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 »
In nineteenth-century France, the romantic daughter of a country squire (Emma Rouault) marries a dull country doctor (Charles Bovary). To escape boredom, she throws herself into love ... See full summary »
Marie-Chantal travels by train to her cousin's place to spend a winter holiday, when a stranger - apparently a fugitive from someone aboard - entrusts her with a jewel in the shape of a ... 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 »
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 »
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 »
A Turkish ambassador arrives in Paris to sign an important trade agreement, allowing Turkey to buy a sophisticated new war plane from France. Immediately he is the target of an assassin, and a special agent is assigned to protect him.
Louis Rapiere aka Tiger is sent to Port-a-Pitre (French Guyane), to supervise the recuperation of a treasure from a sunken ship. A group of revolutionaries pirates the ship and robs the ... See full summary »
It was out of sheer coincidence that this viewing followed those of Chabrol's JUST BEFORE NIGHTFALL (1971) and THE BREACH (1970) since it has thematic similarities with the former, while adopting an incongruously stylized approach as the latter!
In fact, we have here a strangling (which, however, is a flashback this time around and occurs towards the end rather than at the very start) that is almost a replica of the one in JUST BEFORE NIGHTFALL. Similarly, the culprit is depicted as being unable to find peace of mind (and, in this case, stop his crime spree) until he is apprehended! With this in mind, the "Cult Filmz" website (where THE HATTER'S GHOST was given a similar rating as mine) bemoans the unsatisfying ending but, as for myself, I was not bothered by its ordinariness (this is, after all, essentially a low-key affair).
Incidentally, Leonard Maltin who unjustly lambasts the film and awards it a measly *1/2 may have been baffled by the seemingly deliberate heavy-handedness at work and, consequently, took Michel Serrault's performance in particular to be absurdly overstated. He is literally a "Mad Hatter", thus providing a link to yet another of the director's earlier efforts i.e. ALICE OR THE LAST ESCAPADE (1977). Indeed, as with the afore-mentioned (and intrinsically histrionic) THE BREACH, this could well be deemed a parody Chabrol movie if it were not so compelling (based on a novel by Georges Simenon) and obviously accomplished!
In the long run, THE HATTER'S GHOST emerges to be one of the most purely Hitchcockian works by France's own "Master Of Suspense", with definite nods to PSYCHO (1960) and FRENZY (1972) but also featuring a STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)-like complicity between the film's two leads. The other protagonist is Charles Aznavour no less impressive than Serrault, despite having far less screen-time as the mousy Armenian tailor who constantly shadows the hatter, even witnessing one of his murders, but is too afraid to report him and, owing to his own frail health, eventually dies. Also in the cast are a young Francois Cluzet as a reporter who not only follows the case but is periodically contacted via taunting letters by the strangler, THE BREACH's Mario David as the clueless Chief of Police and Aurore Clement as an attractive woman all the menfolk lust after but who is clearly fated to cross paths with the killer eventually.
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