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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 <email@example.com>
There is one thing that the French do better than almost any country, they produce first class cinema. Le Corbeau (The Raven) is no exception. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot makes a fine film from a popular novel about real poison pen strife in Tulane France during Vichy France in the early 40's.
The first thing an American would notice about the film, there are references, nay, there are actual scenes of passion and sex, clothed, but obvious between Pierre Fresnay of the pencil mustache and Ginette Leclerc of the lacquered lips in a 1943 film. It's subdued, and the biting of the hand scene is a little pulpy, but these folks want to do it. Americans would have to wait for Bogart and Bacall before they got some steam.
Since the Nazi's were essentially in control of France at the time, they thought an anti-informant film a bad idea. They hated it, but the French audience's ground down by what was essentially a military defeat and then an occupation, were thrilled by the tension and mystery of Le Corbeau. There are many secrets about the townspeople that complicate life in this tense little town until the culprit has a comeuppance. There are a number of classic original scenes like the light bulb scene or the avenging angel scene. This one holds up very well.
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