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

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  28 September 1943 (France)
7.7
Your rating:
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,934 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 44 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) (as Henri Georges Clouzot) , 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ginette Leclerc ...
Denise Saillens
Micheline Francey ...
Laura Vorzet
Héléna Manson ...
Marie Corbin - l'infirmière
Jeanne Fusier-Gir ...
La mercière
...
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)
...
Bonnevie - le trésorier de l'hôpital
Pierre Bertin ...
Le sous-préfet
Louis Seigner ...
Bertrand
Roger Blin ...
François - le cancéreux du 13
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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

When France was liberated from the German occupation, some crew and cast members of the film were suspended from working in the film industry because they had worked for Continental Films, a German company: actor Noël Roquevert was suspended for 3 months, production designer Andrej Andrejew for 9 months, actress Micheline Francey for a year, and the director Henri-Georges Clouzot for two years. 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

Referenced in Safe Conduct (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Humanity, before there were tabloids
21 June 2006 | by (Zurich, Switzerland) – See all my reviews

According to a short interview with filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier in the French DVD-edition, the production company responsible for Le Corbeau was founded at the instigation of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. It was supposed to produce unpolitical, „uplifting" entertainment. And it functioned outside of the control and censorship authority of the collaborationist French Vichy regime. Somehow, with Le Corbeau director Georges Henri Coluzot succeeded in standing the company's original precept on its head, painting a dark and pessimistic picture of French society. The courage, daring (and foolhardiness?) of the makers of Le Corbeau is, I assume, beyond comprehension for a contemporary audience. Many French, not least the Resistance and the post war authorities, were offended by this portrayal. But, doesn't the title sequence say explicitly that it could have happened anywhere?

That is true, of course. The pastime of making slanderous remarks and general gossiping is an universal one. In Le Corbeau, set in a small provincial town where everybody knows everybody, almost no one and hardly any scandalous subject is spared. Virtually the whole community gets caught in this whirl of wild accusations and suspicions (I detected a certain resemblance with High Noon). It is beautiful how the director gets the message through that nobody is entirely good or entirely bad, culminating in a great scene where a primitive lamp is sent swinging back and forth, letting the shadows wander.

In this movie an anonymous writer sends letters to different people with wild accusations. Oddly, the big letters, the layout and even the short, catchy phrasing look like the prototype of a tabloid newspaper. The letters actually are hand made scandal sheets in an era when newspapers still were meant for fully literate people. One of the highlights of the movie is a funeral procession in which one of those letters falls from the horse drawn hearse. Due to its bold lettering it is immediately recognizable to everyone, but the mourners do not dare pick it up and wait until a curious child gets hold of it. Then they quickly gather around – a wonderful scene.

Le Corbeau is a timeless movie that I can highly recommend.


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