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This Man Must Die (1969)

Que la bête meure (original title)
A man asserts himself within the life of an actress he believes is somehow responsible for his son's death.

Director:

Claude Chabrol

Writers:

Nicholas Blake (novel), Claude Chabrol (dialogue) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michel Duchaussoy ... Charles Thénier
Caroline Cellier ... Hélène Lanson
Jean Yanne ... Paul Decourt
Anouk Ferjac ... Jeanne Decourt
Marc Di Napoli Marc Di Napoli ... Philippe Decourt
Louise Chevalier Louise Chevalier ... Madame Levenes
Guy Marly Guy Marly ... Jacques Ferrand
Lorraine Rainer Lorraine Rainer ... Anna Ferrand
Dominique Zardi Dominique Zardi ... Le premier inspecteur de police
Stéphane Di Napoli Stéphane Di Napoli ... Michel Thénier
Raymone Raymone ... La mère de Paul
Michel Charrel Michel Charrel ... Le ferrailleur
France Girard France Girard
Bernard Papineau ... Le policier
Robert Rondo Robert Rondo ... Le garagiste
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Storyline

Single father obsessed with murdering the hit&run driver who killed his only child, poses as a screenwriter to get close to an actress who was in the death car. He feels fully prepared to kill the pretty young woman if she was the driver, but as his knowledge of her family grows, so does his empathy for them. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...a Thriller See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

20 October 1970 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

This Man Must Die See more »

Filming Locations:

Argol, Finistère, France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The episode in the Iliad that is mentioned by Charles Thénier can be found in canto 5, verses 70-75. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning Paul is shifting several times although the Mustang has an automatic transmission. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Beast Must Die (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Vier ernste Gesänge
Written by Johannes Brahms
Sung by Kathleen Ferrier (as Katleen Ferrier)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stylish and intelligent existential revenge drama from Chabrol
10 July 2011 | by tomgillespie2002See all my reviews

After a speeding car kills his young son, Charles Thenier (Michel Duchaussoy) vows there and then that he will kill the man responsible. The police begin a frantic hunt for the killer, but Charles has little confidence in them and starts an investigation of his own. In a chance encounter, he discovers that the brother-in-law of actress Helen Lanson (Caroline Cellier) is the man he is looking for, and sets about seducing Helen under a false name. He eventually gets to meet Paul Decourt (Jean Yanne, who also stars in Godard's Weekend - one of my all-time favourite films), who is such a repulsive human being that even his own son also wants him dead. As Charles' struggles with the idea of killing him, he must deal with the fact that he may be falling in love with Helen.

The revenge film is a sub-genre that has been done to death. Lazy film- makers and the generally uninspired can see it as a relatively simplistic premise that can be tampered with and altered to an endless degree. They range from the genuinely brilliant (Memento, Oldboy, The Virgin Spring) to the genuinely horrific (Taken, Death Wish), and the exploitation genre made very grisly use of it (The Last House On The Left, Thriller - A Cruel Picture). The fact is that it's starting to get a bit boring. Which makes it all the more refreshing when you stumble upon a gem from the past that takes the idea and spins out something fresh. Que La Bete Meure (The Beast Must Die, or This Man Must Die to give it its US title) is one of these.

Claude Chabrol's existential drama plays out like a Greek tragedy. We are with Charles all the time and we are made to suffer like our protagonist, and suffer he does. When he finally meets Paul, he realises that he is the monster he hoped him to be, which fuels his determination. Paul is grotesque - his voice spews out loutish insults before we even see him, and then we join him at dinner where he sadistically humilities his own kin. But does this mean that he truly deserves to die? As Charles sets in motion his plan of murder, he becomes noticeably uncomfortable yet fiercely determined.

Chabrol's film-making style comes across as mixing the tension-building thrills of Alfred Hitchcock, with the philosophical ponderings of Ingmar Bergman, and the result is often astonishing. Charles almost mirrors the doomed film noir detective, with Duchaussoy putting in a fantastic performance. From this to La Femme Infidele, the other Chabrol film I've had the fortune to see, it seems that he is relatively uncelebrated compared to his French associates Godard, Truffaut, Renoir and Cocteau (amongst many others) which, on the basis of this film alone, is wholly unfair.

www.the-wrath-of-blog.blogspot.com


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