DIABOLIQUE (1955) B/W 116m dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot
w/Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel, Jean Brochard, Noel Roquevert, Therese Dorny, Pierre Larquey, Michel Serrault, Yves-Marc Maurin
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From The Movie Guide: "A bitter chiller. One of the most suspenseful films ever made, DIABOLIQUE revolves around a callous schoolmaster, Meurisse, his heiress wife, Clouzot, and his mistress, Signoret. The latter, a cold-blooded murderess, helps Christina poison and drown her husband. They dump the corpse in the pool of Michel's boarding school, but Christina grows increasingly fearful that Michel is still alive. An investigation of the schoolmaster's death proceeds, but when the pool is drained no body is found. Adding to the mystery is the testimony of schoolchildren who insist they've seen Michel.
"Director Henri-Georges Clouzot keeps the viewer guessing to the final frames. The picture received great critical acclaim, sharing the prestigious New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film with Vittorio de Sica's UMBERTO D. The frightened wife of the 'dead' man, Vera Clouzot, is the real-life Mrs. Clouzot. Authors Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, upon learning that Alfred Hitchcock was interested in acquiring the rights to Celle Qui N'Etait Pas (upon which DIABOLIQUE was based), set out to pen another novel that would surely interest Hitch --- D'Entre Les Mortes, which later became VERTIGO.
"DIABOLIQUE also includes one of the most effective 'eyeball scenes' in filmmaking (second only to that in Bunuel and Dali's UN CHIEN ANDALOU) when the 'dead' man rises from the bathtub. Rumor has it Clouzot's films were always shot in an atmosphere of antagonism, and the camera here seems to be observing in a merciless way. The last 15 minutes are as suspenseful as anything ever put on film."