The Other Side of Midnight is an epic-length love triangle told against a backdrop of WW II,
located in Paris, Washington and Greece.
Adapted from a novel by Sidney Sheldon, his second, this is movie-making on
the classic Hollywood scale, and has the feel of much older films. It is
especially appealing to women, easily passing our chick-flick hurdle with a male/female differential of 1.4 at IMDb
(Men 5.2, women 6.6)
As the film opens, Noelle Page (Marie-France Pisier) is in prison, and
being visited by Constantin Demeris (Raf Vallone). She tells him most of the
film's tale in flashbacks.
As the chronology begins, a young Noelle is sold by her father to a dress shop owner,
who expects her to take care of all of his needs. She quickly heads for Paris,
where she is taken by a cab driver for every cent she has, and then meets
American Larry Douglas (John Beck), who is a pilot for the RAF by way of
Canada. He sweeps her off her feet, they have a torrid affair, then he leaves,
promising to be back in ten days and marry her. The ten days comes and goes
with no sign of him. She
gets a job as a fashion model, then discovers that Larry has been sent back to
America, and just before that was nearly trapped into marrying an English girl
he knocked up. That doesn't thrill her, especially given that she is also
pregnant. She gives herself an abortion with a coat hanger.
Meanwhile, Larry is in Washington and is assigned to work with
Catherine Alexander Douglas (Susan Sarandon), the up-and-comer in a public
relations firm. The two end up married.
As they court and wed in America, Noelle has become an actress, and is
using some of her wealth to keep track of Larry. When the war ends, she sees
to it that he can't hold a job. This, however, gets increasingly expensive,
and she ends up marrying a Greek tycoon to get enough cash for her pet
project. Once she sees to it that Larry can't get fly in the US, she makes him her personal pilot.
She and Larry reconcile, and plot to get rid of Catherine, who disappears in a storm,
and Larry to be tried for her murder.
Up to this point, it is not the plot twists, but the details of the
relationships that are interesting. I did like the characters, and the
production value was wonderful, but I found it a little over-long, and thought
it quite slow in patches. From here to the end, however, there are some very
nifty plot twists, and the ending made me a fan of the film, and justified my
165 minutes to watch it.