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Diabolique (1955)
"Les diaboliques" (original title)

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 31,408 users  
Reviews: 139 user | 96 critic

The wife of a cruel headmaster and his mistress conspire to kill him, but after the murder is committed, his body disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women.

Director:

(as H.G. Clouzot)

Writers:

(novel), (novel), 4 more credits »
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Title: Diabolique (1955)

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Christina Delassalle (as Vera Clouzot)
Paul Meurisse ...
Charles Vanel ...
Alfred Fichet, le commissaire
Jean Brochard ...
Plantiveau, le concierge
Thérèse Dorny ...
Mme. Herboux
Michel Serrault ...
M. Raymond, le surveillant
Georges Chamarat ...
Dr. Loisy
Robert Dalban ...
Le garagiste
Camille Guérini ...
Le photographe (as Camille Guerini)
Jacques Hilling ...
L'employé de la morgue
Jean Lefebvre ...
Le soldat
Aminda Montserrat ...
Madame Plantiveau
Jean Témerson ...
Le garçon d'hôtel (as Jean Temerson)
Jacques Varennes ...
M. Bridoux, professeur
Edit

Storyline

The wife and mistress of a sadistic boarding school headmaster plot to kill him. They drown him in the bathtub and dump the body in the school's filthy swimming pool... but when the pool is drained, the body has disappeared - and subsequent reported sightings of the headmaster slowly drive his 'killers' (and the audience) up the wall with almost unbearable suspense... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

See it, be amazed at it, but... BE QUIET ABOUT IT! (original Finnish poster tagline) See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 November 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Diabolique  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(A.R.T.E.C.)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Two women drive from the outskirts of Paris to Niort, the birthplace of director Henri-Georges Clouzot. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Plantiveau, le concierge: Headmaster!
Michel Delassalle: Yes.
Plantiveau, le concierge: Isn't it time I rang the bell?
Michel Delassalle: It's okay. I'll unload the car myself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The movie ends with a text screen commenting on what the viewer has witnessed, and a request not to spoil the ending for those who are planning to see the movie. See more »

Connections

Featured in Horror Europa with Mark Gatiss (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Macabre and depressing story makes for somber viewing
29 October 1998 | by (Tonsberg, Norway) – See all my reviews

Director Henri Georges Clouzot must not have had a sunny disposition. This movie is painful to watch, the angst-ridden actors bite and hack each other to bloody pieces, and the camera contemplates the action like a vulture, waiting for raw carcasses to dismember. All this, without really showing any violence. It's all in the mind.

Les Diaboliques is shot in black and white, but as I remember it, it was all murky grey. Maybe it was just the worn-out print, maybe it was intentional, but it really worked on me. Like the constant drizzle of October rain, the dirty, bedraggled schoolchildren, the delapidated buildings, the rotten school-lunches! I felt deeply suicidal!

The movie is full of scary scenes, of something unspeakably bad waiting to happen to the "murderesses". The long-awaited bathroom climax is not the most scary part, yet it is a welcome release for all the pent-up emotion, and Vera Clouzot truly appears to be near death. Her features twisted and tortured,her expressive body wretched and thin like a concentration-camp prisoner. She looks to be in real pain.

Les Diaboliques means The Devilish, and the Devil is clearly at work here. I have seldom felt a stronger presence of evil, and Clouzot manages this feat without a single concession to the bloodbath that is the modern horror-movie. This one has influenced everything from "the Exorcist" to "Rosemary's baby", yet still feels like an original, subtle classic. I loved it.


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