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

8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 31,359 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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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:

The Great Suspense Film That Shocked the World... And Became A Classic. See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The school car is the "Fourgonnette" (small delivery van) variant of the iconic Citroen 2CV. 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

Referenced in The 100 Greatest Scary Moments (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Intense claustrophobia
28 May 2003 | by (Zurich, Switzerland) – See all my reviews

Les diaboliques is an unusually intense movie. I believe this is due to the well thought out choice of real locations and the masterful use of spatial entities and textures. Your memory really gets hooked on those things, and it gives the story a sense of reality that makes you feel uneasy.

Les diaboliques is as much a horror movie as it is a thriller. When I watch this I perceive an intense mouldy smell throughout. The crumbling boarding school where the main characters live and act is worse than any nightmare – even the swimming pool filled with murky water appears like a menacing abyss. The stifling crummyness is accentuated by the plot: School teachers sit at the sadistic principal's table in the refectory and have to force unspeakably ghastly meals down their throats (only one glass of wine is allowed). The second location is the principal's lover's apartment in a dead borough somewhere in no man's land. It's stuffy and utterly claustrophobic. The transfer between the two places is made with a "deux chevaux" station wagon – its characteristic back part of corrugated sheet metal once was a common feature in our parts of the world, as was the snarling sound of the deux chevaux‘s engine. In the corrugated iron "box" sits a creaky wicker crate, which on the way back from the lover's apartment contains evidence of the crime, wrapped in a checkered wax tablecloth. So you see shells within shells, not unlike one of those Russian wooden dolls. You don't know what you will find in the innermost until the end.


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