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The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (1942)

L'assassin habite... au 21 (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 16 August 1947 (USA)
Trailer
1:56 | Trailer
Inspector Wens moves into a Paris boarding house to catch a serial killer.

Director:

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

Writers:

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

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

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

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TV)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System Wide Range)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There is a poster for this movie displayed in the theatre in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Inferno (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Entertaining mystery
9 April 2019 | by gbill-74877See all my reviews

Director Henri-Georges Clouzot's first film is an Agatha Christie style mystery, with the murderer constrained to the set of people in a boarding-house and a detective (Pierre Fresnay) investigating them. It's a playful script, buoyed by the perky Suzy Delair who is both his mistress and an aspiring opera singer (and in an interesting side note, Delair, a year younger than Olivia de Havilland, is as of this writing also still alive). The subject matter of a serial killer who leaves a calling card on his victims is of course serious, but it's presented here in a pretty light way, a bit like a stage play. It's also a little hokey in how its investigation proceeds and it's not all that kind to the French police who seem a bit foolish, but the resolution to the mystery is excellent and hard to see coming.

The film was made when the Nazis were occupying France, so Clouzot was working for the German production company Continental Films, and undoubtedly walking a tightrope (one that would get him into trouble with his countrymen in his next film, Le Corbeau). Some critics read veiled commentary about the Nazis in aspects of the plot (e.g. a murder shot from the perspective of the killer early on, or how heavy-handed police interrogations that border on torture can elicit a false confession), but I didn't see it quite as symbolically. The possible reference to a Nazi salute is intriguing though, and regardless, it's mind-boggling to think of this light mystery being made at this point in French history.


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