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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 2,550 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 20 critic

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
Edit

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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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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Trivia

Visa de contrôle cinématographique France : #34585 See more »

Connections

Remade as Murder (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful, sedate and chilling French suspense classic
14 February 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Sitting down to this one I expected art and intelligence more than much in the way of excitement, happily despite its elegantly measured pace and glacial stylings La Femme Infidele exerts an impressively tight grip from early on. The film centers upon Charles and Helene, a well to do couple who seem to have it all, well appointed house, well behaved son and chic friends, but all is not so well for them. Their life together is cold, frozen even and Helene is having an affair with a Parisian writer. Charles becomes suspicious and hires a PI to investigate and what follows is not difficult to predict. The joy here is in the performances and the studied unease, director Claude Chabrol handles things with refreshing economy and the film mounts with ease from the chill of its characters to a growing disturbing feel, what little of violence and the macabre there is is displayed in a marvellously matter of fact fashion that gives it all the more impact. Michel Boucqet is powerfully creepy yet somewhat sympathetic as Charles, he may not be much of a husband but his inner turmoil is fascinating, whist for all her similar coldness it is hard to condemn the actions of Helene as skillfully portrayed by Stephane Audran. Maurice Ronet is equally nuanced as Helenes lover despite his small amount of screen time, an apologetic and aware turn with a sort of flawed humanity that contrasts well with the coldness of Charles and Helene. Unshowy in its technique and focused on drama for much of the way this is not a film likely to give much solace to those drawn by the description of Chabrol as a "French Hitchcock", this is subtle but potent stuff, even poignant towards the end with its rays of forlorn hope but without pandering to commercial instincts. Highly recommended, this is a smart near masterpiece with much to think about and I look forward to delving more into Chabrol's oeuvre, of which this seems a perfect starting point.


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