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The Mystery of the Yellow Room (2003)

Le mystère de la chambre jaune (original title)
A woman is sleeping in her bedroom. Her room can not be opened from the outside, but only from inside. When suddenly one night somebody attempted to murder her. Before the police arrived ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jean-Noël Brouté ...
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Scali Delpeyrat ...
Le greffier
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Julos Beaucarne ...
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Isabelle Candelier ...
Madame Bernier
Dominique Parent ...
Monsieur Bernier
George Aguilar ...
Petit-Pied, le garde-chasse
Patrick Ligardes ...
Le brigadier
Sylvain Solustri ...
William, homme en noir
Vincent Vedo Velli ...
Marcel, homme en noir
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Storyline

A woman is sleeping in her bedroom. Her room can not be opened from the outside, but only from inside. When suddenly one night somebody attempted to murder her. Before the police arrived the killer fled and was not to be found. The police come to investigate who the killer is and how did he get inside. Written by lovethebook

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Comedy | Crime | Mystery

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Release Date:

11 June 2003 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of the Yellow Room  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$797,399 (France) (20 June 2003)
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2.35 : 1
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Version of The Mystery of the Yellow Room (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

 
when a classic of French literature is turned into a stylish and gratifying rendering
25 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

Gaston Leroux's famous novel has been turned several times into a movie. There's a version made in 1930 by Marcel L'Herbier which hasn't worn very well due to an obsolete performance in spite of Roland Toutain's palatable performance as Joseph Rouletabille. A made-for-TV version was broadcast on French TV in the sixties and was a quality one. I visited the castle which was tapped as the main scenery a few years ago! It is located in Touraine.

In the dawn of the twenty first century, about a hundred years ago after the publication of the most famous whodunit in French literature, the Podalydès brothers (Bruno at the directing, writing, Denis in the main role) set about adapting it. They must have set their hearts on this project for they're buffs of Leroux's book. What is the amount of their venture? A classic of the whodunit turned into a quirky and novel version.

The introduction of the film presents a steel ball which by advancing releases various mechanisms before ending on a tiny train which makes its way in the country. This zany device paves the way for the aura which pervades the whole film. It is interspersed with fanciful chains, queer linkings and gags which would make some installments worth of memorable classics (the car which can only work with solar energy; so when a clouds hides the sun, the car is brought to a halt or the trick of the clock in which Jean Noël Brouté lurks himself to watch out for the culprit). The Podalydès brothers' venture was motivated by the rousing desire to incorporate their influences and their passions in Leroux's novel. One of their credentials include a deep admiration for the universe of Tintin and here, it's evident that they tried to recreate Hergé's world without trying to accurately copy it. Thus, Rouletabille's spirit of deduction and astuteness has a strong analogy with Tintin's. Beside him, Sinclair, his photograph, following him wherever he goes resembles Milou. By his offbeat inventions, his scatterbrained and absent-minded part, professor Stangerson is professor Calculus. Robert Darzac, the timid fiancé could be a distant cousin of Nestor, Moulinsart's butler. The mansion of the Glandier also evokes Moulinsart. With all these analogies, Bruno Podalydès' piece of work has the look of a vivacious comic book.

Gaston Leroux penned his book in the early twentieth century but the Podalydès duo relocated the main thread of the story at the time of the Roaring Twenties and it appears that everything in the flick is tapped to try to capture the mentality, the manners of this era, either it is in the actors' probably deliberate quaint acting, the customs, the lavish scenery. It is enhanced by a hint of surrealism (a fashionable artistic movement at the time). It's an eloquent depiction of the Roaring Twenties, a genteel homage to silent cinema and there's no whiff of betrayal of Leroux's novel which has kept its intriguing mystery and its pedantic investigation for our greatest pleasure.

The adjective "genteel" could suit to qualify the cast which encompasses actors from the Podalydès' house: of course Denis Podalydès who works wonders in a tailor-made part for him. In his brother's movies, he had developed the image of an awkward but endearing persona, he stays true to himself. The Podalydès' house also comprises Jean Noël Brouté who acts as a good comic relief (not meant pejoratively) and Isabelle Candelier. Here, earnest thespians made their apparition. Pierre Arditi was a discerning choice for Frédéric Larsan because this actor could convey mystery in a part that required some. Claude Rich also stands out. As for Sabine Azéma, she isn't one of my favorite French actresses. She often has over-the-top performances, but here this drawback has been shelved. Her role is very subdued.

The Podalydès brothers made a killing with this personal adaptation of "Le Mystère De La Chambre Jaune". That said, maybe it won't cater for all tastes. The aficionados of the novel and the detractors of the film will think that the murky side of the novel has taken a back seat. But if you enjoy seriousness and slightness in the same bag, one of the Podalydès' trademark, this one is for you.


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