20 user 36 critic

The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (1942)

L'assassin habite... au 21 (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 16 August 1947 (USA)
Inspector Wens moves into a Paris boarding house to catch a serial killer.


Henri-Georges Clouzot (as H. G. Clouzot)


Stanislas-André Steeman (novel) (as Mr. S.A. Steemann), Henri-Georges Clouzot (adaptation) (as H.G. Clouzot) | 1 more credit »





Complete credited cast:
Pierre Fresnay ... L'inspecteur Wenceslas Wens
Suzy Delair ... Mila Malou - la maîtresse tapageuse de Wens
Jean Tissier ... Triquet, aka professeur Lalah-Poor
Pierre Larquey ... Monsieur Colin
Noël Roquevert ... Docteur Théodore Linz
René Génin ... Alfred, l'ivrogne
Jean Despeaux Jean Despeaux ... Kid Robert
Marc Natol ... Armand, le valet de chambre (as Natol)
Huguette Vivier ... Mademoiselle Vania
Odette Talazac ... Madame Point
Maximilienne Maximilienne ... Mademoiselle Cuq
Sylvette Saugé Sylvette Saugé ... Christiane Perret, la poule
Louis Florencie ... Commissaire Monnet
André Gabriello André Gabriello ... L'agent Pussot (as Gabriello)
Raymond Bussières ... Jean-Baptiste Turlot (as Bussières)


Dapper Inspector Vorobechik ('Wens' for short) is assigned the case of a serial killer who leaves a calling card on his victims; Monsieur Durand. Wens' mistress, struggling actress Mila Malou, determines to get publicity for herself by helping him. Learning that Durand is one of the eccentric tenants of a boarding house at No. 21 Avenue Junot, Wens takes a room in the guise of a Protestant minister; only to be followed by Mila who hardly seems like a minister's wife! Suspects are arrested, but while each is in jail, there's another murder... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


PIERRE FRESNAY as the French Dick who knew all the answers in a Merry Murder Mystery


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The 100,000 francs reward for the capture of Durand was the equivalent of $88,417 at the time or about $1,300,000 in 2016. See more »


Near the beginning of the film, before Wren's boss goes into his office looking for him, a clear shadow of the boom microphone is visible on the wall behind him in the hallway. See more »


Mila Malou - la maîtresse tapageuse de Wens: [From the English subtitles of the French dialogue] I'll pop your blackheads to cheer you up.
L'inspecteur Wenceslas Wens: Leave me alone.
Mila Malou - la maîtresse tapageuse de Wens: Just one.
L'inspecteur Wenceslas Wens: Leave me alone!
Mila Malou - la maîtresse tapageuse de Wens: You're covered in them.
[She begins squeezing various places on his face]
Mila Malou - la maîtresse tapageuse de Wens: They'll get big and leave pocks...
L'inspecteur Wenceslas Wens: ...That hurts!
Mila Malou - la maîtresse tapageuse de Wens: Hold still. It's like vermicelli.
L'inspecteur Wenceslas Wens: You're disgusting.
See more »


Referenced in Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno (2009) See more »

User Reviews

Je Ne Sais Pas
2 March 2012 | by GManfredSee all my reviews

I often wish I could speak French, especially when watching a French movie billed as a mystery/comedy. I can't seem to get my funny bone around the Gallic sense of humor - unless the sub-titles are doing me in. I thought "The Murderer Lives At #21" was a good, worthwhile mystery movie, one which was unsolvable until the end of the picture. I thought Pierre Fresnay was a very good Inspector Wens and I wished there could have been a whole series of Insp. Wens films. I recall that he played the sympathetic part of Capt. Boeldieu in "Grand Illusion", and I have a recording of him in a 1936 Cole Porter musical (he spoke but did not sing).

But why did the aura of menace disappear after the first murder? I really thought we were in for a special treat at that point. I liked the motley collection of suspects at the boarding house but none of them were menacing or threatening, just a peculiar group of people. Suzy Delair's presence is marginally grating, just as it was in "Quai Des Orfevres", and once again regaled us with a forgettable song or two. Someone mentioned the chemistry between Fresnay and Delair was reminiscent of Nick and Nora Charles. That may be so, but as I stated much of the playful banter was lost due to the language barrier. Moreover, I was never a fan of attempts to mix comedy and mystery, which was prevalent up until WW II. I don't think they blend well as one element tends to cancel out the other. This could be the reason for the aforementioned disappearance of the aura of menace.

I gave this picture a rating of 7. The comparison between Clouzot and Hitchcock was not yet a valid one; at this point Hitchcock could mop the floor with the neophyte Clouzot.

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Release Date:

16 August 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Murderer Lives at #21 See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Continental Films, Liote See more »
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Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System Wide Range)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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