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Dapper Inspector Vorobechik ('Wens' for short) is assigned the case of a serial killer who leaves a calling card on his victims; Monsieur Durand. Wens' mistress, struggling actress Mila Malou, determines to get publicity for herself by helping him. Learning that Durand is one of the eccentric tenants of a boarding house at No. 21 Avenue Junot, Wens takes a room in the guise of a Protestant minister; only to be followed by Mila who hardly seems like a minister's wife! Suspects are arrested, but while each is in jail, there's another murder... Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Certainly not in the same league with his later films.
This film is about a series of murders all done, apparently, by someone calling themselves 'Mr. Durand'. At the scene of every murder, they leave a calling card taking credit for the killings and Inspector Wens is determined to get to the bottom of it. The trail leads to a boarding house and, with the unwelcome help of Mila, he will attempt to solve these horrible crimes.
Henri-Georges Clouzot directed some wonderful French thrillers and is one of the best directors of his age. Films like his "Le Corbeau", "Quai des Orfèvres", "Wages of Fear" and "Diabolique" are brilliant and must be seen. However, in this early film, "The Murderer Lives at Number 21" he does not show the greatness that would make him famous. It's decent--but also a bit annoying. Why annoying? Because Clouzot was wonderful with suspense but combining suspense with comedy was a big mistake--making this an enjoyable but lightweight film. I say lightweight because some of the acting is so incredibly broad that scenes with Mila (Suzy Delair) are often a bit painful. Overall, it is worth seeing--but don't expect his later brilliance.
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