Spotlight on a Murderer

The uncanny Georges Franju strikes again, in an Agatha Christie-like thriller imbued with his special mood, the eerie music of Maurice Jarre and some great actors including Jean-Marie Trintignant, Pierre Brasseur, Dany Saval, Marianne Koch and Pascale Audret. If mood is the key, then Franju has found an ideal setting, a beautifully preserved castle in Brittany.

Spotlight on a Murderer

Blu-ray + DVD

Arrow Academy USA

1961 / Color / 1:37 full frame (1:66 widescreen?) / 92 min. / Street Date May 30, 2017 / Available from Arrow Video.

Starring: Pierre Brasseur, Pascale Audret, Marianne Koch, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Dany Saval, Jean Babilée,

Georges Rollin, Gérard Buhr, Maryse Martin, Serge Marquand, Philippe Leroy.

Cinematography: Marcel Fredetal

Film Editor: Gilbert Natot

Original Music: Maurice Jarre

Written by Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac, Georges Franju, Robert Thomas

Produced by Jules Borkon

Directed by Georges Franju

Until a few years ago most U.S. fans knew of Georges Franju solely through the great
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Georges Franju’s Spotlight On A Murderer on Blu-ray May 30th from Arrow Academy

Georges Franju’ Spotlight On A Murderer (Pleins feux sur l’assassin – 1961) will be available on Blu-ray May 30th from Arrow Academy.

When the terminally ill Count Herve de Kerloquen (Pierre Brasseur, Goto, Isle of Love) vanishes without trace, his heirs are told that they have to wait five years before he can be declared legally dead, forcing them to devise ways of paying for the upkeep of the vast family chateau in the meantime. While they set about transforming the place into an elaborate son et lumiere tourist attraction, they are beset by a series of tragic accidents if that s really what they are…

The little-known third feature by the great French maverick Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face, Judex) is a delightfully playful romp through Agatha Christie territory, whose script (written by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac of Les Diaboliques and Vertigo fame) is mischievously aware of the
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Eyes Without a Face (Bfi Import)

Sometimes a movie is simply too good for just one special edition… Savant reached out to nab a British Region B import of Georges Franju’s horror masterpiece, to sample its enticing extras. And this also gives me the chance to ramble on with more thoughts about this 1959 show that inspired a score of copycats.

Eyes Without a Face (Bfi — U.K.)

Region B Blu-ray + Pal DVD


1959 / B&W / 1:66 widescreen / 90 min. / The Horror Chamber of

Dr. Faustus, House of Dr. Rasanoff, Occhi senza volto / Street Date August 24, 2015 / presently £10.99

Starring: Pierre Brasseur, Edith Scob, Alida Valli, Francois Guérin,

Béatrice Altariba, Juliette Mayniel

Cinematography: Eugen Schüfftan

Production Designer: Auguste Capelier

Special Effects: Charles-Henri Assola

Film Editor: Gilbert Natot

Original Music: Maurice Jarre

Written by Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac, Pierre Gascar, Claude Sautet from a novel by Jean Redon

Produced by Jules Borkon

Directed by Georges Franju

Savant has reviewed Eyes Without a Face twice,
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

200 Greatest Horror Films (30-21)

Special Mention: Werckmeister Harmonies

Directed by Bela Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky

Written by László Krasznahorkai and Bela Tarr

2000, Hungary / Italy / Germany

Genre: Emotional Horror

Bela Tarr is a filmmaker whose work is a highly acquired taste, but as a metaphysical horror story, Werckmeister Harmonies is an utter masterpiece that should appeal to most cinephiles. The film title refers to the 17th-century German organist-composer Andreas Werckmeister, esteemed for his influential structure and harmony of music. Harmonies is strung together like a magnificent symphony working on the viewer’s emotions over long stretches of time even when the viewer is unaware of what’s going on. Attempting to make sense of Tarr’s movies in strict narrative terms is not the best way to go about watching his films; but regardless if you come away understanding Harmonies or not, you won’t soon forget the film. Harmonies is a technical triumph, shot
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The Definitive Foreign Language Horror Films: 20-11

In an odd turn of events, this list has a number of films that don’t have English-language titles. They just go by whatever the original title was. Good for us. What we do see in this portion of the list is a few movies that weren’t really created specifically to be horror films, but their themes and visuals made it so. In addition, we have some heavyweights of non-horror cinema creating horror films that push the genre all the more upward. “Thinking man horror,” if you will.

20. Le locataire (1976)

English Language Title: The Tenant

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski has made one of the greatest horror “trilogies” of all time with 1965′s British production Repulsion, 1968′s American production Rosemary’s Baby, and 1976′s French production The Tenant, completing his “Apartment Trilogy.” Unlike the other two, Polanski actually stars in The Tenant as Trelkovsky, a reserved man renting an apartment in Paris.
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31 Days of Horror: Greatest International Horror Films

3. Eyes Without a Face

Written by Georges Franju, Jean Redon, Pierre Boileau, Thomas Narcejac, and Claude Sautet

Directed by Georges Franju

France and Italy, 1960

The idea of what a quintessential French horror film might be, especially in the middle of the last century, would be a conflicting concept, the French being culturally revered as the custodians of the high-brow, the poetically human, and the avant-garde (we even import the word in its French form); horror is a genre maintained to provoke the base and primal, better left to B-movie thrills. Enter Georges Franju, a co-founder of the Cinémathèque Française, to helm Eyes Without a Face, a work to arrive with scorn from both French and Anglophone audiences as it had not been crafted to either of their palettes, but rather an amalgamation of tastes and something completely new.

When Dr. Génessier (Pierre Brasseur) identifies the body of his daughter Christiane
See full article at SoundOnSight »

31 Days of Horror: 100 Greatest Horror Films: #20-11

Every year, we here at Sound On Sight celebrate the month of October with 31 Days of Horror; and every year, I update the list of my favourite horror films ever made. Last year, I released a list that included 150 picks. This year, I’ll be upgrading the list, making minor alterations, changing the rankings, adding new entries, and possibly removing a few titles. I’ve also decided to publish each post backwards this time around for one reason: that is, the new additions appear lower on my list, whereas my top 50 haven’t changed much, except for maybe in ranking. Enjoy!

Special Mention:

Outer Space

Written and directed by Peter Tscherkassky

Austria, 2000

Outer Space has gained a reputation over the years as being a key experimental film alongside the works of such legends as Stan Brakhage and Michael Snow. Horror buffs will recognise the actress in the short as Oscar nominee Barbara Hershey.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

'Eyes Without a Face' (Criterion Collection) Blu-ray Review

I hadn't heard of Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face until last year, following a screening of Holy Motors in Cannes when someone noted how Edith Scob was wearing a similar white mask (see here) to the one she wore throughout all but a few minutes of Eyes, where she plays the scarred daughter of a high profile Paris surgeon (Pierre Brasseur). Come to learn, the film's influence is more widespread than that, including films such as Pedro Almodovar's Skin I Live In, the mask for Michael Myers in John Carpenter's Halloween and even Tim Burton's Batman as Jerry Hall wears a mask to cover her face playing The Joker's secret lover, Alicia Hunt. Little did Alicia know, her plunge out the window was decided almost 30 years earlier. Described as a horror, the adjectives "lyrical" and poetic are also associated with this film and both are incredibly appropriate.
See full article at Rope Of Silicon »

Blu-ray Release: Eyes Without a Face

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Oct. 15, 2013

Price: Blu-ray $39.95

Studio: Criterion

The eyes have it: Edith Scob stars in Eyes Without a Face.

The 1960 horror film Eyes Without a Face was directed by the highly regarded French filmmaker Georges Franju (Judex).

The movie tells the story of a brilliant, obsessive doctor (Pierre Brasseur, Children of Paradise), who, at his secluded chateau in the French countryside, attempts a radical plastic surgery to restore the beauty of his daughter’s (Edith Scob, Summer Hours) disfigured face. The horrifying price of his mission comes in the form of the faces of other young women, whom he kidnaps so he can use their own features to replace those of his daughter’s.

Eyes Without a Face is rare in horror cinema for its odd mixture of the ghastly and the lyrical, and it has been a major influence on the genre in the decades since its release.
See full article at Disc Dish »

100 + Greatest Horror Movies (pt.6) 25-1

Throughout the month of October, Editor-in-Chief and resident Horror expert Ricky D, will be posting a list of his favorite Horror films of all time. The list will be posted in six parts. Click here to see every entry.

As with all lists, this is personal and nobody will agree with every choice – and if you do, that would be incredibly disturbing. It was almost impossible for me to rank them in order, but I tried and eventually gave up.


Special Mention:

Shock Corridor

Directed by Samuel Fuller

Written by Samuel Fuller

1963, USA

Shock Corridor stars Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett, an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the killer at the local insane asylum. In order to solve the case, he must pretend to be insane so they have him committed. Once in the asylum, Barrett sets to work, interrogating the other patients and keeping a close eye on the staff.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Tiff Cinematheque presents a Summer in France: ‘Les Diaboliques’ is the greatest film that Hitchcock almost made

Les Diaboliques

Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot

Written by Henri-Georges Clouzot and Jérôme Géronimi

France, 1955

There are few who can claim to have beaten Alfred Hitchcock to the punch at anything, but French director, Henri-Georges Clouzot, proudly can.

When Clouzot decided to buy the filming rights to Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac’s novel, Celle qui n’était plus (She Who Was No More), he beat out the next highest bidder, the master of suspense himself, by only a matter of hours, and in Clouzot’s subsequent movie adaptation, we can fully understand their mutual interest.

Serpentine, bitter, manipulative, and cruel to an uncompromising extreme, Les Diaboliques is a masterpiece in its own right, but will be forever known as the greatest film that Hitchcock almost made.

At an all-boys boarding school, two female teachers struggle to survive under the oppressive and barbarous management of the despotic headmaster, Michel (Paul Meurisse
See full article at SoundOnSight »

5 Things You Might Not Know About Alfred Hitchcock's Masterpiece 'Vertigo'

Voting is currently underway on the Sight & Sound poll for the greatest film ever made, which takes place every ten years, and is generally seen as one of the most definitive of such polls. And one film that's near-certain to place in the top ten, given that it's been there in every poll since 1982 (and placed second in 2002) is Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo." The film was relatively poorly received on release, and indeed, remained unseen for twenty years, one of the five films to which Hitchcock bought back the rights to leave to his daughter (the so-called Five Lost Hitchcocks, which also include "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "Rear Window," "Rope" and "The Trouble With Harry"). But since its re-release in 1984, the film has grown into the great director's most acclaimed masterpiece, and is now one of the most examined, deconstructed and written about films in the history of the medium.
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Greatest Horror Movies Ever Made Part 7: The 62 Greatest (# 31-1)

31 – Rosemary’s Baby

Directed by Roman Polanski

USA, 1968

Roman Polanski’s brilliant horror-thriller was nominated for two Oscars, winning Best Supporting Actress for Ruth Gordon. The director’s first American film, adapted from Ira Levin’s horror bestseller, is a spellbinding and twisted tale of Satanism and pregnancy. Supremely mounted, the film benefits from it’s strong atmosphere, apartment setting, eerie childlike score and polished production values by cinematographer William Fraker. The cast is brilliant, with Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as the young couple playing opposite Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, the elderly neighbors. There is ominous tension in the film from first frame to last – the climax makes for one of the greatest endings of all time. Rarely has a film displayed such an uncompromising portrait of betrayal as this one. Career or marriage – which would you choose?

30 – Eraserhead

Directed by David Lynch

USA, 1977

Filmed intermittently over the course of a five-year period,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Greatest Horror Movies Ever Made Part 7: 50 Greatest Horror Films (# 15-1)

25 – Halloween

Directed by John Carpenter

1978 – Us

A historical milestone that single-handedly shaped and altered the future of the entire genre. This seminal horror flick actually gets better with age; it’s downright transcendent and holds up with determination as an effective thriller that will always stand head and shoulders above the hundreds of imitators to come. Halloween had one hell of an influence on the entire film industry. You have to admire how Carpenter avoids explicit onscreen violence, and achieves a considerable power almost entirely through visual means, using its widescreen frame, expert hand-held camerawork, and terrifying foreground and background imagery.

24 – Black Christmas

Directed by Bob Clark

1974 – Canada

We never did find out who Billy was. Maybe it’s for the best, since they never made any sequels to Bob Clark’s seminal slasher film, a film which predates Carpenter’s Halloween by four years. Whereas Texas Chainsaw Massacre, released the same year,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

"Araya," "Pale Flower" and More DVDs

"Margot Benacerraf, now in her 80s, only ever made one feature-length film," begins Josef Braun, "but that film remains so extraordinary, so very nearly singular, that it merits an admiration on par with many more prolific and esteemed bodies of work. After studying and gathering numerous influential allies in France and elsewhere, Benacerraf returned to her native Venezuela, specifically to an island no one had heard of, though when was discovered by the Spanish 450 years earlier it was deemed a sort of paradise on account of its abundance of one resource: salt, as valuable back then as gold. We can see the ruins of colonial fortresses erected to protect the island and its salt marshes, once the center of piracy in the Caribbean, during the prologue of Araya (1959). But historical context quickly gives way to the seeming timelessness of hard labour, to Benacerraf's lyrical approach to depicting the life of a community that was,
See full article at MUBI »

DVD Review: "Diabolique": The Criterion Blu-ray Release

  • CinemaRetro
By Raymond Benson

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The Criterion Collection has upgraded and re-released their excellent edition of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Diabolique (officially titled Les DiaboliquesThe Devils—but it’s been known simply as Diabolique in America since it’s 1955 release), issuing the film with a new digitally restored edition on DVD and for the first time on Blu-ray. Based on a novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, the pair of mystery/thriller writers who provided Alfred Hitchcock with the basis for Vertigo, Diabolique was a project that the master of suspense almost filmed himself. In fact, Hitchcock had bought the rights, but Clouzot snatched them immediately after making The Wages of Fear in 1953. Needless to say, Diabolique is just the sort of thing Hitchcock would have done well—but Clouzot did it exceptionally well.

It’s a truly suspenseful chiller that takes place
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Late Night Classics – Body Parts

Story. Story. Story. Behind every great film is a polished script. Just ask two watershed movies from the 80′s: The Hitcher and Near Dark. Both have a lot more room upstairs than your average fright flick, and thanks to screenwriter Eric Red, they showed the genre could be visceral and classy. Eric has since gone on to direct the werewolf thriller Bad Moon and the J-Horror inspired 100 Feet. This brings me to Body Parts, a picture that met many obstacles upon its release some twenty years ago, and now is considered a cult classic in many circles.

Jason Bene: The Hitcher and Near Dark are both masterpieces of the horror genre, but they are more than that, as they address the darker aspects of human nature. Those themes continue with your 1991 movie Body Parts. Where does that no-nonsense approach to terror come from?

Eric Red: I try to go
See full article at Killer Films »

Les Diaboliques Blu-ray Review

I became aware of Les Diaboliques as part of my Uni based Hitchcock obsession, and the discovery that rights for the novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac were almost bought by Hitch ensured that I had to track down this film.

That the film took me out of my self imposed exile on Planet Hitchcock is testament to the power at play here, the film seduced me from the outset and twisted my emotions and expectations through the story of murder, paranoia and terror. Revisiting the film on this beautiful Blu-ray, released today, compounds my feelings on the film. It still has that power.

Henri-Georges Clouzot cast his wife Vera opposite the immaculate presence of Simone Signoret as the wife and mistress of the domineering and abusive headmaster Delassalle, played by Paul Meurisse. They hatch a plot to murder the man, to free themselves. I can’t go into
See full article at HeyUGuys »


Alfred Hitchcock, 1958

The rehabilitation of Hitchcock's Vertigo is now fully complete – its reputation is as assured as that of Citizen Kane, and can only have been helped by a long period in which it was out of circulation – but what an oddity it is. Viewed as a conventional thriller, this adaption of Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac's 1954 novel, Sueurs Froides (D'Entre les Morts), is hardly the tightest of constructions. And there is also the notorious left-field touch of giving away the twist some distance before the end. But then, plot matters far less in Vertigo than the machinations of desire and obsession – and about those there is no finer film.

James Stewart plays Scottie, an acrophobic private eye who receives an unusual assignment: to follow Madeleine (Kim Novak), the wife of an old friend, who is drifting around San Francisco in a dazed funk. She seems to be under
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

The Forgotten: Death by Light

  • MUBI
Above: An heir is electrocuted by an arc light. Smoking.

Pleins feux sur l'assassin, (loosely, "Open Fire at the Killer") is the 1961 film directed by Georges Franju and written by the team of Boileau & Narcejac (Vertigo, Les diaboliques) after Eyes without a Face. As is the way with Franju's oddly disjointed career, the film is as unknown as the previous collaboration is celebrated/infamous (after a screening of Eyes at Edinburgh Film Festival caused several patrons to pass out, Franju tartly remarked "Now I understand why Scotsmen wear skirts,") but it's touched by both its writers' cunning plot mechanics and its director's dark poetry.

Any discussion of Franju ought to begin by admitting that he's one filmmaker whose shorts are better than his features, which is not to disrespect Eyes or La tête contre les murs or Judex, but simply to attest that his short films are among the greatest ever made.
See full article at MUBI »
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