The Restless and the Damned

Since I’m on vacation just now, I’ve decided to feature another contribution from site regular Gordon Gates . He frequently comes up with titles that are unfamiliar and rare, and this is no exception, a late 1950s drama with an eye-catching and evocative title, starring Richard Basehart and Edmond O’Brien.

The Restless and the Damned (1959) is also known as The Climbers , The Dispossessed and L’Ambiteuse. This Yves Allegret film is set in French Polynesia and stars Edmond O’Brien, Richard Basehart, Andrea Parisy, Nicole Berger and Reg Lye.

Basehart is the black sheep of a wealthy family of mining financiers based in France. He dumps the family life style and heads to Tahiti to make it on his own. His wife, Andrea Parisy, is less than amused with Basehart’s choice. She sticks with him though, hoping he will see the light and return to France and the family wealth.

Basehart, however, just loves being his own man and Parisy soon thinks she has backed the wrong horse. Along comes Edmond O’Brien, a mid-range mine operator who has leases on several of the outer islands. O’Brien hires Basehart as a mechanic for one of his mines. O’Brien of course starts with the clutch and grab with Parisy. She never quite lets O’Brien get to home base which of course just keeps O’Brien charged up.

Parisy is doing this so she can learn what she can about O’Brien’s business affairs. She discovers that O’Brien’s leases on his mines come up for renewal soon. There is a catch in the lease that allows anyone to pick it up within 24 hours of expiry. She talks hubby Basehart into a plan where the two of them can snap up the leases. She bats the lashes at O’Brien and coyly suggests he send Basehart back to France on a holiday.

A loan of 50,000 francs would help send Basehart on his way. Then she hints that with hubby away they can finally get together. O’Brien swallows the bait, the line and the pole! O’Brien forks over the cash and makes plans for a bit of horizontal cha-cha. While O’Brien is busy, Basehart is actually at the government mine offices buying up the leases with O’Brien’s own cash. Parisy of course changes her tune when O’Brien comes to collect.

Too late! Parisy and Basehart now control the mines. Once Parisy is in charge, she runs the business with an iron fist and the profits jump. She then talks Basehart into making peace with his family so she can sell an interest in the mine to them. That will get her what she has always wanted, cash! The two take a trip back to France where the increasingly unhappy Basehart falls for another woman.

Basehart’s family buys into the mine and agrees to fund a large expansion. Parisy grabs a plane back to Tahiti while Basehart stays on in Paris on “mine” business. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er, Tahiti, O’Brien has been plotting a little bit of payback. He hires a detective firm to follow Basehart around Paris and see if they can find any dirt. The detective firm gets a fine collection of photos of Basehart and his new love in some embarrassing poses.

O’Brien pays Parisy a visit and hands her the photos. “You know you will get nothing if he divorces you” laughs O’Brien. Parisy cables Basehart he is needed at the mine for an emergency. She has worked too long and hard to let it all slip away. One can be sure there will be double-dealing, backstabbing and perhaps murders involved.

No need to mention the noir pedigree’s of Basehart or O’Brien as we all know them. The director, Yves Allegret, was the younger brother of director Marc Allegret. Yves turned out several top-flight films such as Dédée d’Anvers (1948), Une si jolie petite plage (1949), Manèges (1950), La jeune folle (1952) and Les Orgueilleux (1953).

Well worth catching IMO.


Gordon Gates

34 thoughts on “The Restless and the Damned

  1. Interesting. Many consider Allegret’s rain-soaked, doom-laden ‘Un sie jolie petite plage’ to be the quintessential Gallic Noir and ‘Maneges’ was another fascinating discovery, All of which makes this one even more intriguing and worth seeking out. Thanks for that!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In the days when this movie was released, I was an avid movie goer. I usually went to the movies two nights a week usually double features. Television did not interest me. Many of the titles discussed in you blog are totally new to me. I wonder how many titles were released into the foreign market with only short runs in the U.S. Do you know anything about this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a good question, though sadly not one I can provide the answer to myself as the movies I tend to feature here had their theatrical runs long before I was in a position to visit the cinema, before my birth for that matter. However, some of our regulars here do comment on theatrical showings they recall, as well as support/second features on the bill – paging John Knight! – so perhaps others can offer enlightenment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mister Gray, Colin.
    The film was a box office failure and did not achieve large cinema release in England, the United States and Australia’. It was sold to American TV under the title “The Climbers” It also was released in .France as, “L’ambitieuse”, in the UK at several screens as, “The Dispossessed” and in limited screen showings in the U.S. as, “The Restless and the Damned,” and “The Ambitious One”.

    Two versions were shot, one in French, and in English, both by the same director. That is all the limited info I have on the film releases etc..

    I saw the film in 2008 on a dvd I had gotten in a trade with a fellow from New Zealand.


    Liked by 4 people

  4. Folks
    I recorded a pair of UK comedy films on the weekend that I had never seen before. Any of you good folks seen them? First is, VICE VERSA 1947 with Roger Livesey and a young Anthony Newley. It was directed by Peter Ustinov. I did see the 1988 American remake.

    Second up is THE BIG OPERATORS 1957 with Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna. Also in the cast is Peter Sellars, Margaret Rutherford and Leslie Phillips. The director is Basil Dearden..

    Any comments?



  5. Weekend Watching
    First up is CASQUE d”OR 1952 with Simone Signoret and Claude Dauphin. 1st time watch
    Then a re-watch of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH 1964 with Vincent Price.
    Last will be the first two episodes of HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL. Been a long time since I first saw these.



    • Then a re-watch of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH 1964 with Vincent Price.

      A fairly good adaptation of Matheson’s novel I Am Legend, interestingly different from the 1971 adaptation (The Omega Man with Chuck Heston).

      There’s been a third adaptation but since it’s a 21st century film I haven’t seen it and won’t see it.


  6. I am going to try and slip in a western this weekend as well. THE YOUNGER BROTHERS from 1949 and made by Warner Brothers. It is a color duster with Wayne Morris, Bruce Bennett, Alan Hale and Janis Page. Edwin L Marin handles the direction.. Never seen it myself, so has any of you lot managed it?



    • Certainly no classic western, Gord, but a western made in 1949 with Wayne Morris and Co is surely worth a view. Colourful and enjoyable and a decent role for former B-western star, Tom Tyler.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was really nice seeing a slim fit Tom Tyler in a semi-supporting role. He was given a few standout scenes that amplified the stoic nature of the man. I thought In some ways his stature resembled Randy Scott. Too bad there was not more of him.


  7. Gordon, I agree with Jerry that THE YOUNGER BROTHERS(filmed 1948, released 1949) is no where near a classic Western, but what the hay. Watch it for Janis Paige, because she is a delight. Alan Hale, Sr. is a sheriff and he is always worth watching. Also, Tom Tyler is a good bad man. Set back and enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the humour in your review, Gord and I’ll try to track down a copy of the movie.The plot is a ripper – how fatale is that femme! I bet she’s not backward in reaching for a weapon when the showdown happens. I’ll be keen to see how the actress delivers in this role.


  9. All
    Some nice, sharp looking prints of a MONOGRAM, as well as a REPUBLIC production, have turned up on TCM here. The MONOGRAM film is one I never heard of before, THE STEEL FIST from 1952. Roddy McDowell headlines as student who escapes the horror of a Eastern Bloc country with the help of the underground. Kristin Miller is also in the cast. The REBUBLIC film is another I do not know, A STRANGE ADVENTURE 1956. Ben Cooper stars as a kid who gets mixed up with armored car robbers.



  10. All, Gordon just brought up two very interesting 1950’s programmers that I think are well worth viewing, in my opinion. THE STEEL FIST(filmed 1951, released 1952) is an anti-totalitarian political thriller movie, very much of its day, or any day, for that matter. There is a DVD of this movie from Warner Archive.

    A STRANGE ADVENTURE(1956) is a really good fast paced crime drama directed by William Witney and with a good cast of Joan Evans, Ben Cooper, Marla English, Nick Adams, and Jan Merlin. This is a good one. There is a Blu-ray of this fine movie with commentary by Jay Dee Witney(son of William Witney) and Toby Roan.

    I’m listing a couple reviews of these movies by Laura G.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scott and Walter,
      Thanks for that useful info on both those films. I should have remembered about their releases on disc. The old ‘hard drive’ in my head must be getting too full LOL.


  11. A couple of films I watched on the weekend. First up was CASQUE d”OR 1952 with Simone Signoret and Claude Dauphin. This one is a crime, slash murder, slash noir set in France during the early 1900’s. a rather nasty film with a fine performance by Miss Signoret.

    Then I took in THE LAST MAN ON EARTH from 64 with Vincent Price. A low rent sleeper based on the great short novella by Richard Matheson. I like it better than the two remakes, THE OMEGA MAN and I AM LEGEND. I bet I have watched it a good dozen times over the years.



    • The Becker movie is still on my “to do” list and it’s been recommended by a few people now.
      On Matheson’s story, I have a soft spot for the 70s version, perhaps because it was the one I saw first or maybe because of the Grainer score, whatever the reason I’m very fond of it.
      It’s been many years since I last took in the Vincent Price version so I probably ought to have another look.



      In 1964, this movie seemed like another far fetched Vincent Price horror flick. Fast forward to what we are living through today, being far fetched is the furthest thought from my mind……it completely freaked me out.


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