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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Diabolique (1955) d. Henri Georges Clouzot

Simone Signoret as Nicole Horner in Diabloique (1955) d. Henri Georges Clouzot

Movie Review
Diabolique (1955)
d. Henri Georges Clouzot
Criterion Collection #35

  OMG this movie is so good, but unfortunately it's got a plot twist that makes talking about it almost impossible without ruining the film for someone who hasn't seen it.  Henri Georges Clouzot is a good example of a film maker who benefits from Criterion Collection editions of his work.  I realized while reading an article Terrence Rafferty wrote about this release that I had see another of his films, La corbeau, about the impact of anonymous gossip in a small town, in a non Criterion Collection version and it was scratchy and unrestored.

This is Vera Clouzot as Christina Delasalle

   The tag to get you to watch this movie is that this was a story that Hitchcock wanted to film and "got away."  It has elements of film noir, suspense and horror that are characteristic of what would become "Hitchcockian" film making, but was made before Hitchcock himself had rounded into full, mature, artistic form.

  The plot of Diabolique: A spurned wife and beat-up mistress conspire to murder the brutal man they share in common, if classic film noir but as Diabolique moves through it's nearly two hour run time, elements of the supernatural begin to creep in, leading to the blow up ending.  It is quite a ride, and the performances of the lead characters: Paul Meurisse as the brutal husband/love Michel Delassalle, Simone Signoret as the scheming blond mistress Nicole Horner & Vera Clouzot as Christina the spurned wife- are all top notch.
She wears these sun glasses in the opening scene to disguise a black eye inflicted by her lover- should a solid look!

 The value of the Criterion Collection Edition here is that Clouzot was a filmmaker who was very much a victim of the rise of the Nouvelle Vague- it was unfortunate, he was targeted mostly because he was on top vs. being an embodiment of the film culture that Truffaut, Godard etc despised.   Making a Criterion Collection of Diabolique cements his proper place in the canon of film.  Fun movie- worth a watch on Hulu Plus for sure

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