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Where the Truth Lies (1962)

Maléfices (original title)
Did Myriam cast a spell on Catherine ?



, (novel) | 3 more credits »
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Credited cast:
Myriam Heller
François Rauchelle
Catherine Rauchelle
Mathé Mansoura ...
Jeanne Pérez ...
Mother Capitaine
Georges Chamarat ...
Marcel Pérès ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Maurice Ducasse
Nyète ...
The cheetah


François is a vet surgeon on the Noirmoutier island .He is married to Catherine .One day ,he is called by a mysterious attractive woman,Myriam ,whose leopard is sick.They become lovers. But Myriam lived in Africa for years and she seems to have maleficent powers.Besides ,she is a jealous possessive woman who wants to keep François for herself alone.She owns a strange statuette which might cast a spell on someone who's on the way ,François 's wife for instance.And Catherine falls suddenly seriously ill. Written by dbdumonteil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

black magic | based on novel | See All (2) »


Sheer Passion, Violence and Power!... See more »




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Release Date:

October 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Where the Truth Lies  »

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Referenced in Les échos du cinéma: Episode #1.12 (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

I put a spell on you.
22 June 2017 | by See all my reviews

On Noirmoutier Island,The Passage Du Gois, a periodically flooded causeway is unique in the world for its length (4.5km), . Its 9 signals provide sanctuary to the more reckless who are taken by surprise as the water rises.(Tourist Office)Noirmoutier has been connected to mainland France by bridge since 1971-the film was made in 1962 ,so the only way to the island was the Gois.

Henri Decoin's Films Noirs of the second half of the fifties were only a pale reflection of his great movies ("Non Coupable" "La Fille Du Diable " " Les Inconnus Dans La Maison" ....)But in 1962,out of the blue, "Maléfices" nearly matched Decoin's heyday ,with its deadly charm,its oppressive atmosphere, its sense of mystery ,and unabashed confidence when the overrated Nouvelle Vague was ruling.Given inspiring material, the director could still rise to the occasion.

And the material is first-class: a diabolic(!) suspense by Boileau- Narcejac :must it be repeated that ,without them "Les Diaboliques" and "Vertigo" would never have existed ?

The movie begins with a long panoramic shot on the famous Gois (see above)enhanced by a lugubrious ominous score .François ,married to Catherine ,lives in Beauvoir/Mer .He is a vet surgeon and he travels all over the region ,in his Deux-Chevaux car .The first scene (not from the novel) shows a peasant whose cow is sick: he does not really believe in science ,but he does think there is a curse on his cattle .François does not take it seriously and however...

Called on Noirmoutier island to treat a sick leopard ,the vet meets a mysterious attractive woman,Myriam .Almost reluctantly ,he becomes her lover in a house where a statuette and disturbing paintings made by the owner who was born and lived in Africa for years seem to have maleficent powers .Myriam,jealous and possessive does not want to share her lover with his wife .And because of a strange (tropical?) disease , Catherine falls into the well:although she survived the "accident" she becomes sicker and sicker: illness or poisoning?Or did Myriam cast a spell on her? The disturbing woman wants to return to Africa and François to follow her there.Having read books provided by a strange doctor,François begins to believe in black magic power.The only way to save his wife would be to break the spell while following his mistress ...

Decoin takes advantage of the filming on location (the tragedy on the Gois is a model of simplicity and efficiency),he makes the Noirmoutier landscapes as threatening as Henri Calef did in 1949 with Le Mont Saint Michel in "Eaux Troubles" .And those who read the book will agree that Juliette Greco was the ideal choice (I cannot think of another actress in the part of this sexy witch ).

Against all odds ,and without writing a spoiler,one can go as far to write that "Malefices" is a story of Amour Fou ;and when it's over ,the viewer will not really know who really killed who.

The novel begins with a confession the hero sends to the police and the story is a long flashback.However the screenwriters did a very good adaptation,to creditable effect.

"Maléfices " was Henri Decoin's (short-lived ) renaissance.It's his only worthwhile effort in the sixties ,and it is a sparkling black diamond,the lost great thriller of the era.

Like this? try these...

"La Cage" Robert Darène 1963

"Rosemary's baby" Roman Polanski 1968 (note the similarities when François reads the black magic books.)

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