The beautiful and versatile French film star Viviane Romance was also popular in America, as much for her revealing wardrobe as her acting ability. Filmed in 1947, Romance's Maya earned a U.S. release two years later. Based on a venerable Legend of the Sea, the story concerns a pliable prostitute named Bella (Romance) who is all things to all men. No matter what sort of woman her client wants, she will become that woman -- at least for the night. When a middle-aged man named Jean (Marcel Dalio) insists that Bella is his long-lost sweetheart, she plays along, hoping to escape her sordid lifestyle. The emotional tragedy that follows is meant to explain how Bella became "Maya," the living embodiment of Lost Souls. The film's symbolism is a bit overpowering at times, but Viviane Romance is always worth watching.
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