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The Unfaithful Wife (1969)

La femme infidèle (original title)
Trailer
3:19 | Trailer
A man begins to believe his wife is cheating on him.

Director:

Claude Chabrol

Writers:

Claude Chabrol (original scenario), Claude Chabrol (dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stéphane Audran ... Hélène Desvallées
Michel Bouquet ... Charles Desvallées
Michel Duchaussoy ... Police Officer Duval
Maurice Ronet ... Victor Pegala
Louise Chevalier Louise Chevalier ... Maid
Louise Rioton Louise Rioton ... Mamy, Charles'mother-in Law
Serge Bento Serge Bento ... Bignon
Henri Marteau Henri Marteau ... Paul
Guy Marly Guy Marly ... Police Officer Gobet
François Moro-Giafferi François Moro-Giafferi ... Frederic
Albert Minski Albert Minski ... King Club owner (as Albert Minsky)
Dominique Zardi Dominique Zardi ... Truck driver
Michel Charrel Michel Charrel ... Policeman
Henri Attal Henri Attal ... Man in cafe
Jean-Marie Arnoux Jean-Marie Arnoux ... False Witness
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Storyline

Charles Desvallées has good reasons to believe that his wife is cheating on him and hires a P.D. in order to prove himself right. Once he knows the lover is writer Victor Pégala, he drives to his apartment, calmly presents himself as the husband, starts a conversation and then kills him cold-bloodedly. The police trace the wife but when she discovers by accident a picture that could incriminate her husband she decides to remain silent. Written by Bernard Dionne <guero@globetrotter.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Psycho-Sexual Study in Murder!

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cinema that Charles drives by advertises Les Biches (1968), which was Claude Chabrol's previous film. See more »

Goofs

After Charles Desvallees has put Victor Pegala's body in the boot of his car & sets off, his car has a front number plate. While driving through Paris the front number plate vanishes mysteriously. When Charles continues his journey after being bumped from behind the front number plate is back on the car. See more »

Connections

Remade as Unfaithful (2002) See more »

User Reviews

 
In Every Dream Home A Heartache
3 October 2006 | by Joseph_GillisSee all my reviews

"La Femme Infidele", which was released in 1968, followed quickly on the heels of "Les Biches", (which, in a perhaps playfully arrogant way, is shown as playing in a cinema during the course of the film), and continued a glorious return to form for Chabrol after a too-long fallow period.

It was the first of a series of what could be regarded 'studies in adultery' starring his wife (and muse), Stephane Audran. In this one a loving husband suspects his wife of being unfaithful and, having had his suspicions confirmed by a private detective, determines to confront her lover.

Although he's often described as the French Hitchcock, Chabrol, while he has consistently proved that he has mastered the basic techniques of the suspense film genre, invariably has been at least as equally interested in the study,- indeed dissection, - of the mores and behaviour of the French bourgeoisie.

While this categorisation might suggest a tendency towards dry academic study, he has shown in his best features a masterful ability to employ a variety of techniques to present his case in a telling manner. In this instance he employs, variously, a combination of subtle character study,suspense film, Pinteresque drama, and some black comedy.

He is greatly assisted here by a clutch of exceptional performances: Audran and Maurice Ronet as the lovers, and, best of all, Michel Bouquet as the suspicious but loving husband.

(As an aside, and I'm not sure whether she served any function in the film other than mere decoration, but the husband's mini-skirted secretary appeared to me to have wandered onto the film from an adjacent French farce. But then,perhaps,it was just a case of Chabrol conforming to the norms of the day.)

Among the superbly-crafted high-points were the confrontation between lover and husband; the various domestic conversations between husband and wife where the nature of their relationship is carefully and beautifully delineated; the various conversations with the investigating policemen; and a masterly final scene (where even the briefest explanatory description would be too cruel for those who've yet to see the film).

Overall, however, what ultimately elevates the film to greatness is the way in which Chabrol presents his subjects as determined to maintain the domestic equilibrium, irrespective of, and almost oblivious to, temporary 'crises' and 'inconveniences'. And in the way in which, he, as director/puppetmaster, while at times apparently mocking, simultaneously persuades us to sympathise with his subjects

Quite possibly his finest film: but certainly quintessential Chabrol.


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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

10 November 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Unfaithful Wife See more »

Filming Locations:

Jouy-en-Josas, Yvelines, France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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