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

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A highly absorbing, intelligent and suspenseful psychological thriller

Author: danjakubik from Chicago
26 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Les Diaboliques" (1955) ranks as one of the most intelligently written and directed psychological thrillers I've ever seen. It's a film for enthusiasts and one that requires patience, as it slowly adds layers to it's story, builds suspense and ends with a surprise double twist. It's all very interesting and absorbing.

Two women conspire to murder a man. One is the wife and the other is the mistress. Things appear successful, until strange things begin to happen, challenging the sanity of one of the women.

The opening credits appear with some surreal imagery and a haunting little music score, the only music of the film. Best enjoyed by serious film goers. Highly recommended.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant film with memorable details

Author: vfx3 from Los Angeles, U.S.A.
25 May 2011

This beautifully made shocker, as with other great films, is filled with memorable details. Among them, is the setting in post-war France, with the shadows of WW2 seemingly casting a sombre pall on everything: the struggling economical problems of the characters; the look of distress on the buildings. The art direction by Barsacq captures fascinating details of the way furnishings and possessions of people looked. Another interesting element is the presentation of the students at the boarding school. The students seemed to be especially rowdy and disrespectful; was this typical behavior for students at French boarding schools in the 1950s?

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of the best thrillers, ever.

Author: R Renfew from California
16 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

More than 100 reviews, so I won't duplicate all the praise. For those who panned the film, I feel so sorry for you . . . go watch the Sharon Stone burlesque!

I just want to add one thing: I saw this film during its original release at a theater in west LA (The Wilshire-Ebell) as a 15 year-old. The theater manager must have been a real film buff, since he "contributed" to one of the scariest scenes of the film. Near the end, there is a scene at the climax of a long, suspenseful investigation by the wife of the schoolmaster - she has heard mysterious noises in the deserted rooms, through long, dim, creaky corridors in the school building. At this point in the film, the lights in the schoolroom go out. Just at that point, the manager had the projectionist turn off all the house lights (dim as they were), as well! The effect instantly immersed everyone right into the scene! I remember many people yelling . . . I believe I was too frightened to make a sound.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Another solution

Author: David Spear from Pennsylvania
30 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The were several possible solutions which occurred to me. One of them was as filmed. Another was the obvious ghost solution.

But another possibility was that the body was actually found and quietly reported to the police. Then the ex-commissioner set a trap for the two women, who were obvious suspects because of the abuse. The traps the police used to check the ID of the naked body seemed to support this. It could have easily been the ex-commissioner who had the suit dry-cleaned and sent to the women. It was obvious that the suit was meant to scare the women. And he finally did get a confession, though his reaction showed that this wasn't the solution chosen.

SPOILER: Actually, the movie's solution has a flaw, since it depends on the wife not checking that he is really dead, something they could not be certain of.

The best part was at the very end, where it seems clear that the wife isn't really dead, and is giving payback. I hope she succeeds.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Pure genius.

Author: buddypatrick from Brisbane, Australia
28 July 2007

Les Diaboliques is amongst the greatest thrillers of all time without a doubt, right up there with Psycho, Rear Window and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. Set and made in France in the 1950's, no other director but Henri-Georges Clouzot himself could have done better, not even the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, who intended on making this film via the novel.

Although I did see the 1996 remake first starring Sharon Stone as Nicole and Isabelle Adjani as Mia (Christina in the 1955 version), no one can quite describe the magic this film had in comparison to the remake. The evil atmosphere, the foreign feel, the setting and time it was made make this film so enjoyable to watch. It has wonderful scenery and really fine interior settings.

If anything I noticed, it was the amazing lack of music which caused heavy suspense and scares one at moments due to the silent vibes, thus creating almost a realistic feel of being there at the time the character is wandering down dark hallways and through spooky rooms at night. Another thing that stands out is the incredibly amazing cinematography. The art and picture quality used in this film is fantastic, not to mention the fact that this film is in black and white causing more of a spooky atmosphere.

Acting and character from actress Simone Signoret is amazing. Her character is very mysterious and yet we get to know who she is and what she is like about twenty minutes into the film. Her character is very likable and has its humorous moments, how her character does not care, how her character hides herself up so well. Her acting is superb and almost masterful.

The time I waited to see Les Diaboliques was worth it, making this film more than just another movie I bought from the store, but a masterpiece, a classic in film history. Let it be known that Les Diaboliques is one of the most masterful crafted films ever to be made and one day may its superb elements influence hundreds of directors.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

HG Clouzot!

Author: Cristi_Ciopron from CGSM, Soseaua Nationala 49
17 July 2006

With "Les Diaboliques",Clouzot offered his beautiful and gifted wife, Mrs. Véra Clouzot,and also Charles Vanel and Mrs. Signoret,an imperishable aesthetic existence.This film is one of the finest instances of a director coming with the right stuff at the right time--making an astonishing masterpiece exactly when he was expected to do it--not out of the blue,not unawares--but a purposeful and deliberate and expected for masterpiece.(To give here only 3 examples:Jean Renoir with The River (1951) ,The Golden Coach ,French Cancan (1954) and Elena and Her Men ;Marcel Carné with Children of Paradise and Juliette Ou La clef Des Songes ;Robert Bresson with Au Hasard Balthazar (1966),Mouchette (1967) ,many others;etc.,etc., etc., etc..But I do not wish to seem to imply that this case is exceptional;many examples could be further given:all the great ones, Bergman,Bunuel, Fellini,Mihalkov, Kitano,Tarkovski,etc.).In other words,these are all instances of directors unvanquished by their previous glory and who continued making masterpieces after they became famous.They knew how to score.The glory did not spoil them.

"Les Diaboliques" is one of the best,the most perfect movies I've ever seen.Clouzot,the script,the dialogs,the cast,the cinematography,everything is hugely entertaining.Mrs. Signoret is one of the best and finest actresses that ever lived and worked (I share this passion with my mother!),and an ideal cast.Peter Falk,doing his "Columbo",looks almost as if he is a Vanel--wanna-be.Everything is there,in Vanel's Fichet,and Vanel does not need tens of episodes to draw his policeman Falk is good and amusing,etc.,but Vanel did it first,and with genius.Among the most alive policeman roles in movies' history!Mrs. Clouzot is also thrilling to watch,a very accomplished actress.

...And Clouzot,what a power,what a strength!

I would rather see 45 times a Mrs. Signoret movie,than 45 Mrs. Stone movies!(It looks like Mrs. Stone did appear in 70 movies,till now!)

I see "Les Diaboliques" was given a weighted average vote of 8.4 / 10. Totally unfair and wrong.(Also,there are only 68 comments, fewer that I expected.A shameful bluff like "Vertigo" has 387 comments !And that "Marnie",106 comments !And even ..."Frenzy",102 comments !)

As far as the suspenseful sinister ,the frankness and the mysteries are concerned,"Les Diaboliques" is,indeed,related to writers such as Balzac,Barbey d'Aurevilly and the Barbey d'Aurevilly-minded M. Caragiale;that is,the French and French-minded school of mystery.(Barbey d'Aurevilly was highly appreciated by M. Caragiale,RL Stevenson, Bloy,Bernanos).

Is it legitimate to make connections between the film's aesthetics,and literature's?Cosasu,at least,did it all the time.

In '93,I was thrilled by two French movies.One of them was "Martin Roumagnac" (by Lacombe),and the other was ..."The Wages of Fear ",made by the same Henri-Georges Clouzot and starring Yves Montand and ...Charles Vanel (that is "Alfred Fichet" from "Les Diaboliques").

It looks like the 50's were Henri-Georges Clouzot's decade in the French cinema!

(In the '50s,3 years after Clouzot,Hitchcock did also a movie based on a Boileau-Narcejac novel;oh,it is in so many ways inferior to "Les Diaboliques"!)

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

What started out being a mild drama mystery, turned into a horrible murder mystery

Author: irene-95 from United States
2 April 2006

I was intrigued by the title when I first saw this movie. At first I thought the acting good and the story a mystery drama. There was plot changes that did not change that did not make the movie less enjoyable, but it took mystery to another level. I enjoyed how the movie challenged my loyalty to the characters. Even the ending which I thought vague, left the ending up to the viewer,a nd left the door open for a sequel which I am surprised no one has attempted to film. The detective role was excellent, even the role of the children added to the suspense of the film. Of all the remake of films this is one that I feel could stand up to being an excellent film on it's own without standing on the reputation of the original film. There have been remakes of the original film, but none which measure up to the quality of the original for me. The title alone gives me chills. The first time I watched this film I thought the first 1/3 of the film was rather mild for such a terrible title, but by the end of the movie it had earned it's title.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Classic suspense film from Clouzot "the French Hitchcock"

Author: Stanley Strangelove from Portland, Oregon US
27 August 2005

Diaboliques, Les (known in the US as Diabolique or also The Devils) is one of the greatest suspense films.

The acting is solid.Paul Meurisse plays Michel Delasalle a nasty head master of a boys school. He abuses his wife Christina (Vera Clouzot - wife of the director in real life.). Simone Signoret plays Nicole Horner a teacher at the school.

Charles Vanel steals the movie as Alfred Fichet a private detective. Vera Clouzot is beautiful as the abused wife and Simone Signoret is also good as her friend.

Made in 1955 it was directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. His films are similar to Alfred Hitchcock's and he was known as "the French Hitchcock." Clouzot barely beat out Hitch for the rights to The Pierre Boileau novel upon which Dialbolique is based. Hitchcock considered Clouzot a rival and partially made Psycho in order to top Dialbolique. Unfortunately, Clouzot had ill health which diminished his film output. Another great Clouzot film is Wages of Fear (Salaire de la peur, Le (1953) which was remade as Sorcerer by William Friedman.

The movie is subtitled but don't let that put you off. You will recognize many scenes in this movie that have been copied over and over in suspense films. This is a film you can see many times and enjoy. By all means avoid the remake of the movie with Sharon Stone which is terrible.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

outstanding thriller, with minor flaws

Author: Steve Schonberger from near Seattle, WA, USA
23 July 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is a wonderful thriller about an abused wife and a mistreated mistress who team up to kill the brutal husband. Their plot at first seems like a perfect crime, but then complications start appearing. From the start, the wife's remorse risks revealing the crime, particularly after an inspector shows up. Then the husband's corpse disappears. The mystery and tension build up through the entire film, all the way to the conclusion.

The flaws are quite minor, because they don't detract from the suspense at all. One problem is that the ending was a bit too abrupt. An extra minute or two of denouement would have helped.

Another problem is that a few early clues in the movie were presented in a way that went a bit too far in misdirecting viewers away from the correct conclusion. A good mystery needs some red herrings, but one should have a bit more chance of recognizing them as misdirection. It would be an inexcusable spoiler to reveal the false clues, avoiding spoilers makes it difficult to explain which clue I mean to those who have seen the movie.

A nice touch at the end of the movie is that it has a request on screen asking viewers not to reveal the movie's secrets to people who haven't seen it. It is said to be the first movie to have included such a request.

I saw the Criterion DVD version. I'm pleased they selected it, because that's one thing that led me to watch the movie. In spite of the minor flaws I noted, the movie is a suspense classic.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Lots to offer for suspense buffs

Author: statsmitt from toronto
5 December 1999

Les Diaboliques is not only a classic of the genre, it is the blueprint from which so many of today's suspense films use as a guide. Even the great Alfred Hitchcock was inspired by this macabre masterpiece from French director Henri Clouzot. I just finished watching the Criterion DVD of this gem and, although it is not as pristine as some other Criterion offerings, it does represent the best quality you are likely to find of this better than 40-year-old film.

There are three reference standard items to watch for in this film. Naturally, the ending is what garners the most attention and the fact that Clouzot originated the idea of asking his audience not to reveal it to other would-be filmgoers. But, the cinematography used here is excellent in all its black and white glory. The opening credit sequence with raindrops splashing on the pavement in the background is captivating. The third item to watch for is the portrayal of the police inspector. Not only is it an uncanny resemblance to Peter Falk in his Columbo character -- this is in fact the very character that inspired Columbo and his idiosyncracies (ie. rumpled look, cigar, seemingly distracted manner).

Most people who are students of film or just plain looking for a good suspense flick will not be disappointed in this landmark feature. Don't even think about confusing this with the 90's schlock attempted copy.

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