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on 14 May 2017
An absolute classic thriller of course. Regarding the Amazon Video version, it's worth noting something which isn't mentioned in the description, that this is indeed the French language version with English subtitles, not the inferior English dub.
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on 18 July 2017
Arrived on time and quality as expected. Watched the DVD and found it OK and also various extra options to view.
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on 14 May 2017
Atmospheric, brilliant story line.
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on 29 November 2001
Les Diaboliques is an unsettling and beautifully-paced study of betrayal, mistrust and guilt. Set in a decaying boarding school, it shows the grim course of a peculiar relationship between two female teachers (Simone Signoret and Véra Clouzot) and its sadistic headmaster . Atmospherically shot in black and white, its murky tones hauntingly echo the moral ambiguity of its principals. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot expertly keeps the viewer gripped in a manner that recalls (or even prefigures) Hitchcock at his very best. The end caption of the film pleads with the audience not to reveal the ending of the film to any of their friends, and once you've seen it you'll understand why. This is a truly influential, intelligent, and unforgettable film.
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Here's a reason to turn your back on modern hollywood schlock dross and return to a time when intelligence, story, acting and sheer craftmanship actually meant something.
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.
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HALL OF FAMEon 9 November 2007
The story goes that a fellow told Alfred Hitchcock that after his daughter saw Psycho she refused to take a shower and that after she saw Diabolique she refused to get in a bathtub. Well, Hitchcock said, send her to the dry cleaners.

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. Everything in the film looks tawdry and worn. The swimming pool water is filthy and covered with slime. Every now and then small bubbles break the surface. The photography (and the film is shot in black and white) feature deep shadows, dark nights, candles. A shoe will appear, half hidden; a doorknob slowly turns; a bathtub looks like it could use a scrubbing. And there is no background music to speak of, just the quiet sounds of things moving and breathing. At the same time, the activities of the boys in the school are well developed and we come to recognize several of them. They bring us back a bit from the sense of something terrible happening, then we slip back into the movie.

Clouzot, in my opinion, has done a terrific job of building a sense of dread, but at the same time keeping us off balance by disguising what may be happening. Even though the "secret" of the plot is by now well known, Clouzot's craftsmanship keeps us (or at least me) watching. He spends whatever time he needs to build a scene or create an atmosphere. Watch how the serving of fish at the start of the movie is used to create whole stories about the school, the life of the boys, the situation of the teachers, and the characters of Michel Delasalle and his wife. Watch how Clouzot builds a creepy sense of dread when Christine goes to the morgue to identify what she thinks may be her husband's body. The sequence takes us from Christine trying to establish why she thinks the body is her husband's to the two attendants taking a cheap wooden casket from the basement of the morgue to the viewing room. At some point we realize that we are getting nervous ourselves about what might be in that box.

The end of the movie, when it was released initially in the United States, had people leaping three feet off their seats. That probably won't happen now to a new viewer, but the movie remains, in my opinion, a very fine piece of work.
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on 18 November 2003
Simone Signoret is one of the greatest French actresses that ever lived. In this film, in black and white mind you and that black and white is used to perfection, the perfection that Hitchcock reached in many of his films, Simone Signoret gets us involved in an extremely sombre and dark thriller where she plays a double game, killing without killing in order to kill with the intent to kill. Transitive or transferred killing. That is fascinating and the punch line is absolutely amazing and shocking in many ways. That film is also a deep discourse on French society ten years after the second World War : bleak and sinister. Education is shown as a constant torture of the poor boys who are the victims of their « teachers ». Married life is shown as a sham and a total hypocritical lie without any love. And love is shown as the most drastically criminal motivation in life. Love can only exist as the outcome of murder. But Simone Signoret goes even farther because we never know if she is an angel of justice or a devil of crime. She is both an angel of light and hope and at the same time a devil of darkness and despair. She is able to assume this double personality and to make us feel a desire to kill because it seems to be the only humane solution. And yet she constantly gives us this aftertaste that has the texture of blood and guilt. And yet the punchline is absolutely frightening because it shows how little each one of us is when in the hands of such a schizophrenic criminal and her own doppelganger. She is a Janus of crime and of life at the same time. Life is just like crime, a lie and a sham, a desire and a fear, a pleasure and a pain, an enjoyment and a torture. This original film is a hundred times better than its American remake, « Games », because there is no humor, no fun, no laughter, not even a smile in « Les Diaboliques », whereas we can smile with satisfaction at the end of « Games », the satisfaction that the criminal is the real judge, executioner and angel of justice. Here Simone Signoret is a dreadful encounter that we must by all means avoid if we want to survive and remain sane.
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on 31 December 2004
Surely if this was a Hollywood movie it would rate alongside the likes of Psycho, Gone With The Wind and It's A Wonderful Life. Les Diboliques (The Devils) was, in fact, a blueprint for Psycho and you can see how Hitchcock was influenced by this film. A brutal headmaster in an oppressive school is murdereded by his wife and mistress, but the body disappears and his spirit appears to haunt them. The ending is a classic twist and perhaps one of the most alarming moments in cinema history. An absolute must.
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on 8 March 2016
Good, if a bit dated.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 March 2011
This famous old film is as a good as people say it is. I watched it because it appeared on a list of 'Top Ten' films in various genres in 'The Guardian' - and they were right! Vera Clouzot plays the wife of the headmaster of a boys' boarding school (Paul Marisse). Her husband treats her with contempt, as he does his mistress, the impressive Nicole (Simone Signoret). Together the victimised women plan his death ; together they carry it out, ingeniously. After that things go wrong in a way which creates both surprise and eerie suspense. I cannot be specific without spoiling things, but the plot is clever and startling, and it builds to a marvellous conclusion. The black-and-white decrepitude of the school buildings, the claustrophobic nature of the relationships, the excellent direction of Henri-Georges Clouzot and above all the splendid acting of every member of the cast, particularly the three principals, combine to make this a masterpiece of its kind and a very watchable film indeed. Very highly recommended.
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