Diabolique

Diabolique

DVD - 1954 | French
Average Rating:
12
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The headmaster of a Parisian boarding school is murdered by his wife and mistress.
Publisher: [S.l.] : [Janus Films : Home Vision Cinema], c1954
Description: 1 videodisc (116 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in
ISBN: 9780780021945
0780021940
Branch Call Number: DVD Diab

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n
nofasternan
Mar 17, 2017

Boileau-Narcejac are credited as the inspiration for this film, and indeed they are, however, the script writers (Clouzot and his brother) made major changes to the plot. This is partly because of the censors of the time (homosexuality was an important element in the original story) and partly due to Clouzot's commitment to give his wife Vera a starring role. Vera Clouzot was not a strong actress, like Simone Signoret, who played Nicole and was given less screen time and flattering scenes. By the end of the filming, Signoret and the Crouzots were not on speaking terms. (See: Susan Hayward (2005). Les Diaboliques (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955.)
All of which, do not detract from, and perhaps added to, the strength of this movie, with its Gothic black and white setting, suspense, anxiety, final surprises and very French wit.

steve1961 Oct 02, 2015

NYPL only has one copy of the 2011 Criterion reissue listed in their catalog and, sadly, it turns out that the dvd case contains the 1998 edition of the dvd. If you were looking forward to borrowing this movie to check out the updated transfer or extra features - FORGET IT!

l
lukasevansherman
Jul 09, 2015

"The Devils." Tense, dark, and misanthropic murder thriller from genre master Henri-Georges Clouzot, whose other major film is "Wages of Fear." Clouzot is often compared to Hitchcock (significantly, this came out before "Psycho"), but it's only true so much as they both did thrillers. Clouzot is far icier and bleaker. Great performances by Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot (the director's wife), and Paul Meurisse. The ending is still a shocker. Note that there is no score. A model of suspense filmmaking and an oft imitated classic of French cinema. Pointlessly remade in 1996. This excellent Criterion release includes commentary, interviews, the original trailer, an essay, and new artwork. Also, the person who gave this one star is full of merde.

r
richibi
Dec 07, 2014

comparisons to Alfred Hitchcock are entirely out of order, this preposterous story of an ex-nun murdering her husband with the help of his mistress, but unable to control her histrionics around her part in the scheme, has both women essentially turning themselves in as a result of their several giveaway panic attacks - a surprise twist at the end is not even worth talking about

n
Nursebob
Dec 05, 2014

Two women form an unlikely partnership when they conspire to murder the cruel and despotic headmaster of a private boarding school—his wife…and his mistress. Finding solace in their shared misery Christina, the frail and very Catholic (read: guilt-riddled) spouse and Nicole, the fiercely determined “other woman”, have had enough of Michel’s violent outbursts and physical abuse. Despite the fact they all work at the same academy, an institution actually bequeathed to Christina by her wealthy family, the two desperate women manage to carry out their elaborate plan which not only leaves Michel dead but manages to make it look like an accident as well. But they are not prepared for the macabre twists which follow as their carefully laid plans for the “perfect murder” begin to come undone. First an unexpected delivery raises their suspicions, then a bizarre sighting throws them into a fearful frenzy leading to wild accusations as each woman threatens to frame the other for the crime. Meanwhile, the presence of a kindly old private eye investigating the husband’s disappearance looms ever larger… True to its name, director H. G. Clouzot’s masterful suspense thriller is diabolical indeed (the original title translates as “The Devils”). Watching these two women—one already suffering from interminable pangs of conscience, the other consumed with quiet rage—slowly unravel provides some of the most gripping cinema I’ve seen in some time. With a script that reads like a series of land mines and gloomy B&W cinematography which exploits all those narrow hallways and stuffy rooms, Clouzot establishes an air of anxiety and doubt then slowly increases the tension until it threatens to erupt into full blown paranoia. Things are kept in check however thanks to his assured hand and a powerful cast highlighted by the late great Simone Signoret as the angry mistress. Unfortunately the character of the fatherly investigator seems more of an appeasement to sensitive members of the audience rather than a crucial plot device, but Clouzot still manages to throw in one last eerie little twist before the final credits. Apparently when he bought the rights to the novel on which the film is based he narrowly beat out Alfred Hitchcock. But I doubt that even the great man himself could have produced a more effective yarn. Good devilish fun!

madison382 May 22, 2013

Excellent suspense movie. Really enjoyed it.

btmslt May 08, 2013

A good mystery/thriller with several twists.

a
akirakato
Nov 20, 2012

After finishing "Diabolique," Director-screenwriter Henri-Goerges Clouzot (1907-1977) confessed that all he had intended was to make a picture that would "amuse myself" and please a young girl who hid under the covers and asked her father to frighten her with a bed-time story.
Although this film is one of the most frightening and artristic horror pictures ever made, the trickes shown at the last moment convince me to believe that this movie is indeed a child bed-time story.
For ordinary adult eyes, the tricks seem unrealistic.
In any case, it's a fascinating and entertaining film.

rufus_red4 Nov 18, 2012

The story is not by any means new, but Diabolique was the movie that set the standard. Never has grim cruelty been so fun and there are some truly scary moments. A classic.

s
staylor33
Jul 27, 2012

Excellent, suspenseful movie. Did the french inspector in this film provide the inspiration for Peter Falk's character in "Columbo"?
My favorite film of all time!

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