Παρασκευή, 9 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Les Diaboliques - Diaboliques (Clouzot, 1955)


Les Diaboliques the great suspense film that shocked the world , …, and became a classic





The official poster of  Les Diaboliques



The film Les Diaboliques is one of the most significant suspense and horror films in the history of global cinema. The film “Les Diaboliques” it’s a French film but it’s quality and it’s unique style, cinematography and camera work are the main reasons for the global recognition.

The main persons behind the success of “Les Diabliques”


Les Diaboliques was directed by Henri Georges Clouzot, the screenplay was co written George Clouzot, Jerome Gemini, Frederic Grendel and Rene Mason. The score of the film was composed by Georges Van Parys, Director of Photography was ArmanThirand and the film was distributed by Cinedis, UMPO, Gala Film Distribution, Criterion and Arrow Films. The film is based on the French novel Celle qui n' etait plus (She She Who Was No More) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Les Diaboliques shares elements of horror genre and suspense and the main character of the film is a woman who suggers because of his husband, with the help of her husband mistress she kills him. but his body disappears.  

Les Diaboliques was a very successful film according to critiques and box office revenue and it was the 10th highest crossing film of the year in France.  


Highlights of Diaboliques film  


The plot structure is not usual for horror film and it is developed step by step by creating strong suspense and by living enough fictional place to characters to be developed. The film has an unforgettable twist ending and at the final scene an enigmatic question is asked to audience. Is this the end or is just the beginning for another film?
The headmistress of a Parisian School, Vera Delasalle, because of her husband Michel’s brutish behaviour and teams up with his lover Nicole to kill him. They think they have committed the perfect crime, only for the body to disappear. Has Michael returned from his watery grave? Clouzot, served the rights to Boileuar and Narcelac’s source (writers of the initial book) a month before Sir Alfred Hitchcock attempted to do the same. It’s international success triggered Hitchock’s desire to make Psycho. But beyond all the similarities between Hitchock and Clouzot’s most famous film was Psycho. The most significant element in an effort of a comparative study is that Psycho is losing it’s momentum after the murder of maron crane, Les Diaboloques crank ups the tension to a near unbearable pitch by the end of relies solely on judicious editing and a superb cast for its effects - there are no shrieking strings here, indeed no conventional score at all.

The minute attention to physical detail - a ran spring up when the weight of a wicker box is removed and a tap trips on the waterproof tablecloth covering Michel’s body - roots the film in a ubby authenticity that makes its horrors still more shocking. Clouzot alse expertly manipulates the viewers sympathiest by presenting Michel’s murder as justifiable : he rapes his wife, beats his lover and routinely feeds the schoolboys rotting food.

Cast of the film “Les Diaboliques”


The part of Michel Delassale (the husband and main male character is performed by Paul Meurisse. The role of Christina Delassale (wife of Michel and main female character) is played by Vera Clouzot and the part of Nicole Horner (the lover of Michel) is played by Simone Signoret. In film “Les Diaboliques” participate also Charles Vanel, Jean Brochard, Pierre Larquey, Michel Serrault, Therese Dorny, Noel Roquevert and Gorge Poujouly.

Remakes of “Les Diaboliques”


The success of initial film is the main factor for to tv movies remakes and a film remake.  The first was an American version with the title “Reflections of Murder” (1974) and “The House of Secret’s” (1993). Three years later Jeramiah A. Chechik directs the film Diaboliques which was just an adaption of the first film.

You can see on youtube the trailer of “Les Diaboliques






Also I need to highlight the recognition of film “Les Diaboliques / Diaboliques” of the film industry. Clouzot’s idea to acquire the film rights from the novel “Celle qui n’ etait plus” was so wise movement, because as I have already mentioned the master of Suspense Sir Alfred Hitchcock was looking to acquire the film rights of the same book. Finally, the film “Les Diaboliques / Diaboliques” was a source of inspiration for Sir Alfred Hitchcock to direct Psycho. The writer of Psycho Robert Bloch has recognized the value of Diaboliques as film and he has stated in an interview that his all – time favorite horror film is Les Diaboliques / Diaboliques.
The film gained a large publicity five years after its initial release in France when Vera Clouzot who performs the role of Christina Delassale (the main female character)died of a heart attack at age 46, mirroring her character in the film, Christina who was suffering also from her heart.
Les Diaboliques / Diabolique was also the favorite film on Turner Classic Movies channel. Later in 1999 it was released on DVD in the Criterion Collection and twelve years later on 2011 it was re- released on DVD by Criterion for second time.

Les Diaboliques / Diaboliques awards and recognition

The film “Les Diaboliques / Diaboliques” in 1954 won the Louis Delluc Prize and one year later in 1955 won the award for best foreign film at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in 1955.
Les Diaboliques / Diaboliques now days is considered a classic masterpiece of horror cinema and it’s ranked 46th on Bravo’s list of 100 Scariest Movie Moments, Time in 2007 honored the film “Les Diaboliques / Diaboliques” by placing it on the list of Top 25 Horror films. On the web site Rotten Tomatoes the film “Les Diaboliques / Diaboliques” hold a 97% approval rate based on 36 reviews.

The Plot Structure of the film “Les Diaboliques / Diaboliques”

The basic story line of the narration is not as the majority of other horror films – the plot structure is developed step by step around a murder and the relationship of three humans. The main character is Michel Delassale a tyrannical, brutal and sadistic man who is Director of a second – rate boarding school. The school is private and it’s owned by his wife the frail Christina Delassale (the main female character) who is raped and injured physically and mentally by her husband Michel. There is also another one character, another woman, the lover of Michel Delassale because the main character flaunts his marriage relationship with Nicole Horner a teacher at the school, too.
There is no antagonism between the woman, the brutal behavior of Michel Dellasale has united the two women who unable to accept and stand him anymore, Nicole devises a plan. At first the plan wasn’t accept by Christina, but after thinking and discussing Christina consents to help Nicole. Christina and Nicole go to an apartment in a remote village several hundred kilometers away and Nicole invites Michele there. Christina sedates him and then the two women drown Michele in a bathtub. They carried Michele’s body in a box by the school’s car back to school and they dump his body in scholl’s neglected swimming pool. According to their plan, when Michele corpse floats to the surface students, other teachers and police will believe that he was drown by accident. The plan goes well as it was scheduled, until, until …..
The body fails to appear on the water surface of the swimming pool, Christine and Nicole decide to drain water from the pool but there is no corpse.
Christine is ready to collapse. Nicole reads on the newspaper that police has found a corpse. Christina goes to the morgue, looking to recognize the body of her husband, but the body is not Michel. During her visit at morgue Christina meets Alfred Fichet a retired private detective and he gets involved in the case.
Christina and Alfred Fichet return to school while a student is punished for breaking a window, Christina asks the student who has decided the punishment and the boy answerers that Michel (her dead husband) punished him. After this incident Christina becomes very ill and she collapses, she is unable to be photographed of the school photo. But in the school photo in the background at the buildings window is a shadow and it seems that is Michele. Nicole becomes nervous and decides to leave from school.
Christina decides to tell the truth to Alfred Fichet but the retired detective does not believe her and he investigates the building and the swimming pool of the school. At the same time Christina hears strange sounds in the building and decides to search for the source of the strange sounds. According to her someone is in the school and she runs back to her room, but she finds Michel’s corpse in the bathtub and Michel rises from the tub, Christina can not stand the view of her husband rising from the “dead” (from the bathtub) and has a heart attack and dies.
The plan was to set up Christina and Michel with Nicole had organized it to trap Christina, they have succeeded. Michael is not dead but he was acting the dead to scare Christina to death in an effort to kill her by causing heart attack because it was known that Christina was suffering from serious heart condition. Nicole and Michel are ready to escape but unfortunately for them Alfred (retired detective) is there to arrest them.
Great story, but the writers have another twist at the final scene. The boy who was punished by Michel, because he had broken a window, he has his slingshot back, two older teachers asked him who gave to him the slingshot. The boy answers “Christina Delassale”.
FIN
There is also another innovation by filmmakers, at the final screen they ask from audience not to reveal the ending to others.   

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