Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jeanne Moreau, Stanley Baker, Virna Lisi, James Villiers, Riccardo Garrone, Lisa Gastoni, Checco Rissone, Nona Medici, Alex Revidis
Written by: Hugo Butler, Evan Jones, based on a novel by James Hadley Chase
Directed by: Joseph Losey
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 103
Date: 10/03/1962

Eva (1962)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Losey's Maneater

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Joseph Losey (1909-1984) was an American who cut his teeth working on low-budget "B" pictures like The Boy with Green Hair, The Prowler, a remake of Fritz Lang's M and The Criminal. But when he was called in front of McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee, Losey fled to England and lived out the rest of his life and career there. He took the opportunity to make the leap to more respectable, higher-grade pictures, and started with Eva. Unfortunately, Eva, starring Jeanne Moreau in the title role, turned out to be just another lurid potboiler. It followed the adventures of a beautiful, cold-hearted society dame who liked to chew up men's hearts and spit them out again. Losey's preferred cut was something like 155 minutes long, and the studio butchered it and released a 103-minute version that Losey hated. That's the version shown here on the DVD in a beautiful, lush black-and-white print. But Kino has also unearthed another print included on the disc, restored to 119 minutes but arrives in horrible condition and with Swedish and Finnish subtitles burned on the print. Losey's original version is apparently lost in the mists of time, and what remains does not give us much of a clue as to its genius.

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