7.1/10
3,631
26 user 45 critic

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 »

Photos

Edit

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 ... 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
Pierre Bénichou Pierre Bénichou ... Young schoolboy (Extra)
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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The sound of Edouard Dermithe's heartbeat was the sound recorded of Jean Cocteau's heartbeat, dubbed in by the director. 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: How horrible!
Paul: What's horrible?
Elisabeth: Everything!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Featured in Regarding Susan Sontag (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
Les enfants terribles
3 August 2012 | by lasttimeisawSee all my reviews

Another KVIFF viewing of Jean-Pierre Melville's tribute section, after LE SAMOURAI (1967, a 9/10). This one is Melville's earlier work, a collaboration with Jean Cocteau, an adaption of Cocteau's internationally famed eponymous novel, which at first glance would seem to be deviated from Melville's comfort zone, the film has a more explicit portrayal of humanity in its darkest corner, and the fodder has a comprehensive penchant to theatricality and character study.

A quite conspicuous clash comes from the cast, to wit Edouard Dermithe, the leading protagonist as Peter, who would not be Melville's first choice but thanks to Cocteau's relentless insistence (Edouard is said to be his lover at that time), notwithstanding his dandy contour is unable to deliver any conceivable conviction which his role should have embodied, no matter how many close-ups swooping upon his statuesque face, it is certainly beyond the rescue even Melville had exerted himself to the utmost. Nicole Stéphane and Renée Cosima, on the other hand, are the messiahs of the cast, several emotion-eruption takes are right to the point.

At least Melville still manifests his capacity is other department of the films, the cinematography from DP Henri Decaë infuses very seclude intimacy during the siblings' scenes when a whiff of incestuous ambiguity permeates the whole frame. When the setting moves to the grand apartment in the latter part in the film, the spiderweb of deconstructing an immoral subterfuge foiled with riveting and labyrinthine shots culminates the film with a quite amazing coda, which by no means should be even scarcely credited for Mr. Dermithe.

So the win-win combo seems not to fire up to one's expectation, and it is a quite qualified candidate needs a remake, then who is the proper person at the helm? I dare to suggest Jacques Audiard if one must be French.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 26 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed