SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: Week 236 - Diabolique (1955)

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by europe1, Nov 18, 2020.

  1. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    26,962
    Likes Received:
    1,573
    Location:
    West of Finland, East of Norway
    NOTE to NON-MEMBERS: Interested in joining the SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB? Shoot me a PM for more info!

    Here's a quick list of all movies watched by the SMC. Or if you prefer, here's a more detailed examination.

    [​IMG]

    Henri-Georges Clouzot
    [​IMG]
    Beginning his film career as a screenwriter, Henri-Georges Clouzot switched over to directing and in 1943 had the distinction of having his film Le corbeau (1943) banned by both the German forces occupying France and the Free French forces fighting them, but for different reasons. He shot to international fame with Le salaire de la peur (1953) and consolidated that success with Diabolique (1955), but continuous ill health caused large gaps in his output, and several projects had to be abandoned (though one, L'enfer (1994), was subsequently filmed by Claude Chabrol). His films are typically relentless suspense thrillers, similar to Alfred Hitchcock's but with far less light relief.
    Our Stars

    Vera Clouzot
    [​IMG]

    Simone Signoret
    [​IMG]
    Film Overview




    Premise: The wife and mistress of a loathed school principal plan to murder him with what they believe is the perfect alibi.

    Budget: $???

    Box Office: $???

    Trivia
    (courtesy of IMDB)​
    * When director Henri-Georges Clouzot bought the film rights to the original novel, he reportedly beat Alfred Hitchcock by only a matter of hours.

    * Despite losing out on the chance to make the film, Alfred Hitchcock was a big fan. Indeed, some state that it bore an influence on the making of Psycho (1960).

    * An early example of a film featuring a disclaimer at the end, urging the audience not to give away any spoilers.

    * Henri-Georges Clouzot was convinced that Simone Signoret was playing the character incorrectly because she, the actress, knew the ending of the movie and, thus, was giving away too much to the audience with her characterization. One day on the set, Clouzot said angrily, "I should have never let you read the end of the script!"

    * The film gained extra notoriety five years later when Véra Clouzot died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 46. Her character in the film suffers from a weak heart.

    * The film skips the lesbian relationship between the two women that exists in the novel.

    * It is believed that Henri-Georges Clouzot actually served rotten fish to Véra Clouzot in order to get a genuine reaction from her.


    Members: @europe1 @MusterX @Scott Parker 27 @JayPettryMMA @Yotsuya @HARRISON_3 @Bubzeh @the ambush @SalvadorAllende @HenryFlower @Zer

     
    MusterX and Zer like this.
  2. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    26,962
    Likes Received:
    1,573
    Location:
    West of Finland, East of Norway
    Damn I should have wrote: "Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan"

    [​IMG]

    Alright... I'll be the first one to say it... Diabolique seems like one of those prototypical movie which has suffered with age. It's one of those "escalate the suspense until delivering a snapping twist ending!". But in the passing 70 years since it was released... the twist-ending has become not only standard but also expected. Don't get me wrong, it is an excellently delivered twist, the way his face looks all ghostly and deformed is pretty damn gnarly. But today we just expect and think about it in a whole other way. The shock is much more mitigated.

    Really have to wonder how that guy managed to fake staying dead for so long though.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As for the comparisons to Hitchcock, besides the whole "suspense" thing I also noticed that both Hitchcock and Clouzout love using these folksy side-characters that just hang around and comment on stuff.

    Other than that.... there really isn't much to remark on or discuss in this movie, I feel.:confused:

    French school really, really sucks it seems like.
     
    MusterX, Yotsuya, Zer and 1 other person like this.
  3. OldFashion Green Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2020
    Messages:
    1,234
    Likes Received:
    1,780
    I watched this one last year actually.
    I thought the twist was executed better here than in a lot of films that came out 40+ years later because I actually didn't see it coming. That being said this kind of movie just isn't for me and there were quite a few silly things happening here,
    like the detective just chilling there at the end waiting for everything to unfold and then just appearing out of thin air lmao
    I also remember that I found the wife super annoying and whiny. I might watch this one again in the coming days and see if I feel different about it. It wasn't bad or anything like that it just didn't do much for me. It's a classic nonetheless.
     
    Zer and europe1 like this.
  4. moreorless87 Straba

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    40,630
    Likes Received:
    2,686
    I do personally prefer Wages of Fear and La Verite myself as performance wise they feel rather more modern were as here things are a bit more theatrical, especially from Clouzout's wife. Still though I think its both a very well constructed thriller and well filmed, the school really does have a nasty grimy atmosphere to it that plays into the story very well.
     
    MusterX, Zer and europe1 like this.
  5. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    Messages:
    26,962
    Likes Received:
    1,573
    Location:
    West of Finland, East of Norway
    I didn't see the twist comming either but honestly... it was partly due to the fact that the guy surviving such a circumstance seemed too improbable. Like, faking something involving one guy playing dead for over 24 hours while oftentimes submerged under water just seems like sort of a bad proposition, you know?:D

    I suspect that France had a similar law to the US back then. In a movie, you weren't allowed to depict criminals getting away scot-free with their crimes. So the detective was brought in as a last-minute resort to get them busted.

    Also, like... that bastard couldn't have intervened earlier?

    Not to mention the unliklihood of him just hanging out in the coroners office and smelling a rat when Vera went to look at the body.

    Really? The girl's demure like a mouse.

    I actually considered Nominating Le Verite in favor of Diabolique but got cold feet because... Brigitte Bardot was dazzling and all but she didn't excactly have a tendency to appear in good movies or produce good roles. Like... at least Sophia Loren had the good manners to knock out a good performance once every half-a-decade or so.

    [​IMG]

    Just quoting this to take the opportunity to say that Simone Signoret depicted one of my all-time favorite female characters in Melville's Army of Shadows. ;)

    [​IMG]

    It also pulls this out with almost no soundtrack what so ever which is an admirable achievement.
     
    Zer likes this.
  6. HARRISON_3 Steel Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    25,233
    Likes Received:
    6,593
    Location:
    Within Cells Interlinked
    I saw the Chazz Palminteri version back in the day.

    The bath tub scene freaked me out.
     
    MusterX and Zer like this.
  7. moreorless87 Straba

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    40,630
    Likes Received:
    2,686
    I think she's excellent in La Verite though, very naturalistic performance that the whole film hangs on.
     
    europe1 likes this.
  8. KOQ24 Gold Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Messages:
    19,012
    Likes Received:
    402
    Location:
    Grimmen, Germany
    I love the Ending.Never been a big Simone Signoret Fan but she's good here.

    I highly recommend you guys to watch Clouzot's Le Corbeau.He's not just Wages of Fear and Diabolique.
     
    MusterX and Zer like this.
  9. Yotsuya Purple Belt

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    182
    Wages and La prisonnière are my favourites.
     
  10. Yotsuya Purple Belt

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    182
    I tried to watch Diabolique few years ago by could not quite get into it. I think I'll try again if I get a chance to see it on big screen.
     
    MusterX likes this.
  11. MusterX Titanium Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2006
    Messages:
    43,654
    Likes Received:
    2,622
    I wanted this film to be 15,000+ Roentgen, but it was only 3.6. Not great, not terrible. I can't even criticize the writing or directing style because I think it was probably excellent during its time period. Like @Yotsuya , I had a hard time getting into it though. Making a film that fits nicely into any era is quite difficult. It may also be that the ole double cross trope has been used, and effectively, over and over again over the decades.

    Even among "twist ending" films, there have been so many they came after it. Old boy had a sick twist, The Usual Suspects, and The Crying Game blew some minds back in the early 90's. I guess we also have to take into account that the more modern twist ending films were able to stand on the shoulder of giants so to speak so they had an advantage there over the older films that pioneered twist endings. Overall I wasn't disappointed but I was a bit bored at times.
     
    OldFashion likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.