Poison | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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After personally thanking all the members of his cast and crew inside the film's various sets, Sacha Guitry plunges into the most ferocious, and possibly the most subversive, masterpiece of his career (1951). The great Michel Simon plays a middle-aged village gardener who despises his alcoholic wife (who despises him in turn). After learning on the radio about an ace defense lawyer famous for getting murderers acquitted, he goes to see the lawyer, claiming to have already killed his wife, and learns from the lawyer's questions and comments precisely how he should commit the crime to escape sentencing; meanwhile, his wife is hatching a murder plot of her own. Shot in just 11 days--in deference to Simon, who demanded that each of his scenes be filmed only once--this caustic social satire lasts 96 minutes, and not one of them is wasted; with Germaine Reuver and Jean Debucourt. Film Center, Art Institute, Columbus Drive at Jackson, Saturday, June 18, 6:00, 443-3737.

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