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Le Corbeau: The Raven (1943)
"Le corbeau" (original title)

7.6
Your rating:
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 5,616 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 42 critic

French village doctor becomes target of poison-pen letters sent to village leaders, accusing him of affairs and practicing abortion.

Director:

(as Henri Georges Clouzot)

Writers:

(scenario), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Fresnay ...
Le docteur Rémy Germain
Ginette Leclerc ...
Denise Saillens
Micheline Francey ...
Laura Vorzet
Héléna Manson ...
Marie Corbin, l'infirmière
Jeanne Fusier-Gir ...
La mercière
Sylvie ...
La mère du cancéreux
Liliane Maigné ...
Rolande Saillens
Pierre Larquey ...
Michel Vorzet
Noël Roquevert ...
Saillens, la maître d'école
Bernard Lancret ...
Le substitut
Antoine Balpêtré ...
Le docteur Delorme (as Antoine Balpétré)
Jean Brochard ...
Bonnevie, le trésorier de l'hôpital
Pierre Bertin ...
Le sous-préfet
Louis Seigner ...
Bertrand
Roger Blin ...
François, le cancéreux du 13
Edit

Storyline

A vicious series of poison-pen letters spreads rumours, suspicion and fear among the inhabitants of a small French town, and one after another, they turn on each other as their hidden secrets are unveiled - but the one secret that no-one can uncover is the identity of the letters' author... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Une petite ville, ici ou ailleurs. [Post War Version] See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 September 1943 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Raven  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Wide Range Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The screenplay is based on a true story which took place in Tulle (Corrèze, France) in the 1920s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Le docteur Rémy Germain: [washes blood off his arms] I saved the mother.
Grand-mother: And the baby?
Le docteur Rémy Germain: No.
See more »

Connections

Remade as The 13th Letter (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Thunderbolt .
8 December 2001 | by See all my reviews

It's a legend!and a black one!The most famous scandal of French cinema during the occupation,le corbeau (the raven) has not lost its feathers even today. The facts:it was produced by the German firm "continental" where Clouzot used to work as a scripter "en chef".But people went as far as saying that the movie was shown in German movie theaters under the disagreeable title "a small town like so many other ones in France" .Balderdash!The movie was never released in Germany at the time. As Roger Boussinot wrote in "l'encyclopédie du cinéma"(1980),"the bourgeoisie ,be it French or German was all the same everywhere,and Hitler,whose fortunes were on the wane ,had to treat his own (bourgeoisie) gently.Actually,the film ran into difficulties after the Liberation.It was the ideal scapegoat,and along with so many others ,like Sacha Guitry,Arletty(the female star of "les enfants du paradis"),Ginette Leclerc (the female star of "le corbeau")and other "collaborators" (sic),Clouzot was blacklisted.

Why so much acrimony against "le corbeau"?Because it depicted life in French provinces in a way that was far from being idyllic.Anonymous letters are sent by the "raven",and drags the town through the mud.At first sight ,it seems like a simple whodunit:Clouzot 's first effort (l'assassin habite au 21) was a thriller.But there's more to the picture than meets the eye:what was latent in the first movie,we see it in its true colors:Clouzot's contempt for the whole human race,which will increase over the years.No character in "le corbeau " to identify with:the prototype of the film noir.Where is good?Where is bad?The most famous scene remains that of the light sway :the world is not black and white,what you thought black might be white and vice versa .

"Le Corbeau' was released at the wrong time.It was too different from the "Occupation" movies which dealt with "escape" "dream" as works as Carné's "les visiteurs du soir" or Jean Delannoy/Jean Cocteau's "l'éternel retour" testify.It was 1947 before HG Clouzot was allowed to direct again.Four years has passed,and he came back to Belgian writer Steeman (whose "le dernier des six" and "l'assassin habite au 21" he had already adapted),but his venom and his misanthropy hadn't dried up,and more masterpieces were to follow.

Otto Preminger directed a remake "the 13th letter" in 1951 which I haven't seen.On the other hand ,there was a French "modern "update by Yves Boisset (Radio Corbeau,1989)which is watchable but which can't be compared to Clouzot's thunderbolt back in 1943.


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