Daïnah la métisse (1932) - full transcript

With the support of the CNC

Based on a story by Pierre Daye

After twenty sweltering days
on the Pacific, the Equator...

"A shooting star crossed the sky.

"Gabrielle!" he said.
'Andr?!' she replied.

"And their lips met,
in the shivering darkness."

That's the end of the chapter.

These novelists...

Nothing to say?

Look up from your book.
It's much more interesting.

When I make love,
it's nothing special.

It's unbelievable.

Every day,
there's another of them.

It's more entertaining
than the novel.

The finest, the only pleasure
of love... is love itself.

I wonder what they're talking about.

Not ethnography, I'll bet.

Come closer, then.

The most exhilarating thing,
the only thing that counts,

is to be desired!

Oh, no. Really!

Shall I keep reading?

If you want.

"Chapter 16: The Lovers Awake."

The traditional "baptism"
upon crossing the Equator,

which the passengers
will celebrate this evening

We've been thinking:
what would you say to a masked ball?

- Masks?
- Yes.

- That sounds perfect!
- With a performance.

Behind a mask,
you can do anything.

Everything is permitted,
everything allowed.

You can blame your other self!

Here's to the other Dainah.

To the other Dainah!

Have another whisky, Madame Smith.

You must be joking!
I have to get dressed.

Wear the pink one, just for me.

The red is nicer.

To keep us all happy,
it's best you wear nothing at all.

You left your friends
in the smoking room?

Apparently so.

You're cruel.

How can they cope without you?

Don't worry.
I'll see them again tonight.

Very well.

But Dainah, I wonder
if you aren't rather abusing

the freedom that I give you.

- That I have taken.
- No.

That I grant you.

You seem to be forgetting
that you're my wife.

I never forget. We live together.

you're not with your entourage now,

and the things you say
could have consequences.

Leave me alone.

You'll make me late.

Get dressed, then.

I'll leave you to it.

Such a strange man.

He's unsettling.

His wife seems quite afraid of him.

It appears he's a regular
practitioner of Black magic!

- Where is he?
- Unbelievable!

He's disappeared.

- Where is he?
- What did he say?

How shameful. Shameful!

She's hysterical.

For her husband, or her lover?

Stop it.

Hey, shift's over, guys!

Would you like something?

Don't touch me.

It's suffocating in here.

- I need air.
- Shall I join you?

No, I need to breathe.
I need to be alone.

That's a bad idea if you're sick.

No. I want to be alone.

Just for a little while. Please.

Lovely night.

Very mild.

You'll catch cold,
coming out of your boiler room.

I'm used to it.

It's good to take the air
after a shower.

Are you going to Noum?a?

Yes. You know it?

My third trip.

It's not that I like it, but...

we make other stops.

The women aren't bad.

So we can have fun, you know?

Are you from the islands?

My parents are.
I was born in France.

Don't you like coloured women?

They're alright.

A woman is a woman, either way.

As long as she's pretty.

You have a nice laugh.
I like that.


it really doesn't bother you...

if we talk for a while?




I'll stay, then.

- Wait!
- Wait for what?

- Wait!
- No.


Oh, I see what this is.

Madame likes to lead men on
then drop them, does she?

Well, not with me, you won't.

Let me go!

- Not now.
- Let me go!

- You had it coming.
- Let me go!



You bitch!

There's nothing to do on this boat.

There's bound to be nothing to do
if you keep yourself to yourself.

Still, I'm allowed to enjoy myself.

What would you like to do?

I don't know.

I'd like to visit the engine room.

Well, if you're not too worried
about the racket,

and the infernal heat,

I'll take you.

- Right away?
- Whenever you like.

what a charming man you are.

I'll introduce you
to the Engineering Officer,

who will show you around.

Lead the way.

- Are you feeling better?
- Yes, thank you.

I thought I was tougher than that!

It's terribly hot down there.
Are you better?

- Absolutely. I'm ready to go back.
- Oh, no.

Don't worry. I don't feel like it.

Did you see
one of the men was injured?

Yes, a strange accident.
It looks as if he was bitten.

He was playing with one
of the sheepdogs on board,

and it gave him
a nasty bite to the shoulder.

A real hothead, that Michaux.
He wouldn't go to the infirmary.

He's furious.

And now, he's got it into his head
to get even with the dog.

Another victim lost to the Pacific.

It wouldn't be hard.

One push, and the creature
would fall right over the rail.

Nobody would know.
And the Pacific's a big place.

Tell me...

I can't remember.
When do we arrive in Noum?a?

In three days, Madame.

Three days...

That's all. Be off with you.

Three days...

- Join me for dinner, Doctor?
- Gladly.

Whenever you're ready.

And your wife,
are you expecting her?

She's not well.
She's staying in her cabin.

Nothing serious?

Nothing serious. But I'd like you
to examine her tomorrow.

She's acting strangely.

This afternoon,
she burst into tears for no reason.

There's nothing unusual about that.
But I'll examine her, of course.

Not unusual, no. But it's almost
as if my wife is afraid.

- Afraid of you?
- No, but afraid of something.

It's her expression,
and her shaking hands.

- Does she have a fever?
- None at all.

Then don't worry.
And I'll examine her tomorrow.

Now, let's eat.

- What's wrong?
- It's me, Dainah.

Don't touch me, please.

I came to see if you needed anything.

You knew I wanted to be alone,
and see no-one.

And you scared me awfully.

How nervous you are!

Come now, tell me.

Don't be scared.

What do you mean?

I can tell how upset you are.

I'm here, and you ask me for nothing.
No help whatsoever.

But there's only one thing I need.


You must agree,
these dances are improper.

It would seem
they find them proper enough.

- I can barely watch.
- Then don't look.

I'm interested.

I imagine I'm in their place.


Look at that couple on the left.

I imagine I'm dancing with that man.
If you only knew...

It's funny. For me, it's been
the same one since we arrived.

Look: the one on the right.

Doctor, won't you join me?

Forgive me.

I must finish some serious business
with these gentlemen!

- You won't forget, tomorrow?
- I promise.

- Good night.
- Good night.

But sir, that's... not possible.

When I returned to our cabin
around midnight,

my wife was gone.

I assumed she was on deck.

I went to bed, fell asleep...

In the morning I noticed
she wasn't there.

Her bed was untouched.

I waited the whole morning...

and haven't seen her since.

- Look. Look, will you?
- Leave me in peace.

But it's him. Give him a smile.
Do something.

- You should concentrate on yours.
- Mine?

Yes. I just saw him
kissing that tall brunette.

- I don't believe it.
- I promise you.

You're just trying to hurt me.

- Why don't you help me wind my wool?
- No.

I was only teasing.
It's not true, you know.

- Really?
- I promise.

After your shift, did you return
to the crew's quarters?

Straight away.

- And your men followed you?
- Yes.

Well, no. Except for Michaux.

- Did he stop on deck?
- Yes, Commander.

Did he approach the woman?

He came last. We didn't notice
whether he approached her or not.

How long did he stay on deck?

I couldn't say.
Nobody saw him come back.

This Michaux, does he perform well?


He's a little wild,
but has never been disciplined.

- Thank you. Bring me Michaux.
- Yes, Commander.

Do you suspect this man, Commander?

We've searched the cabins,
the annexes,

the hold, the tanks...
and found nothing.

All we know is that Madame Smith

was on the boat
at the end of the shift.

And at that moment,
a man stayed on the deck.

Perhaps he can tell us something.

If I'm not mistaken,
the man you're going to question

is an engineer.


Is there really nothing else
you can tell us?

Come in.

Michaux is here.

I have a few things
to ask you, Michaux.

When you came up from the engine room
yesterday, at midnight,

did you stay on deck?

- Yes, Commander.
- For along time?

Five minutes.

You didn't notice anything unusual?

- No, nothing unusual.
- There was nobody there?

Oh, yes. There was a woman.

She was half-caste.

Did you approach her?

No, Commander.

Then how did you know
she was half-caste?

From her silhouette.

And I had already seen her
in the same place,

on another day.

She came to look at the engines, too.

Where exactly was she, last night?

On the rear deck.

And she never spoke to you?

She said...

something about the weather.

Did you answer her?


I said, "It's a nice night."

She spoke to me first.

Why were you on deck?

Why was I on deck?

To get some air.

Then I went back down.

And when you went down,
was she still there?

Yes, yes.

And you didn't notice
anything strange or unusual?


Did she speak to you
in the engine room?

In the engine room? No.

No, she didn't speak to me.

- The Engineering Officer was there.
- Oh, yes.

Tell me, Michaux...

Why did you throw this woman
into the sea?



I didn't throw that woman
in the sea, did I?

Why would I throw her in the sea?

Very well. Thank you.

We're none the wiser.

Are you entirely certain
my wife is no longer on the boat?

I don't see how she could be.


either Dainah committed suicide...

I thank you, gentlemen,
for looking into this so thoroughly.

I remain at your disposal.

I waited for her all morning,
but never saw her.

Maybe she's sick.

Why don't you believe me?
They say her husband is awful.

I say she jumped overboard.

- I wonder if her husband...
- You think?

Apparently they've been
arguing terribly lately.

What do you make of Michaux's

They hold up.
He dealt with it well.

I can't believe that...

So it could be suicide?


Didn't the husband's behaviour
seem a little odd?

At first, I was struck
by how withdrawn he was.

That's funny.
It only just occurred to me.

You know, I've seen this happen
several times before.

From fatigue, the long journey,
from agitation...

The woman was very nervous
and impressionable.

It's possible,
but we can't be sure.

You asked for my opinion,
and there it is.

Come in.

Commander, I looked through
Michaux's bag and his possessions.

I found this.

A handkerchief?

With initials. "D.S."

- Dainah Smith?
- Exactly.

Did you question Michaux?

He told me he found the handkerchief

the day Madame Smith came
to visit the engine room.

He said he didn't return it
because it smelled nice.


It's quite possible.

That handkerchief matches
the outfit she was wearing that day.

- Don't you remember?
- Ah, yes. Of course.

Thank you.

The Commander will see you
in a few minutes.

I'm not displeased
to see you here.


I wanted to ask you, what do you make
of my wife's suicide?

Frankly, I don't believe it.

So, someone must have killed her.

Someone who is either you or me.

Now, let me tell you:
it wasn't me.

And I am certain...

...absolutely certain,
that it was you.

Please come in, Monsieur Smith.

See you soon.

Finding the handkerchief
means nothing.

My wife could have lost it

But still, the handkerchief
was with Michaux.

He doesn't seem capable
of something like that.

- Nobody kills without a reason.
- Very well.

You may leave, Michaux.
I don't need you any more.

Michaux, Michaux!

- What is it?
- He must have fallen.

Quick, call the Doctor.
You hear me?

The Doctor! Go on, quickly!

4K restoration based on image
and soundtrack negatives

preserved by
Cin?matheque Francaise

and from a nitrate print

belonging to the Collection Films
du D?partement de la Charente.