LES DIABOLIQUES (1955)
A film by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Cast: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse
Les Diaboliques is a mystery thriller from French director Henri-Georges Clouzot about a triangle relationship that leads to murder.The wife of a cruel headmaster and his mistress conspire to kill him, but after the murder is committed his body disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women. The film is based on Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac’s novel “Celle qui n’était plus” (She Who Was No More). Alfred Hitchcock also attempted to buy the rights to this novel; Boileau and Narcejac subsequently wrote “D’Entre les Morts” (From Among the Dead) especially for Hitchcock, who filmed it as Vertigo. When director Henri-Georges Clouzot bought the film rights to the original novel, he reportedly beat Alfred Hitchcock by only a matter of hours. (In fact, Clouzot was occasionally referred to as “the French Hitchcock.”) Unlike many noir thrillers, Diabolique uses as much time to refine its characters as to develop the plot. By never pushing the film’s more contrived aspects to an excess, Clouzot crafts a gripping, chillingly believable scenario. It is by far one of the greatest movie ever made.
Clouzot here has created a double-reverse plot that keep the audience guessing right up to the thoroughly the final scene. A hard thing to do. At first you see bunch of student going to school and going about their schooling in everyday life but it is not the plot here it is the set up that is going to build the plot and the tension later on. A body disappear not only it is the plot who starts here but it is where you are going to pay attention. Inspector Fichet (Charles Vanel), who figures out everything and he is in place to prevent it but waits too long. Fichet is Columbo; Falk added a squint, a dirtier raincoat and more humor. Signoret here shine and plays it like Marilyn Monroe. The film is fun to watch and it is done in a whodunit format. After seeing this film you might be afraid to take a bath but after seeing Psycho you might be afraid to take a shower. See this film while drinking a good Bordeaux.