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I Spit on Your Grave (1959)

J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (original title)
Joe Grant, a light-skinned African-African, heads to a small Southern town to investigate the lynching death of his brother. He draws the attention of a gorgeous heiress, who he learns may have been involved in the killing.


Michel Gast


Boris Vian (screenplay), Jacques Dopagne (screenplay) | 3 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Marquand ... Joe Grant
Antonella Lualdi ... Lizbeth Shannon
Fernand Ledoux ... Horace Chandley
Renate Ewert ... Sylvia Shannon
Marina Petrova ... Sheila (as Marina Petrowa)
Daniel Cauchy ... Sonny
Catherine Fonteney Catherine Fonteney ... Virginia Shannon
Claude Berri ... David
Jean Droze Jean Droze ... Ted
Gisèle Gallois ... Mona
Lud Germain Lud Germain ... Harrison - Le serviteur des Shannon (as Ludovic Germain)
Monique Just Monique Just ... Jay
Jean Sorel ... Elmer
Marie-Blanche Vergnes Marie-Blanche Vergnes ... Janet
André Versini André Versini ... Lex


In the American south, light-skinned Afro-American Joe Grant leaves Memphis and moves to a small town after his 18-year-old brother Sonny is brutally lynched for attempting to marry a white woman. Joe's skin is so light that he is able to pass himself off as Caucasian and find work in a local bookstore. To get revenge on white society, Joe seduces a rich young white girl Lizbeth Shannon, and plots her death. Meanwhile, Joe discovers that the bookstore where he works is a front for an extortion ring, and the town's intolerant men make his life miserable. They wish to kill him, out of racism and jealousy, because the women are attracted by Joe's masculine charms. As time goes by, Joe falls in love with Lizbeth. She loves him back until she learns that he is of African descent. Besides, she is engaged to another young man, Elmer. She suggests they run away together to avoid the blackmailers and the marriage. Joe is beaten by the blackmailers, but the pair manages to run away. Elder ... Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Film that defies every taboo!! He passed for white! ... and they loved it! See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

26 June 1959 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

I Spit on Your Grave See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Poste Parisien)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


At the premier, Boris Vian, who wrote the original novel, denounced the movie, collapsed in his seat and died. See more »


Featured in Drive-In Follies (1989) See more »


Surprise-partie Au Bord De L'eau
Composed and Conducted by Alain Goraguer
Performed by Alain Goraguer Et Son Ensemble
See more »

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User Reviews

8 August 2019 | by whatsupomarSee all my reviews

Let me keep it simple. This is one of those films that "looks" depressing from beginning to end, and I don't like depressing films. Granted there is some interesting camerawork by veteran cinematographer Marc Fossard and the jazzy soundtrack by Alain Goraguer is sort of intriguing. However the whole idea of an American film done in French by the French is difficult to digest. It starts out interesting enough as a crude exposé of racism in the American South but degenerates into a sexploitation ode to the legendary superiority of African American virility. That's the only explanation I could come up with after watching the main character, Joe Grant -a black man passing for white- arrive at the fictional town of Trenton, and unleash a veritable sexual revolution among the female population. It is never explained how or why every girl in town wants to get into Joe's pants. After all, the man is only there to avenge his brother's lynching, and does absolutely nothing to cause such a nymphomaniac reaction! That is only one of the many uncertainties that plague the script of "J'irai cracher sur vos tombes". I have never read the Boris Vian novel in which is supposedly based, nor do I intend to ever do so. (For me it is quite enough to enjoy Vian´s musical exploits with his muse Magali Noël). But I digress. Back to the film, there's not much to redeem it, unless you enjoy Trenton's seedy atmosphere, a brief lesbian kiss, a topless beauty swimming in a river, sado-masochism behavior by all, violence, and, of course, Joe's uncalled for sexual magnetism, as played by the extremely virile Christian Marquand. C´est dommage!

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