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Poulet au vinaigre (1985)

Not Rated | | Crime, Mystery | 10 April 1985 (France)
When a small town begins losing its citizenry in a series of grisly murders, out-of-town police inspector Jean Lavardin (Jean Poiret) is sent to investigate. Could the killers be a bullied ... See full summary »


Claude Chabrol


Dominique Roulet (novel), Dominique Roulet (adaptation) | 3 more credits »

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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Poiret ... Inspecteur Jean Lavardin
Stéphane Audran ... Madame Cuno
Michel Bouquet ... Hubert Lavoisier
Jean Topart Jean Topart ... Docteur Philippe Morasseau
Lucas Belvaux ... Louis Cuno
Pauline Lafont Pauline Lafont ... Henriette
Andrée Tainsy Andrée Tainsy ... Marthe
Jean-Claude Bouillaud Jean-Claude Bouillaud ... Gérard Filiol
Jacques Frantz ... Alexandre Duteil
Albert Dray Albert Dray ... André, le barman
Henri Attal Henri Attal ... L'employé de la morgue
Marcel Guy Marcel Guy ... Le maître d'hôtel
Dominique Zardi Dominique Zardi ... Henri Rieutord, chef de poste
Jean-Marie Arnoux Jean-Marie Arnoux ... Le client du café
Caroline Cellier ... Anna Foscarie


When a small town begins losing its citizenry in a series of grisly murders, out-of-town police inspector Jean Lavardin (Jean Poiret) is sent to investigate. Could the killers be a bullied son (Lucas Belvaux) and his cruel mother (Stephane Audran) who run the local post office? Or a pushy trio of would-be land developers? Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Mystery


Not Rated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

10 April 1985 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Cop au vin See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

MK2 Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Pauline Lafont appears in this film. Her mother Bernadette Lafont appears in the sequel Inspecteur Lavardin (1986). See more »


Followed by Les dossiers secrets de l'inspecteur Lavardin (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

COP AU VIN (Claude Chabrol, 1985) ***
11 June 2010 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

After another undue interruption in my ongoing Chabrol tribute – incidentally, I messed up the date and he will only turn 80 on the 24th of June rather than last May! – I plan to tackle it in earnest now, a task which will occupy me till the end of the month (to go along with a parallel Dennis Hopper tribute).

Anyway, this proved to be another stepping-stone in the French director's erratic but prolific filmography; by the end of the 1970s, his career had suffered a decline but it got back on track with this enjoyable award-winning thriller (incidentally, the hybrid retitling for U.S. consumption was an unusual touch), one that was successful enough to warrant a sequel – INSPECTOR LAVARDIN (1986; a viewing of which is to follow this one) – and a brief TV series made between 1988 and 1990 which seems to be unavailable for re-appraisal.

Still, for all the film's typical elements of detailed setting, nuanced characterization and ironic outlook, it does not quite scale the heights of Chabrol's finest work due to an essentially flimsy plot: indeed, even such later – and ostensibly lower-profile – efforts as the recently-viewed THE CRY OF THE OWL (1987) involve a denser and more gripping narrative! This is not to say that COP AU VIN lacks suspense or surprise: actually, the latter concerns most of all the iconoclastic Inspector himself – in spite of a dapper facade, he is blasé, forthright (even referring to a character's effeminacy as "AC/DC"!) and not above breaking into premises sans warrant or intimidating suspects to get at the truth – belatedly called in to investigate a murder, only to be met with a very similar one soon after and, later, the disappearance of a woman, all of whom are tied to a property development company whose methods are not the most ethical either.

Jean Poiret, ideally cast here and who would of course reprise the central role in the sequel(s), had garnered a reputation as a playwright and even secured an Oscar nomination for co-writing LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (1978); then in 1992, the same year he died of a heart attack (at 65), he stepped into the director's chair with LE ZEBRE (which won him a posthumous Cesar for Best First Film)! Incidentally, later on in the decade, he married one of his co-stars here i.e. Caroline Cellier (who, years before, had been the leading lady in arguably Chabrol's masterpiece THIS MAN MUST DIE [1969]); besides the latter, the film under review featured two of the director's frequent protagonists in supporting roles: ex-wife Stephane Audran (playing an invalid) and a very slim Michel Bouquet. Also on hand is amiably kooky Pauline Lafont (daughter of Bernadette, another "New Wave" regular and who would actually co-star in INSPECTOR LAVARDIN) – whose promising career was brought to a premature end when she perished in a fall, at just 25 years of age, in 1988!

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