Les Diaboliques View large image

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Film Details

Directed by: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Produced: 1955

Countries & Regions: France

Blu-ray Details

Certificate: 12

Studio: Arrow Films

Length: 114 mins

Format: Blu-ray

Region: Region B

Released: 14 July 2014

Cat No: FCD992

Extras:
Languages(s): French
Subtitles: English
Interactive Menu
Scene Access
Screen ratio 1:1.33
Mono

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Les Diaboliques

Cast: Michel Serrault , Simone Signoret , Vera Clouzot , Charles Vanel , Paul Meurisse , Pierre Larquey , Jean Brochard , Georges Chamarat , Noel Roquevert , Jacques Varennes

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Classic thriller from director Henri-Georges Clouzot, following the events of a murder plot in a small French provincial school. Tired of... Read More

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Classic thriller from director Henri-Georges Clouzot, following the events of a murder plot in a small French provincial school. Tired of being mistreated by abusive headmaster Michel Delasalle (Paul Meurisse), his frail wife, Christina (Vera Clouzot), and his mistress, Nicole (Simone Signoret), plot to kill their tormentor. When Michel’s body goes missing, however, the women soon realise their plan is not as straightforward as they first thought.

The Arrow Blu-ray of Les Diaboliques is the perfect reason to take another look at this highly influential suspense classic. But what about the original authors? Their influence on crime novels and cinema has been prodigious – so why isn't the critical stock of Boileau & Narcejac higher? When Alfred Hitchcock saw the effect on audiences of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Les Diaboliques/The Fiends (1955), he realised that this Hitchcockian French film – with its superb orchestration of suspense (including horror in a bathroom) and twist-filled plotting of immense ingenuity – would have been absolutely perfect material for him, and subsequently proceeded to make a film utilising very similar tactics, Psycho (1960).

In the original novel of Les Diaboliques, Ravinel has drowned his wife Mireille in her bath, and (aided by his mistress Lucienne) he has dropped her body into a river to suggest suicide. But as Mireille is dead, how is she able to correspond with him from beyond the grave? (Details were tweaked for Clouzot’s film). Regrettably, the plot for the Les Diaboliques has subsequently been borrowed so often, it is now over-familiar, but as well as being one of the most effective films in crime cinema – a piece that still carries a charge even in our seen-it-all era – Clouzot’s classic was groundbreakingly influential. Apart from the matchless black-and white cinematography, it is, of course, the impeccable performances that still register: a glowering Simone Signoret, a sneering Paul Meurisse, and (most memorably) Vera Clouzot’s vulnerability as the terrified wife. Nepotism (for once) earns an honourable place here with Clouzot’s casting of his wife. A forgettable American re-make with Sharon Stone can be… forgotten.

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