2 user

The Pit and the Pendulum (1964)

Le puits et le pendule (original title)



, (story "The Pit and the Pendulum")


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

End of Desire (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Normandy, second half of the nineteenth century. Jeanne Dandieu lives in a manor house with her parents and their servant Rosalie. She gets to know Julien, a handsome man, whom she soon ... See full summary »

Director: Alexandre Astruc
Stars: Maria Schell, Christian Marquand, Pascale Petit
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In the 16th century, Francis Barnard travels to Spain to clarify the strange circumstances of his sister's death after she had married the son of a cruel Spanish Inquisitor.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr
Kaili Blues (2015)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the mystical,subtropical province of Guizhou,there is a small county clinic surrounded by fog.At the Kaili clinic,there are two doctors who live quiet,lonely lives.One of the doctors,... See full summary »

Director: Gan Bi
Stars: Yongzhong Chen, Yue Guo, Linyan Liu
Bad Liaisons (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Through her answers to police inspector Corbin's questions, investigating Dr Danieli's suicide, Catherine Racan draws her self-portrait. The ambitious young journalist indeed tells how she ... See full summary »

Director: Alexandre Astruc
Stars: Jean-Claude Pascal, Anouk Aimée, Gaby Sylvia
Albert Savarus (TV Movie 1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Director: Alexandre Astruc
Stars: Niels Arestrup, Dominique Sanda, Charlotte Valandrey
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Frédéric, a shy small-town man, falls in love with Anne, a middle class woman married to Didier, who cheats on her with top model Barbara. Catherine, a very determined woman, is secretly in... See full summary »

Director: Alexandre Astruc
Stars: Jean-Claude Brialy, Marie-José Nat, Dawn Addams
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Alexandre Astruc
Stars: Sylvia Bataille, Danièle Delorme, Marc Doelnitz
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Directors: Alexandre Astruc, Maurice Barry, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Alain Cuny, Jean Servais, Odile Versois


Cast overview:
Le condamné à mort


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis


Short | Horror





Release Date:

9 January 1964 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Pit and the Pendulum  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (TV) (Alexandre Astruc , 1964) ***1/2
6 October 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Director Astruc was originally a film theorist; though best-known for the short THE CRIMSON CURTAIN (1952) – which, alas, is available only in an unsubtitled version with Russian voice-over to boot! – he also turned out a few features, among them, the superb melodrama adapted from an Emile Zola novel UNE VIE (1958). Another author whose work he tackled, surprisingly enough, was Edgar Allan Poe: this was the first such effort, followed several years later by the similarly made-for-TV production of THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER (1981; which, again, has yet to be rendered in English-friendly form).

The film under review is only the second work of his that I have checked out and, so far, Astruc has demonstrated himself to have an unerring eye for detail but, by choosing actors who can be relied upon to extract the essence of any given tale, at the same time he makes certain to give characterization its due. This was perhaps never more evident than here, in which a perplexed and subsequently distraught Maurice Ronet (usually a purveyor of decadent bourgeois types) is virtually the whole show (even if it only lasts for 37 minutes). For the record, I had watched the 1961 Roger Corman and 1990 Stuart Gordon versions of the Poe source, both of which bowdlerize the text virtually beyond recognition; this, however, remains scrupulously faithful to it and, while the result may seem set-bound, uneventful and even pretentious (since the only dialogue relates to the protagonist's externalization of his thoughts) to horror purists, the film ought to elicit a more encouraging response from all-round movie-buffs (if it were deemed of a greater exposure, that is!) and would have undoubtedly made the author himself proud.

Ronet is a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition and, when we first see him, he is being escorted toward his place of confinement, a darkened room within the dungeon of a castle and where he is tied to a slab. Slowly, a giant pendulum begins to fall gradually, swaying from side to side, from the ceiling directly above him: if it were to reach the captive, this would invariably slice his torso open and he would bleed to death. Sharing the cell with its inmate him are a number of rats, nonchalantly going through the food carelessly left for him on the floor. However, he gets an idea: by smearing the contents of the platter onto his straps, he hopes the rats will climb on top of him to gnaw at the ropes, thus setting him free! As the relentless blade draws ever nearer, one of the rats is unflinchingly tossed to the side by a blow of the contraption, but Ronet manages to break free of his reins in time…only for the room to start closing in on itself soon after, so that the hero realizes he is being watched and that, having escaped the death his captors had planned for him, this merely led to a second and even more sadistic option for execution – the sole space left for him in which to move is that near an open hole in the ground, with the deep drop into the pit giving way to a well bearing foul water and snakes!

Just as he is about to give up, having even lost consciousness at the futility of his endeavor and the dim prospects ahead, the French army is heard breaking into the building – with Ronet's concluding narration pertaining to the downfall of the singularly harsh system that condemned him. To a large extent, the film's success depends on the overpowering atmosphere of claustrophobia and desperation it manages to evoke throughout and, thanks in equal parts to stark monochrome photography (courtesy of ORPHEE's lenser Nicolas Hayer) and authentic Gothic locations, this element is certainly not to be faulted here.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Pit and the Pendulum (1964) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: