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The Unfaithful Wife (1969)
"La femme infidèle" (original title)

M  -  Drama  -  10 November 1969 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 2,468 users  
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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 »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Michel Duchaussoy ...
Police Officer Duval
Maurice Ronet ...
Louise Chevalier ...
Maid
Louise Rioton ...
Mamy, Charles'mother-in Law
Serge Bento ...
Bignon
Henri Marteau ...
Paul
Guy Marly ...
Police Officer Gobet
François Moro-Giafferi ...
Frederic
Albert Minski ...
King Club owner (as Albert Minsky)
Dominique Zardi ...
Truck driver
Michel Charrel ...
Policeman
Henri Attal ...
Man in cafe
Jean-Marie Arnoux ...
False Witness
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Storyline

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 to his apartment, calmly presents himself as the husband, starts a conversation and then kills him cold-bloodedly. The police trace the wife but when she discovers by accident a picture that could incriminate her husband she decides to remain silent. Written by Bernard Dionne <guero@globetrotter.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Psycho-Sexual Study in Murder!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

10 November 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Unfaithful Wife  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cinema that Charles drives by advertises Les Biches, which was Chabrol's previous film. See more »

Connections

Remade as Murder (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
In Every Dream Home A Heartache
3 October 2006 | by (Dublin, Ireland) – See all my reviews

"La Femme Infidele", which was released in 1968, followed quickly on the heels of "Les Biches", (which, in a perhaps playfully arrogant way, is shown as playing in a cinema during the course of the film), and continued a glorious return to form for Chabrol after a too-long fallow period.

It was the first of a series of what could be regarded 'studies in adultery' starring his wife (and muse), Stephane Audran. In this one a loving husband suspects his wife of being unfaithful and, having had his suspicions confirmed by a private detective, determines to confront her lover.

Although he's often described as the French Hitchcock, Chabrol, while he has consistently proved that he has mastered the basic techniques of the suspense film genre, invariably has been at least as equally interested in the study,- indeed dissection, - of the mores and behaviour of the French bourgeoisie.

While this categorisation might suggest a tendency towards dry academic study, he has shown in his best features a masterful ability to employ a variety of techniques to present his case in a telling manner. In this instance he employs, variously, a combination of subtle character study,suspense film, Pinteresque drama, and some black comedy.

He is greatly assisted here by a clutch of exceptional performances: Audran and Maurice Ronet as the lovers, and, best of all, Michel Bouquet as the suspicious but loving husband.

(As an aside, and I'm not sure whether she served any function in the film other than mere decoration, but the husband's mini-skirted secretary appeared to me to have wandered onto the film from an adjacent French farce. But then,perhaps,it was just a case of Chabrol conforming to the norms of the day.)

Among the superbly-crafted high-points were the confrontation between lover and husband; the various domestic conversations between husband and wife where the nature of their relationship is carefully and beautifully delineated; the various conversations with the investigating policemen; and a masterly final scene (where even the briefest explanatory description would be too cruel for those who've yet to see the film).

Overall, however, what ultimately elevates the film to greatness is the way in which Chabrol presents his subjects as determined to maintain the domestic equilibrium, irrespective of, and almost oblivious to, temporary 'crises' and 'inconveniences'. And in the way in which, he, as director/puppetmaster, while at times apparently mocking, simultaneously persuades us to sympathise with his subjects

Quite possibly his finest film: but certainly quintessential Chabrol.


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