Mississippi Mermaid (La Sirène du Mississipi) (1969)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Louis (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is the wealthy factory owner living on a French island off the coast of Africa. When he advertises for a mail order bride, he receives a picture and letter from the woman who agrees to join him. The woman who shows up is not the one in the photo, but Julie (Catherine Deneuve) explains she sent the picture of a friend. The two are soon married and Louis takes ill soon thereafter. As his health worsens, Julie leaves after depleting their joint bank account of all the money. After a frantic drive to the bank, Louis hires a private detective to search for her. Locating Julie in a sleazy dance hall, she explains she is an orphan and was forced into the scam by a man she met on board the ship. The man killed the mail order bride and dumped her body overboard, replacing her with Julie to bleed the wealthy Louis dry. The two try to reconcile after Louis shoots and kills the detective. Hiding out in a remote mountain cabin, Julie slowly poisons Louis with rat poison in this disturbing story of greed and murder.
R (for some nudity/sexuality)
Art House & International , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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Jean-Paul Belmondo
as Louis Mahé
Catherine Deneuve
as Julie Roussel/Marion Vergano
Michel Bouquet
as Comolli
Nelly Borgeaud
as Berthe Roussel
Marcel Berbert
as Jardine
Martine Ferriere
as Landlady
Roland Thénot
as Richard
Yves Drouhet
as Detective
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Critic Reviews for Mississippi Mermaid (La Sirène du Mississipi)

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (8)

The redemptive power of love is joined with a stifled guffaw of irony.

Full Review… | April 12, 2015
New Yorker
Top Critic

Mississippi is a film noir shot in dazzling color, a Hitchcock movie with the soul of a Jean Renoir drama.

Full Review… | April 29, 2010
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Try to view this tale of a siren's song as something chewier than a cover version of Hitch's greatest hits, and what's left is a facile take on l'amour fou.

July 8, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

Truffaut's frequently overlooked eighth feature isn't kid stuff.

Full Review… | July 8, 2009
Village Voice
Top Critic

It defies easy definition and blithely triumphs over what initially appears to be structural schizophrenia. It is the creation of a superior moviemaker who works eccentrically in the classical tradition.

June 8, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

One of the director's weakest films.

December 31, 1999
Village Voice
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mississippi Mermaid (La Sirène du Mississipi)

This was Francois Truffaut's take on the same material that was later filmed as Original Sin with Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas, but this more subdued version was a bit more watchable in my estimation, even if I wasn't ever 100% sold on the idea that these two were so in love that they would continue to sacrifice for one another, but maybe I just need to give it another peep and see if it grows on me. Definitely worth a rental.

Bill Bryant
Bill Bryant

A man mail-orders a wife who rather quickly steals his fortune. He pursues her, and they begin a cat-and-mouse courtship. Critics seem to suggest that this is either Truffaut imitating Hitchcock, a unique love story, or both. For me, the Hitchcockian plot is easy to stay ahead of; the film doesn't offer many surprises, and when it attempts to, they seem contrived and forced. Likewise, the love story lacks any chemistry. I spent most of the film wondering what allure Julie has aside from Catherine Deneuve's rather attractive physique, and from her point of view, how is Jean-Paul not just another obsessive mark? Also, I'm wondering about the comparisons of Truffaut to Hitchcock regarding this film from a directing point of view. Hitch's trademarks were his incredibly well-framed shots, which revealed and concealed with precision, and deft camera movement. Truffaut often sets the camera on a tripod and says, "Action." I think this works well in the Antonin Doinel films, which are more about character than plot, but it falls flat in this noir-ish snore. However, I did like the ending, but for fear of spoiling, I shall not say why. Overall, this film fails to meet any expectations -- high ones like Truffaut's reputation and its comparison to Hitchcock and low ones like what I'd expect any time I start to watch a film.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


I'm not sure sure, but I pretty confident that Original Sin (2001) was remake of this film. Original Sin sucked but Mississippi Mermaid is a solid film.

FanGirl Browncoat
FanGirl Browncoat

Super Reviewer

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