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Just Before Nightfall (1971)

Juste avant la nuit (original title)
PG | | Crime, Drama | 31 March 1971 (France)
Charles Masson, an advertising executive, is having an affair with Laura, the wife of his best friend, the architect François Tellier. Charles strangles Laura when one of their S&M games ... See full summary »


Claude Chabrol


Edouard Atiyah (novel), Claude Chabrol
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Michel Bouquet ... Charles Masson
Stéphane Audran ... Hélène Masson
François Périer ... François Tellier
Jean Carmet ... Jeannot
Dominique Zardi Dominique Zardi ... Prince
Henri Attal Henri Attal ... Cavanna
Paul Temps Paul Temps ... Bardin
Daniel Lecourtois ... Dorfmann
Clelia Matania ... Mme Masson (as Clélia Matania)
Celia Celia ... Jacqueline
Pascal Gillot Pascal Gillot ... Auguste Masson
Brigitte Périn Brigitte Périn ... Joséphine Masson
Marcel Gassouk Marcel Gassouk ... Barman
Anna Douking Anna Douking ... Laura Tellier
Roger Lumont Roger Lumont ... Commissaire Delfeil


Charles Masson, an advertising executive, is having an affair with Laura, the wife of his best friend, the architect François Tellier. Charles strangles Laura when one of their S&M games goes too far. Dazed, Charles walks out of the borrowed apartment in Paris and soon bumps into François in a nearby bistro. They drive back together to Versailles, where they have beautiful neighboring houses designed by François. The owner of the apartment had seen Laura and Charles together two months earlier, but she does not tell the police on the advice of François. Even though the police do not seem to have any clues to the crime, Charles has a difficult time coping with the situation, and trying to live a normal life with his two children and loving wife Hélène. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This is the last film of Claude Chabrol's 'Hélène cycle', in which actress Stéphane Audran starred, playing characters called Hélène in The Unfaithful Wife (1969), Le Boucher (1970), and The Breach (1970). The only film in the cycle which Audran didn't star in was This Man Must Die (1969), the role of a character called Hélène was instead played by Caroline Cellier. See more »


Version of The Stranger Within a Woman (1966) See more »


Silent Night
Original lyrics by Joseph Mohr and music by Franz Xaver Gruber, French lyrics by unknown lyricst
Played and sung in the Christmas morning scene
See more »

User Reviews

Chabrol in his element
18 March 2002 | by taylor9885See all my reviews

This is one of the few satisfying movies Chabrol made in his long career. Here he has a convincing story that does not require complicated plot zig-zags. It is a simple story of adultery leading to death and the cover-up that follows. The acting is almost all fine--Francois Perier as the widower who expresses little sorrow for his dead wife is especially convincing; he's really acting, not just shrugging his way through a scene. Michel Bouquet has to make his guilt-ridden character (could have been created by Dostoievsky) interesting and sympathetic and mostly he does.

Couldn't this be issued on DVD?

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Italy | France



Release Date:

31 March 1971 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Just Before Nightfall See more »

Filming Locations:

La Mure, Isère, France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »

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