Friday, June 24, 2011

Clouzot, Les Diaboliques

[“Don’t be devils! Don’t ruin the interest your friends could take in this film. Don’t tell them what you have seen. On their behalf, thank you.”]

One more from Henri-Georges Clouzot: the 1955 film Les Diaboliques [The Devils], starring Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, and Paul Meurisse, with a wonderful turn by Charles Vanel as a retired detective who, like Dickens’s Inspector Bucket, seems to have been a model for television’s Lieutenant Columbo. I won’t tell you anything more about what I have seen, except to say that Les Diaboliques is suspenseful and frightening and a masterpiece. It’s not for the fainthearted. The film is available (with its alternative title Diabolique), beautifully restored, from the Criterion Collection.

That concludes this week’s Clouzot spree. Reader, I hope there’s a film here that you’d like to watch, or watch again.

2:03 p.m.: Sad news: Peter Falk, who played Lieutenant Columbo, died yesterday in Beverly Hills.

Clouzot x 4
Le Corbeau
Le mystère Picasso (Elaine’s post)
Quai des Orfèvres
Le salaire de la peur

comments: 2

Adair said...

Very suspenseful indeed...
I now realize that this film provided the basis for what must be one of the most haunting and visually compelling episodes of The Outer Limits, "The Forms of Things Unknown," with Vera Miles, Barbara Rush, and David McCallum.

Michael Leddy said...

I always like making that kind of discovery — it makes the whole world more interesting.

Watching an episode of Columbo the other night, I was delighted to see the lieutenant sitting outside the doors to the morgue, just like his precursor in this film.