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Henri-Georges Clouzot Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (1)  | Trivia (6)  | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (4)

Born in Niort, Deux-Sèvres, France
Died in Paris, France  (heart attack)
Birth NameHenri Georges Léon Clouzot
Nicknames The French Hitchcock
La Clouze

Mini Bio (1)

Beginning his film career as a screenwriter, Henri-Georges Clouzot switched over to directing and in 1943 had the distinction of having his film Le Corbeau (1943) banned by both the German forces occupying France and the Free French forces fighting them, but for different reasons. He shot to international fame with The Wages of Fear (1953) and consolidated that success with Diabolique (1955), but continuous ill health caused large gaps in his output, and several projects had to be abandoned (though one, Torment (1994), was subsequently filmed by Claude Chabrol). His films are typically relentless suspense thrillers, similar to Alfred Hitchcock's but with far less light relief.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk> (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Family (1)

Spouse Inès Clouzot (28 December 1963 - 12 January 1977)  (his death)
Véra Clouzot (3 February 1950 - 15 December 1960)  (her death)

Trivia (6)

Alfred Hitchcock considered Clouzot a very serious rival for the title of Master of Suspense, and Psycho (1960) was put into production because Hitchcock specifically intended to outdo Diabolique (1955).
He beat Alfred Hitchcock in buying the rights to "Les Diaboliques" with a margin of just a few hours. He filmed it as Diabolique (1955).
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 140-144. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
Brother of Jérôme Géronimi.
Clouzot's uncle Henri, the proprietor of a Paris art museum, the Palais Galliera, put together what is considered the first exhibition on the art of the cinema, with equipment, designs, scripts and costumes, in May of 1924.
Sorcerer (1977), William Friedkin's remake of The Wages of Fear (1953), is dedicated to Clouzot.

Personal Quotes (6)

I started as an editor, which is very important. I am always in the cutting room. I think you can't write properly unless you are an editor. I always have the cutting in mind when I'm shooting. Very often I look at my watch and say it's good for twenty seconds and not more.
[on the starting point for La Prisonnière (1968)] In Manon (1949) it was the overcrowded train scene. I started with that. And this time I started with the end of the picture, the hallucination, the nightmare. I started with the dream and made the picture for the dream. But it's very difficult to say where an image comes from. You remember the scene in Le Corbeau (1943) where the light was going here and there? I was skiing and I fell down and lay there for five minutes. I saw the shadow going on the snow back and forth and I knew that I had to write a scene which used that image. From the black and white of the snow I thought of the swinging lamp. So you never know how an image comes.
[on Inferno (1964)] It all started with insomnia. I had this idea, which was to dramatize the feeling of anxiety which I have every night and which keeps me awake. I wrote a 50-page treatment. Well, I quickly realised, after having finished these 50 pages sadly, that it was fairly easy to convey to an audience that a character can have ten obsessions but you can't share these obsessions in two hours because they took ten years to poison this person. There's a semi-pathological side to the film. The main character is in a pathological state, but there are plenty of moments when he's normal.
[on La Prisonnière (1968)] I wanted this picture to be unbearable. I think that vice is something unbearable and we have to stand it. You can't imagine what is vice if it is bearable. For me it's hell, really. I wanted the viewers to feel this way. I like the people to be as ashamed as the girl is.
[on Alfred Hitchcock] I admire him very much and am flattered when anyone compares a film of mine to his.
[on Miquette (1950)] It is extremely difficult to adapt a light comedy created for the stage, without having to reconsider it completely. For me this was the entire problem with this film. From the moment one tries to transfer to the cinema an essential quality of the theatre - i.e. the close collaboration between spectator and actor - one finds oneself in front of an extremely deep ditch. And I, for one, did not find the bridge necessary to cross it.

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