Joy House (film)

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Joy House movieposter.jpg
Directed byRené Clément
Produced byJacques Bar
Written byRené Clément
Based onnovel Joy House by Day Keene
StarringJane Fonda
Alain Delon
Lola Albright
Music byLalo Schifrin
CinematographyHenri Decaë
Edited byFedora Zincone
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
June 12, 1964
Running time
97 minutes
Box office1,414,966 admissions (France)[1]

Joy House (French title: Les Félins / UK title: The Love Cage) is a 1964 French mystery-thriller film starring Jane Fonda, Alain Delon, and Lola Albright. It is based on the 1954 novel of the same name by Day Keene.

It was Clement's second film for MGM.[2]


In Monte Carlo, Marc, a handsome card sharp, escapes American gangsters who have been ordered to kill him by the boss of a New York gang because he had an affair with the boss's wife. Marc hides in a mission for the poor where Barbara, a wealthy widow, finds him and hires him as her chauffeur.

At Barbara's chateau, Melinda, Barbara's niece, becomes attracted to him. Marc discovers that Barbara is hiding her lover, Vincent, in the secret rooms and passageways of the chateau. She and Vincent (a bank robber sought by the police for murdering Barbara's husband) plan to murder Marc so that Vincent may use his passport in escaping to South America. Marc and Barbara begin an affair but are discovered by Vincent, who then kills Barbara but is himself killed by the American gangsters, who mistake him for Marc.

Marc and Melinda plan to dispose of the two bodies, but when Melinda learns that Marc is planning to leave without her, she tricks the police into believing Marc guilty and forces him to hide in the chateau's secret rooms. He is her prisoner, just as Vincent had been her aunt's.



The film was based on a Day Keene novel published in 1954. The New York Times called it "more conventional than usual" but said the story was "well constructed and sharply twisted in the James M. Cain manner."[3]

Film rights were bought by MGM who signed Rene Clement to direct. Clement had previously made The Day and the Hour for the studio which like Joy House featured American and French actors.[4]

MGM signed Delon to a five picture deal following their successful collaboration on Anyone Can Win.[5]

In March 1963 it was announced Natalie Wood would appear opposite Alain Delon.[6] However shortly after this Wood dropped out and was replaced by Jane Fonda.[7]

Filming started in August 1963. The film was partly shot in the historic Villa Torre Clementina.[8]

It was Jane Fonda's first movie in France. During the shoot she said "there was chaos, rain and script changes, I fought sixty battles and won them all."[9] She shot her part in English and was dubbed into French.[10] She later recalled that the director made it without a script:

I didn't speak very good French then, and I never understood much of what was going on. The only people who really dug that movie, for some reason, were junkies. They used to come up to me and give me a big wink. But I'm awfully glad I did it because it got me into France and I met [later husband Roger] Vadim.[11]

Fonda wound up marrying Vadim and living in France for several years.


The Los Angeles Times called it "an oddball thriller".[12]


  1. ^ Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. ^ Archer, Eugene (April 26, 1963). "Rene Clement Hired by M-G-M to Direct 'Love Cage' in France". New York Times. New York, N.Y. p. 29.
  3. ^ Criminals At Large By ANTHONY BOUCHER. New York Times 25 July 1954: BR20.
  4. ^ Rene Clement Hired by M-G-M To Direct 'Love Cage' in France By EUGENE ARCHER. New York Times 26 Apr 1963: 29.
  5. ^ French Movie Actor Bears Resemblance to Jimmy Dean Tinee, Mae. Chicago Tribune 16 Feb 1964: g15
  6. ^ Looking at Hollywood: Six Glamor Girls Sought for Hope! Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Tribune 1 Apr 1963: b1
  7. ^ Movie Hostesses Wild About Harry: Ex-Arkansas Florist Becomes Latest Hollywood Success Story Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 16 Apr 1963: C6.
  8. ^ Reynier, Carolyn (January 26, 2008). "From huntsmen to house-hunters". Financial Times. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Ross Hunter Makes Plans, Purchases: Will Film Without Big Stars; Larry Hagman in 'Cavern' Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 11 Oct 1963: D12.
  10. ^ She's Still an Outspoken Jane...: UNDER But Now Mr. Fonda's Daughter Is More Actress than Rebel Jane turns candid about herself Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Tribune 26 Apr 1964: j44.
  11. ^ Jonas, Gerald (January 22, 1967). "Here's What Happened to Baby Jane". New York Times. New York, N.Y. p. 91.
  12. ^ ODDBALL MOVIE: 'Joy House' Bizarre, Arty Film Thriller Harford, Margaret. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]04 Dec 1964: E6.

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