The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (1970 film)

The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun (French: La Dame dans l'auto avec des lunettes et un fusil) is a 1970 French and American psychological thriller film directed by Anatole Litvak starring Samantha Eggar, Oliver Reed and John McEnery. It is based on the 1966 novel by Sébastien Japrisot. This was Litvak's final film. The story was remade in 2015.

The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun
Film poster
Directed byAnatole Litvak
Produced byRaymond Danon and Anatole Litvak
Screenplay byRichard Harris and Eleanor Perry
Based onLa Dame dans l'auto avec des lunettes et un fusil
by Sébastien Japrisot
StarringSamantha Eggar
Oliver Reed
John McEnery
Music byMichel Legrand
CinematographyClaude Renoir
Edited byPeter Thornton
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • 5 January 1970 (1970-01-05) (UK)
  • 25 December 1970 (1970-12-25) (US)
  • 22 October 1970 (1970-10-22) (FR)
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States


Just before the Bastille Day holiday weekend English secretary, Danielle 'Dany' Lang, types up a document for her advertising agency boss, Michael Caldwell, to take on a business trip to Geneva. On the way to drop off her boss and his wife, Anita, her former room-mate, at the airport, her boss gives her a envelope with her pay in it.

After dropping them off Dany impulsively decides to drive to the Riviera for the weekend. When Dany pulls into a small café the owner tries to return a coat to her she claims she left there the day before. At a petrol station Dany is attacked in the toilet and injures her hand. She is bemused as various strangers claim to know her.

Heading further south she picks up a hitch-hiker, Philippe and the pair spend the night together. The following day Philippe steals Dany's car prior to reaching the coast. She later finds Philippe in Marseilles where they find a man's body and a gun in the trunk of the car.

After Philippe disappears again, Dany visits the home of the dead man in Avignon and oddly finds both some of her clothes and also nude pictures of herself. Returning to the café to reclaim the coat she finds a copy of her pay envelope in one of the coat's pockets. Dany is now completely perplexed by the situation and returns to the dead man's home where her boss, Michael, is waiting for her. He tells Dany that the dead man was one of Anita's lovers, whom she murdered at his home. To frame Dany, they planted evidence and set up various incidents to establish her guilt: the attack in the toilet was committed by Michael, who injured her hand so Anita could wear a bandage and be mistaken for the secretary; and the nude photos had been taken by Anita when they were room-mates.

When Michael tells Dany he plans to murder her and make it look like a suicide she tells him he won't succeed as she has already sent both pay envelopes to the police.



The film was shot at Studios de Boulogne and on location in Paris, Avignon, Chalon-sur-Saône, Marseille, Moret-sur-Loing, and Remoulins.[1]


The film's score was written by Michel Legrand and the title music was On the Road sung by Petula Clark.

Track listing:


Roger Greenspun in his New York Times review said that "in relation to better works in its genre, the film looks rather like an example of the decline of craftsmanship — effective, well-colored, but uncertain in line and construction." At the same time, he praised Samantha Eggar's performance, saying "she is in herself sufficient justification for the movie."[2] Time Out remarked that "the tortuous mystifications and ponderings...wear out their welcome long before the final gush of explanations."[3] Time Magazine called it "one of those carefully jumbled jigsaw puzzles and comes complete with a rushed, not totally satisfactory explanation at the end."[4] New York Magazine said "the Japrisot thriller has become an incoherent mystery with antiquely heavy handed performances by Oliver Reed, John McEnery and Samantha Eggar."[5]


  1. "La Dame dans l'auto avec des lunettes et un fusil - Fiche Film - La Cinémathèque française". Retrieved 2019-10-26.
  2. Greenspun, Roger (December 26, 1970). "Screen: 'The Lady in the Car With Glasses and Gun':Samantha Eggar Stars in Mystery Story".
  3. "The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun 1970 Film review". Time Out London. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  4. Cocks, Jay (1971-01-25). "Cinema: Homicidal Holiday". Time. ISSN 0040-781X. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  5. "Openings and Current Attractions on the New York Screen". New York Magazine: 11. 1971-01-18.
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