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Malpertuis (1971)

A young sailor finds himself trapped in the labyrinthine mansion of his occultist uncle, along with a number of eccentric and mysterious relatives who all seem to be harboring a dark secret.

Director:

Harry Kümel

Writers:

Jean Ferry (screenplay and dialogue), Jean Ray (novel)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Orson Welles ... Cassavius
Susan Hampshire ... Nancy / Euryale / Alice / Nurse / Charlotte
Michel Bouquet ... Charles Dideloo
Mathieu Carrière ... Jan
Jean-Pierre Cassel ... Lampernisse
Daniel Pilon ... Mathias Crook
Walter Rilla ... Eisengott
Dora van der Groen Dora van der Groen ... Sylvie Dideloo
Charles Janssens Charles Janssens ... Philarette
Sylvie Vartan ... Bets
Jet Naessens Jet Naessens ... Eleonora
Cara Van Wersch Cara Van Wersch ... Rosalie
Jenny Van Santvoort Jenny Van Santvoort ... Elodie
Fanny Winkler Fanny Winkler ... Mother Griboin
Robert Lussac Robert Lussac ... Griboin (as Bob Storm)
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Storyline

Malpertuis is a labyrinth where characters issued from the Greek mythology are made prisoners by Cassavius. He manages to keep them (as well as his nephew and niece) as prisoners even after his death, through a binding testament. As the nephew unravels the mystery, we find out he cannot escape the house because Malpertuis is far more significant than we were led to believe. Written by Flávia Dietrich

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy | Horror

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Belgium | France | West Germany

Language:

Dutch

Release Date:

1971 (Belgium) See more »

Also Known As:

The Legend of Doom House See more »

Filming Locations:

Gent, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Gevacolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was Harry Kümel's favorite project for a long time but it was not until his previous film Daughters of Darkness (1971) succeeded at the box office (most notably in the US) that he managed to raise funding for it. Unfortunately, "Malpertuis" did poorly in most countries, though it was even nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. See more »

Alternate Versions

First screened at Cannes at 99 minutes. The Director's Cut runs 119 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in De Kijk van Koolhoven: Eurohorror (2018) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Fascinating and tiresome, could be shorter
25 February 2005 | by bob998See all my reviews

My hopes were high for this film. I'd seen Kumel's Le Rouge aux levres/Daughters of Darkness, the most stylish vampire/kinky sex movie ever made, and I love its sly wit and arresting visuals. Malpertuis is not as effective, alas, and I put that down to an overly-complicated story weighed down by too many classical references taken from the novel. Lampernisse, standing in for Prometheus, just doesn't work as a character. Why introduce the Erinyes, the three women who punished offenders against blood kin, when they don't advance the story? It's not an easy thing to watch a movie with a handbook of classical mythology by your side.

Having said this, I will add that it is wonderful to watch film that shows a great visual sophistication (crowd shots that evoke an Ensor painting, or that wonderful twisting staircase in the house) and never needs F/X. We have lost a great deal by the subservience to CGI today.


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