Title: Diabolique AKA: Les Diaboliques Year: 1955 Directed: Henri-Georges Clouzot Genre: Crime / Thriller / Mystery Runtime: 1h 56m Country: France Language: French Subtitles: English.sub/idx[/color]
Cast: Simone Signoret: Nicole Horner Véra Clouzot: Christina Delassalle (as Vera Clouzot) Paul Meurisse: Michel Delassalle Charles Vanel: Alfred Fichet, le commissaire Jean Brochard: Plantiveau, le concierge Pierre Larquey: M.Drain, professeur Michel Serrault: M. Raymond, le surveillant Thérèse Dorny: Mme. Herboux NoÃ«l Roquevert: M. Herboux
Plot / Synopsis
The greatest film that Alfred Hitchcock never made, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique is set in a provincial boarding school run by headmaster Michel Delasalle. A ruthless lothario, he becomes the target of a murder plot concocted by his long-suffering invalid wife Christina (Vera Clouzot, the director's own spouse) and his latest mistress, an icy teacher played by Simone Signoret. A dark, dank thriller with a much-imitated "shock" ending, Diabolique is a masterpiece of Grand Guignol suspense. The simple murder plot goes haywire, and Michel's corpse disappears, prompting strange rumors of his reappearance which grow more and more substantial as the film careens wildly towards its breathless conclusion.
The film created a sensation on its original release. It has often been likened to the films of Alfred Hitchcock in that it is still creepy even when one has seen it and knows the ending. (Many sources say that Alfred Hitchcock missed out on purchasing the rights to the Boileau and Narcejac novel by just a few hours, Clouzot getting to the authors first.) The end credit contains an early example of an "anti-spoiler message", requesting the audience not to disclose the plot to others who have not seen the film.
The film gained additional press when only five years after its release, Véra Clouzot died of a heart attack at age 46, her character in the film having had heart problems also.
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