`Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne' was directed in 1945 by: Robert Bresson (Diary Of A Country Priest, 1950; A Man Escaped,1956; Pickpocket, 1959; Au Hasard Balthazzar, 1966) The screenplay was adapted from the Denis Diderot short story `Jacques The Fatalist' by poet, artist and director Jean Cocteau (La Belle Et La Bete, 1946; Orphee, 1949). This seems an odd coupling because their work as directors is in complete contrast and because of the dialogue it makes this film feels more like a Cocteau film. This is however was only Bresson's second film and what would be determined as Bressonian, his lack of theatre and visually austere style, would only be developed in his subsequent the film of the 1950s.
Bresson used actors (he would later use non-professional or `models') in this film the most notable being Maria Caseras (Le Enfants Du Paradis, 1945; Orphee,1949) whom astute critics at the time compared to Joan Crawford who had just starred in `Mildred Pierce' (1945,Curtiz) and the following years `Possessed' (1946, Bernhardt). It is that manipulative femme fatale role that is the defining quality of this, which could be considered, French film noir.
Cinematography was by Philippe Agostini who had shot the now famous poetic realist `La Jour Se Leve' (1939, Carne) a cinematic movement that was instrumental in the development of American film noir. He would later work on `Le Plaisir' (1952, Ophuls) and `Riffifi' (1955, Dassin) both being stylistically brilliant films.
`Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne' may in the end be good Cocteau but not so good Bresson.