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Diabolique (1955)

Les diaboliques (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 21 November 1955 (USA)
The wife and mistress of a cruel headmaster conspire to kill him; after the murder is committed, his corpse disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women.


(as H.G. Clouzot)


(novel) (as Boileau), (novel) (as Narcejac) | 4 more credits »


Airs Fri. Mar. 23, 10:00 PM on TCM

Top Rated Movies #222 | 4 wins. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christina Delassalle (as Vera Clouzot)
Thérèse Dorny ...
Georges Chamarat ...
Dr. Loisy
Le garagiste
Camille Guérini ...
Le photographe (as Camille Guerini)
Jacques Hilling ...
Le soldat
Aminda Montserrat ...
Madame Plantiveau
Jean Témerson ...
Le garçon d'hôtel (as Jean Temerson)
Jacques Varennes ...
M. Bridoux, professeur


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


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


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 November 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Diabolique  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Véra Clouzot went up and down in spirits and when Henri-Georges Clouzot and Simone Signoret would begin to fight, she would "arbitrate or pour oil on troubled waters, depending on the state she was in." The three of them, not unnoticed by observers on the set, mirrored the three characters of the movie, with Henri-Georges Clouzot standing in for Michel. See more »


When Michel is unconscious on the bed, his shoes are off. A few minutes later when Nicole and Christina pick him up and put him in the bathtub, his shoes are suddenly back on. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Kab? Kyoon? Aur Kahan? (1970) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Intense claustrophobia
28 May 2003 | by 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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