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Le cri du hibou (1987)

After separation from his wife Robert moves to Vichy where he observes beautiful Juliette. Her fiance Patrick becomes jealous and attacks Robert. When Patrick disappears Robert is suspected to have killed him.


Claude Chabrol


Patricia Highsmith (novel), Odile Barski (scenario) | 5 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christophe Malavoy ... Robert
Mathilda May ... Juliette
Jacques Penot Jacques Penot ... Patrick
Jean-Pierre Kalfon ... Le commissaire / Police commisionneer
Virginie Thévenet Virginie Thévenet ... Véronique
Patrice Kerbrat Patrice Kerbrat ... Marcello
Jean-Claude Lecas Jean-Claude Lecas ... Jacques
Agnès Denèfle Agnès Denèfle ... Suzie
Victor Garrivier Victor Garrivier ... Le médecin
Jacques Brunet Jacques Brunet ... Le père
Charles Millot Charles Millot ... Le directeur
Yvette Petit Yvette Petit ... La voisine
Dominique Zardi Dominique Zardi ... Le voisin
Henri Attal Henri Attal ... Un flic
Albert Dray Albert Dray ... Un flic


Robert is an architect and artist, in Vichy after separating from his Parisian wife, Véronique, herself newly engaged. Robert finds it calms him to stand in the shadows of the home of Juliette and Patrick and watch her cook. She thinks he's a prowler and confronts him, then invites him in. Soon, she's dumped Patrick, decided she's in love with this stranger, and pursues him. Robert's diffident, Patrick is furious, and violence follows. The police are incompetent, Véronique sees an opportunity to play revenge games, and the impressionable Juliette is ensnared by thoughts of death. Can anyone exercise reason? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Italy | France



Release Date:

28 October 1987 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cry of the Owl See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of two adaptations of Patricia Highsmith's novel "The Cry of the Owl" that was released the same year, the other adaptation is Der Schrei der Eule (1987). See more »


Version of Der Schrei der Eule (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

A far cry from Chabrol 's great works.
31 October 2003 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Patricia Highsmith's "cry of the owl" was not her best or even among her best;we are far from triumphs such as "the talented Mister Ripley" "Ripley's game " or "strangers on a train".But it was an interesting psychological study,focusing on a man who thought that, whatever he might do ,he was bound to fall and he would even bring bad luck to his human pals.Like a lot of HIghsmith 's characters ,he was a neurotic,who could not fit in the "normal world" ,with a heavy guilt feeling and a touch of masochism.Chabrol's screenplay is very faithful to the novel,keeping even the last line,but it's a good example of how accuracy leads to failure.

The choice of Christophe Malavoy was excellent because the actor is subtle enough to convey such a despair .But Chabrol put him against a gallery of weirdos who would drive any man insane:a brunette whose behavior is completely implausible,played an unconvincing actress,Mathilda May;a vulgar unattractive wife -Ah Stephane Audran where are you ?- ;a brute of a fiancé who seems even more irrational than the hero,it's the last straw!On the paper the hero's thoughts and frames of mind made up for the implausibilities of the plot and built an atmosphere of ambiguity ,an ambiguity which is almost totally absent in the film,in spite of Malavoy's commendable efforts.To top it all,there's an irritating part of a cop (Kalfon) ,a la Colombo,gobbling up madeleines ,and hinting at Marcel Proust as he tries to remind his unusual suspect of what he may have done.

Because,like in a lot of Chabrol movies,people eat in in "le cri du hibou".The hero and his lady friend treat themselves to some delicious crêpes suzette (flambées) and cassolettes of langoustines:the neurotic is also a gourmet !And he does love the girl's home-made cookies!

Doing two movies a year,Chabrol makes frequently spotty works:such was the case of "le cri du hibou" , deservedly forgotten work,whereas the contemporary "masques " -released at the beginning of the same year- was a brilliant film noir turned almost farce.

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