7.8/10
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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:

I don't know who he is or what he looks like or where he lives. But I am going to find him...and kill him. 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

Marc Di Napoli (Philippe, Paul's son) and Stéphane Di Napoli (Michel, Charles' son) are brothers in real life. See more »

Goofs

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

Connections

Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

La terre
By Dominique Zardi
See more »

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User Reviews

Multi-layered and intelligent revenge drama
12 August 2008 | by ametaphysicalsharkSee all my reviews

Following a number of fairly mediocre efforts from the early to late sixties, Chabrol got right back on track with the excellent "Le Biches", and followed that film with "Que la bête meure", an intensely involving revenge drama with the emphasis on psychology and character over action and violence.

The film opens like any revenge thriller would (albeit probably better-shot and acted than most of them), with a child being killed in a hit and run and his father vowing to track down and kill the perpetrator. The tale slowly becomes more and more psychological, however, and ends up being a variation on a Greek tragedy, as others have noted. Chabrol is rarely content with following the expected routine (when he is his films can be dismal), and "Que la bête meure" is far from routine, as we end up spending more than an hour with the all the main characters in place and even together most of the time. The script is carefully written to avoid plot issues (outside of the contrived and silly first clue the main character gets, I can't think of any major issues I had with the script), and the dialogue is as deliberately orchestrated as Chabrol's direction is, building the suspense and drama gradually.

After the nearly continuous camera motion in "Les Biches", Chabrol takes a different approach to this film. It's less stylized and more natural, with the shot composition never feeling contrived as it sometimes did in Chabrol's immediately preceding effort, although there is some very good and very deliberate work around when we first meet the villain. Chabrol also uses close-ups to great effect, particularly in the scene late in the film with Paul and Charles on a sail boat.

What is striking about "Que la bête meure" is that while it deliberately builds suspense it also refuses to work as a thriller, and this is most clearly seen towards the end of the film when we get the standard twists but they're so subtle and low-key that one barely pays attention to them. The plot doesn't really matter here, the film is about much more, about the moral implications of revenge, about the nature of man, and it does well to apply these preoccupations to its characters so that we are never far removed from the emotions they are going through, in particular the main character Charles, played by Michel Duchaussoy.

After a string of disappointing features the last two years of the sixties saw two strong efforts from Claude Chabrol which helped keep him as relevant to cinema as he is. "Que la bête meure" is not a perfect film, and it may not even necessarily be a great film (although I think it qualifies), but it is engaging and enjoyable and far from empty. It leaves one thinking about it well after it has finished playing.

8.5/10


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