Le Parfum de la dame en noir

Scent of the Woman in Black

France 1931. Dir Marcel L'Herbier.

With Roland Toutain, Huguette Duflos, Kissa Kouprine.

Costumes Jacques Manuel.

The woman in black wears a distinctive scent but who is she? Adapted from the crime novel by Gaston Leroux of Phantom of the Opera fame, the aristocratic interiors and sunny locations around the Côte d’Azur provide a setting for a darker story of mystery and illusion. From its opening credits emblazoned on a perfume bottle, the film is another remarkable celebration of an all-encompassing cinematic style. L’Herbier’s camera glides seamlessly along Jacques Manuel’s formidable Art Deco interiors (note the menacing grills and other intricately crafted detailing executed by Pierre Schild) as well as Manuel’s costumes that include some boldly graphic outfits and uber-elegant evening wear.