André Mercier, a journalist known as Albin Mercier, is a failed, embittered writer. Sent to cover an event in Germany, he gets to know Andreas Hartmann, another writer who, for his part, ...
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Charles is a young provincial coming up to Paris to study law. He shares his cousin Paul's flat. Paul is a kind of decadent boy, a disillusioned pleasure-seeker, always dragging along with ... See full summary »
Francois comes back to his home village in France after more than a decade. He notices that the village hasn't changed much, but the people have, especially his old friend Serge who has ... See full summary »
Single father obsessed with murdering the hit&run driver who killed his only child, poses as a screenwriter to get close to an actress who was in the death car. He feels fully prepared to ... See full summary »
Lucienne Delamare and Pierre Maury are having an affair. Lucienne's husband Paul is the mayor, and a French deputy. Pierre's wife Clotilde has been weak and sickly for years. Lucienne's ... See full summary »
Paul, an irritable and stressed-out hotel manager, begins to gradually develop paranoid delusions about his wife's infidelity. As he succumbs to green-eyed jealousy, his life starts to ... See full summary »
Charles Masson, an advertising executive, is having an affair with Laura, the wife of his best friend, the architect François Tellier. Charles strangles Laura when one of their S&M games ... See full summary »
Charles Desvallées has good reasons to believe that his wife is cheating on him and hires a P.D. in order to prove himself right. Once he knows the lover is writer Victor Pégala, he drives ... See full summary »
Labbé, a hatter in a French provincial town, leads the life of a respectable citizen but is in fact a serial murderer. The only person to suspect this is his neighbour Kachoudas, an ... See full summary »
The upper-class owner of a gallery, Catherine Lelievre, hires the efficient and quiet maid Sophie to work in the family manor in the French countryside. Her husband Georges Lelievre, who is... See full summary »
André Mercier, a journalist known as Albin Mercier, is a failed, embittered writer. Sent to cover an event in Germany, he gets to know Andreas Hartmann, another writer who, for his part, has not... failed. The successful Andreas is married to Hélène, a beautiful Frenchwoman. Both attracted to her and jealous of the couple's happiness, Mercier decides to shatter it. Taking advantage of the absence of Andreas, off on a business trip, he tries to seduce Hélène and to become her lover. But things do not go according to plan... Written by
To begin with, this is one of the rarest Chabrols as well as a key early effort. For anyone who hastily pinned him down as the French Hitchcock, this shows yet another facet to his 'personality': if THE CHAMPAGNE MURDERS (1967) saw the director take a leaf out of Fellini's book, here he seems to be influenced by the work of Antonioni complete with a faux-thriller plot (evoking in some aspects Patricia Highsmith's "The Talented Mr. Ripley", actually first brought to the screen in 1960 by the French as PURPLE NOON) which, owing to the protagonist's enigmatic behavior, progresses gradually into semi-abstraction!
Having mentioned that later Chabrol, the movie under review likewise allows Stephane Audran an unprecedented central role which she carries off with aplomb. Incidentally, even at this preliminary stage, her future husband's thrillers were peppered with sudden shocking murders (as both WEB OF PASSION  and LES BONNES FEMMES  will attest) and the climax of this one is, undeniably, superbly handled.
The hero played by virtual unknown Jacques Charrier supplies the right mix of blandness and arrogance the part requires. Similarly, Jean Rabier's gleaming monochrome photography notwithstanding, the picture counters its essentially rough-and-ready quality (in pure "New Wave" style) with a quite remarkable incisiveness (particularly in the noir-ish dialogue).
At a mere 77 minutes, THE THIRD LOVER (better served by the original title L'OEIL DU MALIN, which translates to THE EVIL EYE a moniker later also attached to two, obviously unrelated, Italian giallos!) does not overstay its welcome. In hindsight, if back then the film's inherent pretentiousness may have alienated critics and audiences alike, it can now be seen as a shining example of Chabrol's burgeoning talent.
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