Double-Edged

With abortion one of the fiercest issues of the day, a French film about the life and death of Marie Latour--guillotined in France in 1941 for performing abortions--is about to open here with surprisingly little fanfare.

"Story of Women" stars Isabelle Huppert as Latour, a mother of two who began doing abortions during World War II for humanitarian reasons and eventually found it a lucrative, if illegal, way to feed her family. Claude Chabrol directed the film, which opens Friday at the Fine Arts in Beverly Hills. It had its U.S. premiere in N.Y.C. on Oct. 13.

Publicists for the film said they have not heard a peep from anti-abortion groups.

"The film never takes a stand one way or the other on abortion," said a spokeswoman here. "It shows both sides. . . . If you were with Operation Rescue, you wouldn't find it sympathetic (toward Latour). It's not a simplistic approach."

A Gotham spokesman, however, said, "In a non-polemical way, it's absolutely pro-choice. Not pro-abortion, but pro-choice." He feels the film has escaped protest because it's perceived here as "a small, specialized foreign film."

In France, it was considered a major film and stirred considerable response, he said. "A lot of distributors (here) would not touch the film because they feared reprisals."

So far: "No complaints."

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