IMDb > Diabolique (1955) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Les diaboliques
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Diabolique More at IMDbPro »Les diaboliques (original title)

Write review
Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 3 of 15: [Prev][1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [Next]
Index 150 reviews in total 

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

"Don't you believe in Hell?"

Author: ackstasis from Australia
9 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

For a brief period during the 1950s, French director Henri-Georges Clouzot temporarily swiped the title of "The Master of Suspense" from Alfred Hitchcock, owing to a string of well-received suspense thrillers, most notably 'The Wages of Fear (1953)' and 'Les Diaboliques (1955).' The latter was an adaptation of the novel "Celle qui n'était plus (She Who Was No More)" by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac; it was released in the UK as 'The Devils,' and in the United States as 'Diabolique.' Upon its initial release, the film was extensively likened to the work of Hitchcock {who, popular legend tells us, missed out on purchasing the novel rights by a mere few hours}, with its slow-burning, deliberately-paced suspense, and a shocking twist that I never for a moment saw coming. Though, with the notable exception of two scenes – both involving a murder, with only one of them being real – the film isn't particularly scary, the tension, the paranoia and the blackened shadows often become overwhelming, and Clouzot deftly toes the line between supernatural evil, and the evil that lurks within all of us.

Christina Delassalle (Véra Clouzot) and Nicole Horner (Simone Signoret), both teachers at a boarding school for young boys, have a rather peculiar friendship. Christina is married to Michel (Paul Meurisse), a violent and tyrannical husband who derives pleasure from humiliating his pretty but physically-delicate wife. Nicole, conversely, is Michel's mistress, a proud and independent woman who knows how to take control of a situation. At one point in the film, upon witnessing the two woman quietly conversing, a fellow professor makes a fascinated remark: "I may be reactionary, but this is absolutely astounding - the legal wife consoling the mistress! No, no, and no!" The mere fact that Christina and Nicole have become close should already hint at a sinister situation underlying the surface, and, indeed, it is soon revealed that the two women plan to murder Michel and ridding themselves of his oppression. The "murder" itself – a sedative in the alcohol, and drowning their unconscious victim in the bathtub, is exceedingly disturbing, as we guiltily and uneasily ask ourselves if we'd have the courage to carry through such a scheme.

Alfred Hitchcock often delighted in creating suspense through the audience's subversive empathy for a film's villain, as a murderer attempts frantically to remove all traces of their crime. Clouzot uses a similar technique in his film, though, given the loathsome nature of the murder victim, our sympathy for the two women is almost demanded of us. However, the disappearance of Michel's body from the school swimming pool is completely unexpected, and either hints at a supernatural overtone, or that somebody else is quite obviously aware of their terrible crime. The paranoia from here rarely lets up, and we continually bombard ourselves with an endless stream of questions, unable to provide an answer for any of them. On a weaker note, despite the ever-present air of tension, few scenes actually succeeded in getting my heart pumping at a mile-a-minute, which was a slightly disappointing response that I can't quite explain. Perhaps a few sequences need to have been shortened slightly, just to swipe off ten unnecessary minutes, and allowing for a brisker pace that never gives you a chance to exhale.

Was the above review useful to you?

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Not very suspenseful, but not bad.

Author: Rockwell_Cronenberg from United States
29 March 2012

Maybe my expectations were just too high for this, but I have to say it was quite the disappointment. I didn't find Diabolique bad by any means, but hearing people say that it's better than anything Hitchcock ever did is pretty laughable in my eyes. I think it looks worse by comparison to Hitchcock, but in it's own right it's a solid, if not particularly impressive work. Concerning the wife and mistress of a school headmaster who conspire to murder him together, Henri-Georges Clouzot's film took a while to get going for me but once it did I found some solid enjoyment out of it.

A lot of what makes it work comes more from the work of the two women at it's core. Simone Signoret, as the mistress, takes charge of the murderous plot and stands firm in her beliefs, cold and calculated. She's always trying to remain in control, remain collected, and when things start to unravel you can see her slowly twist at the idea of potentially suffering the consequences. Vera Clouzot, as the wife, takes on the more unstable, emotional role and she really makes it sing. She is wild, uncontrollable and never at rest. Whereas Signoret is very still and mannered, Clouzot bounces off the walls in her distress and this contrast between them drives the film more than anything the director himself does.

There are some nice twists in the narrative that keep the mystery alive in the latter half of the film, along with a stunning final sequence that finally lived up to the hype that had been built around the film. The final sequence was mesmerizing and terrifying, culminating in a twist that I was surprised I didn't see coming. That being said, the resolution itself was disappointingly pedestrian. Overall though, I didn't find much to write home about here, although it was certainly good. This was my first Clouzot film and I'll be sure to check out several more of his works, but if this is a sign of what he has to offer me then I'm afraid I'll never be able to understand those who rank him above his English companion.

Was the above review useful to you?

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Devils

Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
15 November 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nicole and Christina believe they have committed the perfect murder of a lover and husband who was anything but the tenderhearted, most loving person in the world. That man is Michel, a principal of a male boarding school his wife Christina paid for with her wealth. Michel holds everyone at bay because he has this powerfully vile hold over everyone from his perpetually "walking-on-egg-shells" wife to the teachers under his watch. He is really abusive toward Christina who is weak with an exterior so shaken with fear she suffers from a heart condition. What makes the opening of this film so fascinating is Clouzot doesn't show the building of the set-up for murdering Michel, but we hear through their dialogue this planning of the event for quite some time. What is also jarring is that Nicole and Christina seem to be friendly with one another which is startling since Nicole is Michel's lover. There's an instance when Nicole is about to share what Michel told her in bed regarding his wishes for his wife's demise to Christina! It is quite interesting that Nicole is the instigator of the actions that soon occur regarding how they set-up Michel and kill him. We watch as this whole scenario takes place which leaves little doubt that Nicole and been premeditating how to kill Michel for quite some time. One mistake of course is deciding to include Christina in her plans to the whole set-up and murder since she's so weak-kneed that any little minute ordeal would throw her into a frenzy.

Once the deed is indeed over and they toss Michel's body in the nasty, murky pool beside the school, it's all about someone discovering it. That tricky part really ratchets up the true tension in the story. Christina, who is finding it unbearable waiting day after day as that body is supposedly waiting on the bottom undiscovered, has the pool drained but, to her horror, no body is found. Where did that body go? Who removed it? Was he dead? Throughout the film, Nicole and Christina deal with the underlying guilt from their deed and mistrust which starts to loom over their "relationship" like a rain-cloud when going to the police station often becomes a topic of conversation.

A detective makes things even worse as he represents a constant reminder that their crime is always on display as awaiting that final axe to chop never goes away. Christina is also a devout catholic which only adds to the luggage of guilt already weighing her down.

Good casting, very intelligent story-line(that develops after the "perfect murder" rather than focusing on it as what usually takes place in mysteries), and a suspenseful build-up with questions abound that keeps the viewer guessing at what will happen as that body stays missing. Though clues of his existence as a living man seems possible, the film is slippery at actually showing him while pulsating the theme of Christina's inner strife at what she has done. Great film-making in every possible way.

Was the above review useful to you?

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Great slow-burn horror

Author: Zombie_CPA from United States
10 May 2006

This is an excellent slow-burn movie which fills you full of tension and anticipation. Véra Clouzot does an excellent job as the naive wife, Christina, who plots with her husband's mistress to kill him. Véra's husband Henri-Georges Clouzot does a great job in the director's chair and keeps the audience in suspense. It is one of those films that keeps you in anticipation until the very last frame. Typically, I hate subtitles but they did not bother me here because the movie was so good. One of the great things about this movie is that none of the main characters are truly innocent. The only weakness I saw was the movie dragged on a little too long. Overall, an excellent film and a must see.

Was the above review useful to you?

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Timeless Classic

Author: Matt Reedy from UK
13 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Before I saw this film, I wouldn't go near a 'thriller', or a foreign film, and definitely not one that was made thirty years before I was born.

Afterwards however, I couldn't get enough. Vera Clouzot is, quite frankly, mesmerising in the lead, and the film has plenty of genuinely chilling moments, not least with the image in the window.

Foreign language films can be a bit daunting at first, but this is a great place to start, and fans of any age would be well advised to check it out.

Henri Clouzot has been compared to Hitchcock, but this film seems to creep up on you even more than Psycho, and for its age, is doubtlessly one of the best films around.

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Somewhat dawdling and far-fetched murder mystery, though well-performed...

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
10 June 2010

Two female teachers at a boys' boarding school conspire to bump off the cruel headmaster, who is married to one of the ladies and finishing an affair with the other. French director Henri-Georges Clouzot, whom some have compared to Alfred Hitchcock, is so plot-driven as a filmmaker that he tends to skitter over minute details, such as a forgotten set of keys in a suit or another set of keys at the bottom of a swimming pool. Stray ends such as these tend to linger in the mind after the film is over, lessening the picture's overall impact. Clouzot also produced the film and co-adapted the screenplay from Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac's novel "Celle qui n'était plus", and perhaps got too carried away with a sub-plot involving a retired detective. The finale is mounted beautifully for suspense but, again, Clouzot is so maddeningly tied to the plot mechanisms that there isn't any room for surprises. Remade for American television as "Reflections of Murder" in 1974, and again theatrically as "Diabolique" with Sharon Stone in 1996. **1/2 from ****

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Marvellous & Memorable

Author: seymourblack-1 from United Kingdom
16 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Les Diaboliques" is a classic murder mystery with a fascinating story, interesting characters, good plot twists and a sensational conclusion. On its release it achieved great commercial success and in the years since has maintained its popularity and served as a major source of inspiration for other filmmakers with many of its original elements being employed to great effect, especially in psychological thrillers. Its story was based on the novel "Celle qui n'etait plus" by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. These are the same writers who wrote "D'Entre des Morts" which was the source material for Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo". There is a similarity between the two plots in the sense that revelations in the second half of both stories change the audience's perception of what they've seen in the first half.

A strong feature of the movie is its characters (particularly those who comprise the menage a trois) and the time taken to explore the dynamic between them and their motivations is particularly pertinent to what happens later in the story. The combination of Henri-Georges Clouzot's skillful direction and Armand Thirard's cinematography contributes powerfully to the ominous atmosphere of the piece and the tension that prevails throughout.

The setting for the action is a run down boarding school where the arrogant and abusive Principal Michel Delasalle (Paul Meurisse) is despised by his staff, his pupils, his sickly wife Christina (Vera Clouzot) and his mistress Nicole (Simone Signoret). Christina is a rather timid ex-nun who owns the school and also has a heart condition. She's habitually humiliated by Michel's behaviour, his abuse and the fact that everyone in the school is aware of his infidelity. Nicole is a competent, assertive and rather calculating member of the staff who has been physically abused by Michel and at one stage wears dark glasses to conceal a black eye.

Instead of being at loggerheads with each other, the two women become close as they reach the limit of their tolerance and decide that they can't endure their maltreatment any longer. They devise a plan to end their plight and go to Nicole's apartment in a village some distance away from the school during a holiday. Christina lures Michel to the apartment so that they can drown him and transport him back to the school where his body would be deposited in the swimming pool. The plan is successful and the women wait for the corpse to float to the surface so that it'll appear that Michel has died as the result of an accident. When the body fails to surface, the pool is drained but Michel's body has vanished. The events that follow make the women increasingly bewildered and anxious until eventually matters reach their shocking conclusion.

Christina's character is particularly interesting because although she's the most financially powerful of the three, she's also the most diffident and the most fragile because of her poor health. Her religious beliefs prevent her from seeing divorce as an acceptable means of escape from her husband's abuse and yet her natural inclination to be compliant leads her into going along with the murder plot suggested by the more forceful Nicole. This in turn also makes her become full of anguish as the threat of discovery grows and more guilt ridden when she has more time to reflect on the part she'd played in what was an extremely wicked act.

"Les Diaboliques" is a marvellous and memorable movie with great performances from its three main characters, an enjoyable mixture of suspense and moments of black humour and the sort of power and quality which make it totally unforgettable. This is simply one of those movies that should be seen by everyone who enjoys cinema because regardless of their reaction to it, they'll never forget it.

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A brilliant, perfect movie.

Author: redpony5 from Austin, Texas
12 June 2000

This movie epitomizes for me the reason movies exist. To let you know that somewhere, sometime, someone else was exactly in the same place that you are. They understand you. The words flow from actors mouths as they would from your mind at that very moment.

At no point in this film do you ever consider that you are watching a staged, rehearsed, acted scene. Director just behind the camera giving instruction. Hours spent in the editing room piecing it together just right. This is easily one of the most natural feeling movies I have ever seen and contains one of the most suspenseful scenes ever put to tape.

I've been watching thriller/horror/suspense movies practically since birth. Used to sneak into the living room after my parents went to sleep to watch them. So, needless to say, I've gotten to a point that I am rarely impressed, much less affected in such a way by such a movie. And to think...this was made almost 50 years ago. Exceptional.

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Everything the remake isn't

Author: Bill Anderson ( from New Hope, Alabama USA
31 January 1999

Please don't watch that awful remake with Sharon Stone. Enjoy this one. The original. In French. In black and white. With English subtitles. With the ending that is followed by a plea not to reveal what has just happened. I love a film that sucks me in and fools me and ultimately makes me glad I've been fooled. I won't tell you what happens in the original. I will tell you that if you saw the recent remake, you were cheated. Big time.

Was the above review useful to you?

3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Probably the most chilling, suspense/thriller EVER made

Author: Kalkhas from Birmingham, England
8 January 1999

This is without a doubt the best work of its genre. To find a film which leaves one's head spinning at the enormity of plot and literally keeps one in suspense until the very last few frames is rare, but coupled with the incredible acing and characterisations, this can be the only film of its kind. DON'T MISS IT!!

Was the above review useful to you?

Page 3 of 15: [Prev][1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [Next]

Add another review

Related Links

Plot summary Plot synopsis Ratings
Awards External reviews Parents Guide
Plot keywords Main details Your user reviews
Your vote history