- Note: Blu-ray discs are in a high definition format and need to be played on a Blu-ray player.
Les Diaboliques [Dual Format Edition Blu-ray + DVD]  [Region Free]
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After the success of The Wages of Fear (Le salaire de la peur) Henri-Georges Clouzot cemented his reputation with his masterpiece, Les diaboliques.
Based on a novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (who also wrote the novel on which Hitchcock s Vertigo is based), Les diaboliques tells the story of a sadistic headmaster (Paul Meurisse) who brutalises his wife and mistress (Véra Clouzot and Simone Signoret) and their plot to murder him. Superbly edited with nail-biting suspense, the two women murder the headmaster and dump the body in the swimming pool, but when the pool is drained no corpse is found. An unsettling and beautifully-paced study of betrayal, mistrust and guilt, Les diaboliques is atmospherically shot in black and white, its murky tones hauntingly echo the moral ambiguity of its principals.
An acknowledged influence on Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick among others, Les diaboliques is presented on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK.
- Brand new High Definition transfer of the film from a new restoration of the original negative
- Audio commentary by Susan Hayward, author of Les diaboliques (Cine-file French Film Guides)
- Original Trailer
- Filmed interview with Ginette Vincendeau, French cinema scholar, critic and author
- Original Trailer
- Brand new writing on the film by author and critic Brad Stevens and a re-printed interview with Clouzot by Paul Schrader illustrated with stills and rare original set drawings by Léon Barsacq.
- Artwork presentation packaging including original posters and a newly commissioned artwork cover
Legend has it that Henri-Georges Clouzot beat out Alfred Hitchcock to secure the rights to this novel, which proved to be a veritable blueprint for an icy masterpiece of murder, mystery and suspense. Véra Clouzot plays the sickly wife of a callous headmaster of a provincial boarding school going to seed, and the commanding Simone Signoret is the headmaster's mistreated mistress. Together they plot and carry out his murder, a brutal drowning that director Clouzot documents in chilly detail, but the corpse disappears and a nosy detective starts sniffing around the grounds as threatening notes taunt the women. Clouzot's thriller is as precise and accomplished a work as anything in Hitchcock's canon, a film of gruelling suspense and startling shocks in an overcast, grey world of decay, but his icy manipulations lack the human dimension and emotional resonance of the master of suspense. Many critics have accused the film of being misanthropic, and Clouzot's attitude toward his characters is bitter at best, contemptuous at worst. The viewer is left on the outside looking in, but the razor precision and terrifying twists deliver a sleek, bleak spectacle worthy of attention. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com --This text refers to an alternate Blu-ray edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Diabolique is one of the most masterful scary movies you could hope to see. Even after 50 years, when the twist is probably well known, the movie is so well crafted and so well acted that it still carries me along. It takes place in a second-rate French boarding school for boys run by a sneering brute named Michel Delasalle (Paul Meurisse). His wife, Christine Delasalle (Vera Clouzot), who actually has the money in the family, is a weak woman with a bad heart, whom he abuses and humiliates. He openly has taken as a mistress a teacher in the school, Nicole Horner (Simone Signoret), whom he has smacked around one too many times. Christine and Nicole hatch a plan to lure Delasalle to Nicole's house some distance from the school. There, they will drug and drown him, then carry him back to the school and pitch his body into the unused, scum covered water of the school's swimming pool. When the body is discovered, it will be called a suicide or an accident. The two women pull it off...but when the pool is drained, there is no body. Then the suit Delasalle was wearing is delivered to the school by a laundry. A student is given a penalty and says it was the headmaster. A Delasalle appears to have registered at a local hotel. The two women don't know what is happening, and the strain begins to tell on them. They begin to bicker and blame each other. Nicole leaves the school. Christine must stay, but she is showing signs of emotional and physical collapse. Then the plot really begins.
So many elements, for me, really work.Read more ›
Set in the Institution De Lasalle, a school for boys, the building itself is presented in silhouette, an ominous precursor of Hitchcock's Bates' hotel. The theme is that of the eternal triangle. The wife, Vera Clouzot, owns the school and wants rid of her husband, the school's tyrannical headmaster. The mistress, Simone Signoret, another teacher at the school, has tired of her affair and also wants rid of him.
The viewer is sympathetic. The husband is a brute of a man who beats his women, terrorises the school's staff, and rules the children like a despot. If ever a man needed killing! But how can two frail women hope to kill such a man and not be caught. Signoret has a cunning plan! The relationship between the women builds in intensity as they hatch their plot and lure him to the chosen killing ground. Will they succeed? Will they get away with it?
This is a superbly paced drama, tightly directed, the tension built layer by layer. It's a sophisticated plot which, despite its 1954 vintage, has lost none of its appeal - it was remade as 'Diabolique' in 1996 (with Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani). The themes are eternal. Red herrings litter the plot. False trails lead off in every direction. And yet you can watch it again and again and still enjoy the interaction between the characters and the confusion which seems to plague their existence.
A first class thriller, character driven with intense performances from the cast, taut direction and editing, and atmospheric black and white photography. A film which deserves a wider audience ... and which no self-respecting French teacher should fail to show to their class!
A beautifully worked story, setting us up in a boy's boarding school and the twisted relationship between a headmaster, his wife, and his mistress. By the time the two women get together and decide to rid themselves of him they have our total sympathy. But a simple plan soon unravels when the body disappears....
Engrossing to the very end,this film is a classic of old-school horror - building dread upon dread, and bringing everything together into a startling finale. It deserves its reputation in the pantheon of great movies.
If a film is sold in the UK with optional subtitles, make those subtitles complete and check the grammar - I've never seen so many semicolons!!
Distracting and arrogant, it doesn't read well and is flat and incomplete. Many, many occasions that heard dialogue just isn't translated.
The films looks and sounds amazing, a short course in French makes the experience complete :/
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A pioneering creepy thriller, darkly and beautifully filmed. It's best to watch it absolutely 'blind'. Don't even read the sleeve notes - they give away too much. Read morePublished 2 months ago by DG
Classic movie; should be better known. Forget the Hollywood remakePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Old black and white movie in French (English subtitles). Still very scary and full of suspense but ultimately a downer. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Corky