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Les Enfants Terribles (1950)

Les enfants terribles (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 28 July 1952 (USA)
The dangerously obsessive relationship between a psychologically manipulative brother and sister who isolate themselves and draw others into their mind games.

Writers:

Jean Cocteau (novel), Jean Cocteau (adaptation)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Nicole Stéphane ... Elisabeth
Edouard Dermithe ... Paul
Renée Cosima Renée Cosima ... Dargelos / Agathe
Jacques Bernard Jacques Bernard ... Gerard
Melvyn Martin Melvyn Martin ... Michael
Maria Cyliakus Maria Cyliakus ... The Mother
Jean-Marie Robain Jean-Marie Robain ... Headmaster
Maurice Revel Maurice Revel ... Doctor
Rachel Devirys
Adeline Aucoc Adeline Aucoc ... Mariette
Emile Mathys Emile Mathys ... Vice Principal
Roger Gaillard Roger Gaillard ... Gerard's Uncle
Jean Cocteau ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Annabel Buffet Annabel Buffet ... Le mannequin
Karin Lannby Karin Lannby ... The Mother
Edit

Storyline

In a snowball fight between schoolboys the handsome Dargelos hits the chest of Paul, who drops unconscious to the ground. Paul has a deep affection for Dargelos, and later denies that there was a stone in the snowball that hit him. Back home Paul's sister Elisabeth takes care of him. The teenage siblings live together in one room, where they have developed several private games. Paul's schoolmate Gérard is secretly enamored of Elisabeth, and often stays with them. When Elisabeth introduces her new friend Agathe to Paul, he recognizes that she resembles Dargelos strongly, and immediately falls in love with her. Elisabeth marries a rich young American Jew, Michael, but he dies in a car accident the day after the wedding. Elisabeth inherits his big apartment with 18 rooms and a gallery, and the four friends move into it. Paul sleeps in the gallery, where he builds a replica of the siblings' old room. Both Paul and Agathe are secretly enamored of the other. When each of them reveals this ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

a love story by Jean Cocteau

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

28 July 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les Enfants Terribles See more »

Filming Locations:

Ermenonville, Oise, France See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Melville Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Euphonic Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Title translation: The Terrible Children. See more »

Goofs

The amount of blood on Paul's face changes between when he is in the shop and when he is in the taxi. See more »

Quotes

Elisabeth: Paul, darling, I'll like one and we'll play the game.
Paul: I'm too used to playing it by myself.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The song that Michael sings while sitting at the piano was deleted for the original American release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Meet Me on the Southbank (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto for violin, strings & basso continuo in D minor (RV 813/vclass. RV Anh. 10)
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
See more »

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User Reviews

Fate lends a hand to unraveling relationships.
1 June 2011 | by bobsgrockSee all my reviews

Jean Cocteau, considered one of the foremost French artists of the 20th century, wrote and narrated this bizarrely familial tale about a brother and sister who have a strong love/hate relationship that expresses itself in high-strung shouting bouts that result in one of them storming out of the room. Clearly, this is a volatile relationship that is only made worse when the elder sister, Elisabeth, marries a young, rich mogul named Mike who unexpectedly leaves his entire fortune to her. Adding to this drama is the brother, Paul, being injured in a snowball fight and forced to rest extensively in Elisabeth's mansion.

As a young girl and man that are acquaintances of the siblings enter the equation, the drama heats up which leads to serious revelations and underlying feelings coming to the surface. Such a story in the early 1950s had to be seen, even in Europe, as somewhat controversial given the incestuous undertones of Elisabeth and Paul's relationship. Even so, to see classic Cocteau as directed by a young, up-and-coming Jean-Pierre Melville still feeling out his soon to be unique and inspired style.

Though at times a bit French-flavored melodrama and bizarre psycho- sexual encounters, Les Enfants Terribles still has enough power and creative camera work to engage the viewer up until the blunt conclusion.


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