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The Clockmaker of St. Paul (1974)
"L'horloger de Saint-Paul" (original title)

 |  Crime, Drama  |  28 June 1976 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,191 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 15 critic

A Watchmaker finds out one day that his son has become a murderer. He tries to understand for whom and why.

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Title: The Clockmaker of St. Paul (1974)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Jacques Denis ...
Antoine - un ami de Michel
Yves Afonso ...
L'officer de police Bricard
Julien Bertheau ...
Edouard - un ami de Michel
Jacques Hilling ...
Costes - un journaliste
Clotilde Joano ...
Janine Boitard - une journaliste
Andrée Tainsy ...
Madeleine Fourmet - qui a élevé Bernard
William Sabatier ...
L'avocat
Cécile Vassort ...
Martine - une ouvrière
Sylvain Rougerie ...
Bernard Descombes - le fils de Michel
Christine Pascal ...
Liliane Torrini - la compagne de Bernard
Liza Braconnier ...
La femme de ménage
Hervé Morel ...
Bricard's assistant
Sacha Bauer ...
Le juge d'instruction
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Storyline

Michel Descombes is a watchmaker in the district of Saint-Paul, Lyons. He lives quietly, alone with his almost grown-up son, Bernard. One day, the police come and say Bernard murdered a FACTORY OWNER. Superintendent Guiboud asks Michel for help. But Michel realizes how little he knows about his son. He also starts to feel he is unable to blame his son. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

28 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Clockmaker  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

to Jacques Prevert See more »

Connections

Followed by A Week's Holiday (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tavernier's tribute to the old wave.
12 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

Tavernier's treatment of Simenon takes us back to the veterans time,all those who made great adaptations just before the nouvelle vague and even during its heyday:"la mort de Belle" ,Edouard Molinaro's most perfect flick was made in 1963,at about the same time as François Truffault's "la peau douce",whose Simenon adaptation would be forgotten if it were not Truffault .

Molinaro's "la mort de Belle" and Henry Decoin's "les inconnus dans la maison"have a lot in common with "l'horloger de Saint-Paul;all these works deal with incommunicability,between people of the same family.For instance,in "les inconnus dans la maison" ,a fallen alcoholic lawyer does not care about his daughter anymore and one day very bad things happen;in "la mort de Belle" a high school teacher sees his life torn apart when he's a suspect when a young girl dies and even his wife who thinks she knows him well has her doubts .

Tavernier's first movie was not that much innovative -as works to come would be- as derivative.However ,it's a very commendable work,because of Philippe Noiret's sensational portrayal of a peaceful man ,who is confronted with tragedy when his son kills a b.... .Tavernier's science of pacing a movie already shines:the son only appears in the last quarter of the movie and during at least 15 minutes,the only words he says to dad are "bonjour papa" ;little by little,we feel that father and son stand together ,but they do not try to strike back ,to find alibis ,to avoid the punishment.In a grand gesture,Tavernier does not even film the trial!A terse comment lets us know about the sentence.The characters -the father ,the son and even the girlfriend (Christine Pascal)the b... raped - remain opaque,their motives remain obscure Liliane ,the son's lover has not a single line to say.We will never know why the son and the father were estranged -the scene with the boy's old nanny remains vague.During the last scenes looks matter more than words and when they start talking again,the son concludes: -and what a place(a noisy visiting room) for the first conversation in years!- "we can hear ourselves if we really want to!" Unlike Tavernier's follow-up "le juge et l'assassin" which was Tavernier's first perfect work,"l'horloger de Saint-Paul' does not avoid some post-68 clichés that were poisoning the French cinema of the seventies:the bedroom full of "revolutionary " posters,the bad cops-the conversation with detective Jean Rochefort in the train- ,the all-things -political which the hero fortunately refuse .

It's minor quibble.Considering all the important movies Tavernier would produce in the wake of 'l'horloger" ,it's almost even irrelevant.No other director has shown so many qualities in the last thirty years.


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