IMDb Top 250: #222 Diabolique

Diabolique (1955)

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot (as H.G. Clouzot)
Writers: Pierre Boileau (novel) (as Boileau), Thomas Narcejac (novel) (as Narcejac)
Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse

The wife and mistress of a cruel headmaster conspire to kill him; after the murder is committed, his corpse disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women.



To be frank, I’ve never liked the French. Never could learn the language, never could consider them nice people. Maybe I liked their idea of romance. Even some of their movies are pretty good, as long as they share feelings, emotions. But looking at a black and white psychological thriller that is older than my mother, well that might just be a little too much for me.

So in this magnificent cinematic masterpiece, we have a sadistic school headmaster from a small boarding school. The school is owned by his wife, a frail woman with a weak heart. In the equation we have another teacher at the school who is the headmaster’s mistress. The irony is that the wife and the mistress actually bond over their own hatred regarding the headmaster and they decide to kill him. Using divorce as an excuse, the two women lure the headmaster were they sedate him and then drown him in a bathtub. Both women are relieved to have gotten rid of that awful man. But when his body does not surface in the pool and strange things start to happen around the school, the women start to wonder if the dead actually stay dead…

Ok, so besides the fact that I don’t like French movies, I actually found this one very dull. I had to make an extra effort to see it through to the end. It wants to add suspense and play with your mind, but it puts you to sleep. Or this is how I felt. A wannabe Hitchcock type of a movie, with some pretty decent characters and some cheesy dialogue, it doesn’t manage to take your breath away. Or even to convince you to see it for all it’s 117 minutes.

I for one, do not recommend this one, unless you like French movies. Even then, there are some better one to see…

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