Louis Malle

The Lovers

The Lovers

Louis Malle unveiled the natural beauty of Jeanne Moreau in his breakthrough, Elevator to the Gallows. With his follow-up, the scandalous smash The Lovers (Les amants), he made her a star once and for all. A deeply felt and luxuriously filmed fairy tale for grown-ups, perched on the edge between classical and New Wave cinemas, The Lovers presents Moreau as a restless bourgeois wife whose eye wanders from both her husband and her lover to an attractive passing stranger (Jean-Marc Bory). Thanks to its frank sexuality, The Lovers caused quite a stir, being censored and attacked for obscenity around the world. If today its shock has worn off, its glistening sensuality and seductive storytelling haven't aged a day.

Film Info

  • Louis Malle
  • France
  • 1958
  • 90 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 2.35:1
  • French
  • Spine #429

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the complete, uncensored version
  • Selection of archival interviews with Louis Malle, actors Jeanne Moreau and José Luis de Villalonga, and writer Louise de Vilmorin
  • Gallery of promotional material from the U.S. theatrical release
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film historian Ginette Vincendeau

New cover by Rodrigo Corral

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer of the complete, uncensored version
  • Selection of archival interviews with Louis Malle, actors Jeanne Moreau and José Luis de Villalonga, and writer Louise de Vilmorin
  • Gallery of promotional material from the U.S. theatrical release
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film historian Ginette Vincendeau

New cover by Rodrigo Corral

The Lovers
Cast
Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Tournier
Alain Cuny
Henri Tournier
Jean-Marc Bory
Bernard Dubois-Lambert
Judith Magre
Maggy Thiébaut-Leroy
José Luis de Villalonga
Raoul Florès
Credits
Director
Louis Malle
Screenplay
Louis Malle
Cinematography
Henri Decaë
Producer
Irénée Leriche
Dialogue
Louise de Vilmorin
Inspired by "Point de lendemain" by
Dominique-Vivant Denon
Editing
Léonide Azar

From The Current

Remembering Jeanne Moreau
Remembering Jeanne Moreau

In honor of one of the great leading ladies of French cinema, who passed away earlier this week, the Criterion Channel features ten of her most memorable performances.

Inside Criterion / On the Channel — Aug 3, 2017
Talking Welles With the Great Jeanne Moreau

Flashbacks

Talking Welles With the Great Jeanne Moreau

During a 2006 meeting with the author, French New Wave icon Jeanne Moreau reminisced about working with Orson Welles, Louis Malle, and François Truffaut, and her turn to acting as a means of eluding the “destiny of a regular girl.”

By Peter Cowie

On Film / Features — Aug 24, 2016
The Lovers: Succès de scandale

When it came out in November 1958, The Lovers scandalized conservative France, just as it had outraged Catholic Italy at the Venice Film Festival two months earlier. At the same time, the film solidified the reputations of director Louis Malle and st…

By Ginette Vincendeau


May 13, 2008

Explore

Jeanne Moreau

Actor

With her mix of sultry glamour and no-nonsense wit, Jeanne Moreau has been the embodiment of intelligent French moviestardom for six decades. The Paris-born daughter of a Folies Bergère dancer and a restaurateur, Moreau started out as a stage actress at the Comédie-Française before earning supporting roles in B pictures and crime dramas in the fifties—the most often recalled now being Jacques Becker’s captivating 1954 heist thriller Touchez pas au grisbi, with Jean Gabin. Soon enough, thanks to the discerning eye of Louis Malle, Moreau was thrust into the spotlight—even if, in her breakthrough in Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows, it was the lack of a spotlight that made her stand out: Moreau’s star-making nighttime stroll through Paris was lit only by the windows along the Champs-Élysées. This unorthodox choice was a harbinger of the more casual shooting style that would define the coming French New Wave, of which Moreau would be a figurehead. Following her lead performance in Malle’s groundbreakingly explicit romance The Lovers, she provided cameos in François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Jean-Luc Godard’s A Woman Is a Woman, solidifying her status as an icon. Of course, it was Truffaut’s masterpiece Jules and Jim that cemented her place in the annals of film: her performance as the alternately coquettish and commanding Catherine made her a brainy sex symbol for the ages. In her varied and long career, Moreau has worked with such legendary auteurs as Luis Buñuel, Michelangelo Antonioni, Orson Welles (who once called her “the greatest actress in the world”), and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and she continues to work today, in films by some of contemporary cinema’s most revered names, such as Amos Gitai, Tsai Ming-liang, and François Ozon.