8 user 13 critic

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.



(novel), (scenario) | 5 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Masques (1987)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Roland Wolf wants to write a book about a TV game-show host, the hail-fellow-well-met Christian Legagneur, who invites Wolf to his country estate, promising several days of lengthy ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Robin Renucci, Bernadette Lafont
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Inspector Lavardin is induced to investigate the murder of a province's notable who was taking himself as the moral guardian of his village. The perspective of the inquiry changes when the ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Jean Poiret, Jean-Claude Brialy, Bernadette Lafont
Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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 »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Jean Poiret, Stéphane Audran, Michel Bouquet
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Labbé, a hatter in a French provincial town, leads the life of a respectable citizen but is in fact a serial murderer. The only person to suspect this is his neighbour Kachoudas, an ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Michel Serrault, Charles Aznavour, Monique Chaumette
Certificate: GP Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A man asserts himself within the life of an actress he believes is somehow responsible for his son's death.

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Michel Duchaussoy, Caroline Cellier, Jean Yanne
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In Lausanne, the aspirant pianist Jeanne Pollet has lunch with her mother Louise Pollet, her boyfriend Axel and his mother. Lenna leans that when she was born, a nurse had mistakenly told ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc, Anna Mouglalis
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In a small Breton town, a 10-year-old girl is found murdered. René, her art teacher, a professional painter, is the last person to have seen her alive. The inspector in charge of the ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Jacques Gamblin, Antoine de Caunes
Thriller | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A hard-working young man meets and falls in love with his sister's bridesmaid. He soon finds out how disturbed she really is.

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Benoît Magimel, Laura Smet, Aurore Clément
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Marie Latour, a woman of limited schooling, raises two children in a ratty flat during World War II in occupied France. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from German captivity, too weak to ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, François Cluzet, Marie Trintignant
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A troubled young man retreats from the big city and his ex-wife for the tranquility of a small town. He is drawn into a relationship with a young woman whose boyfriend goes missing, leaving the new arrival as a suspect.

Director: Jamie Thraves
Stars: Paddy Considine, Julia Stiles, Karl Pruner
The Swindle (1997)
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Betty and Victor are a pair of scam artists. One day Betty brings in Maurice, a treasurer of a multinational company. Maurice is due to transfer 5 millions francs out of Switzerland, and ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Michel Serrault, François Cluzet
Betty (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A drunken self-destructive woman called Betty wanders through bars and meets a man that drives her to a restaurant outside Paris called Le Trou (The Hole). She meets the middle-aged ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Marie Trintignant, Stéphane Audran, Jean-François Garreaud


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See all certifications »





Release Date:

28 October 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Cry of the Owl  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

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 The Cry of the Owl (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

THE CRY OF THE OWL (Claude Chabrol, 1987) ***1/2
20 May 2010 | by See all my reviews

I had wanted to buy this one for a long time, but repeatedly postponed it due to the excessive price-tag of the DVD and the criticism leveled at the quality of the transfer (which was decent to my eyes even on a 40" TV monitor, if somewhat dark and with the burnt-in subtitles being intrusively large and bafflingly situated towards the middle of the screen!). Anyway, I eventually took the plunge not too long ago and am extremely glad I did – what with the accompanying Audio Commentary alone proving value for money!

The film is a well-regarded effort from Chabrol's middle period, given added prestige by being adapted from the work of celebrated crime novelist Patricia Highsmith. Incidentally, it makes for an excellent example of the director's admiration for Alfred Hitchcock (who had himself brought Highsmith's STRANGERS ON A TRAIN to the screen back in 1951), building suspense and goading the audience into complicity in much the same way as the acknowledged master of the form – though the noir trappings of the narrative (and, by extension, the expressionistic quality of the cinematography here) actually derives from Fritz Lang, another strong influence.

The plot – reportedly, a very faithful rendition of the novel – seems simple enough at first: a slightly disturbed man (about to be divorced) spies on a beautiful neighbor and, when he finally confronts her, realizes that she is herself essentially unbalanced (being willing to drop her current boyfriend and take up with him!); in this regard, the film reminded me a good deal of PRETTY POISON (1968). However, things get complicated when the boyfriend proves both jealous (though the male protagonist never actually consummates the affair!) and violent (even if he has to be saved from drowning himself when the situation comes to a head!), and even more so when the hero's malicious ex-wife becomes involved.

Interestingly, when the boyfriend goes missing, not only is his 'rival' suspected by the Police but, in a delicious reversal of Chabrol's own LA FEMME INFIDELE (1968), the girl rejects rather than endorses him – to the point that she tragically takes her own life (the panoramic shot revealing her lifeless body amid the tall grass is a brilliant touch). Surprisingly, the latter stages turn into outright black comedy as the boyfriend's repeated bungled attempts on the hero's life leave many of those around him lying in a pool of blood – including the boyfriend himself and the ex-wife in the astounding climax (capped by an ambiguous freeze-frame which leaves the protagonist's destiny hanging in the balance).

Another definite asset here is the well-chosen cast: while I was familiar with Mathilda May as the volatile heroine (best-known for playing the nude space vampire of Tobe Hooper's LIFEFORCE [1985] but who also had an important supporting role in Chabrol's recent A GIRL CUT IN TWO [2007]) and vaguely aware of Jean-Pierre Kalfon (portraying the bemused cop on the case), perhaps the most impressive was Christophe Malavoy in the central part (who proving a veritable magnet for disaster likens him with the lead character of Luis Bunuel's delightful 'non-serial killer' black comedy, THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA CRUZ [1955]!). This analogy is also mentioned in the Audio Commentary featuring one Ric Menello and David Kalat (President of All Day Entertainment, which released the DVD) who provide a comprehensive, scholarly yet entertaining analysis of the film, its tortuous distribution background, as well as a broad look at Chabrol's prolific career.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 8 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Sci-Fi Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular sci-fi movies and TV shows available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed