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Spotlight on a Murderer (1961)
"Pleins feux sur l'assassin" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  31 March 1961 (France)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 145 users  
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When he learns his days are numbered old count Hervé de Kéraudren decides to hide in a secret alcove and to die there, just to annoy his heirs. As a result of his body not being found the ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Comte Hervé de Kerloguen
Pascale Audret ...
Jeanne Benoist-Sainval
Jean-Marie de Kerloguen
Dany Saval ...
Philippe Leroy ...
Jean Babilée ...
Christian de Kerloguen
Georges Rollin ...
Claude Benoist-Sainval
Maryse Martin ...
Serge Marquand ...
Lucien Raimbourg ...
Robert Vattier ...
Le notaire
Jean Ozenne ...
Georges Bever ...
Le cocher


When he learns his days are numbered old count Hervé de Kéraudren decides to hide in a secret alcove and to die there, just to annoy his heirs. As a result of his body not being found the latter will have to wait for five years until they can inherit the count's money. Very upsetting indeed, all the more as they are required to keep up the Kéraudren estate in the meantime. To collect money, nephews and nieces organize a Son et Lumière show at the manor while busily looking for the missing corpse. But, unexpectedly, they get killed in turns. Murders or accidents? Jean-Marie, his fiancée Micheline and his cousin Edwige investigate and finally succeed in exposing the culprit. And, the count's body being found by chance, all goes back to normal. Written by Guy Bellinger

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Release Date:

31 March 1961 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mitternachtsmörder  »

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User Reviews

Sound and light
4 March 2006 | by See all my reviews

Georges Franju's best works remain his earlier ones:his shorts ("le Sang des bêtes)and his two first efforts "la Tête contre les Murs" and "Les Yeux sans Visage" (the latter's influence was considerable ,notably on Amenabar's "abre los ojos"(and " Vanilla Sky", its mediocre remake ).

"Pleins Feux sur l'Assassin" is "eyes without a face"' s follow -up.As you do not change a winning team,Boileau-Narcejac (even if their names are not widely known,everyone knows "Diabolique" and "Vertigo" ,both in the IMDb top 250, which were initially their novels) who adapted Jean Redon's novel in Franju 's precedent effort,wrote here the screenplay which is an original and which was never released ,to my knowledge ,as a novel.

It's moderately successful: Boileau-Narcejac ,as they did in "D'Entre les Morts" ("Vertigo") ,tried to mix thriller and supernatural .PLus Agatha Christie's whodunit.

An aristocrat dies but his heirs do not know where his body is .(but the viewer does, for the first minutes -Pierre Brasseur's short silent part- shows the old man dying).And ,which is worse,they cannot inherit ,because the body must be found ,or they would have to wait several years.In order to maintain their relative's desirable property,they set a Son et Lumière show up,based on an old legend from the Middle Ages: two lovers were caught in the act by the woman's husband and tragically died.(something like the old folk song "Matty Groves")

But it seems that someone is slowly doing away with the heirs ,and the culprit might be one of them.And the legend of long ago could repeat itself.

It is entertaining but it's a far cry from "les Yeux sans Visage". Franju was not to reach such heights afterward:his remake of Feuillade's "Judex" had its moments and both "Thomas L'Imposteur "and "Thérèse Desqueyroux" were estimable works which owed a lot to thespian Emmanuelle Riva.

Franju could have become the French Roman Polanski.

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