown to dinner. The scene opens as Mireille returns to her cabin with Krall in tow.  Her cabin adjoins Krall’s and there is a connecting door. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Noir à la Lubitsch”

  1. I just watched this intoxicating sequence twice and agree with the apt comparison to Lubitsch. There is a suave sophistication here, and an undeniable sexual tension in the air. Von Stroheim may have been a world-class director, but his limited acting appearances over the years (I always think of SUNSET BOULEVARD, GRAND ILLUSION and THE GREAT FLAMARION in particular) never fail to yield a depth rarely achieved by the more celebrated thespians.


  2. Bonjour! Tony,
    I must admit that after viewing both scene…I’am now ready to add this film to my cart.
    I must also admit that is a great bit of “business” going on in that scene between…Director/actor Erich von Stroheim, and (unknown…to me at least) actress Mireille Balin.
    Merci, for sharing!
    DeeDee 😉


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