06/10/2022
Diabolique - Henri Georges Clouzot is a master at scene development

Diabolique (1955) Review – Clouzot is a Master at Scene Development

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The plot interested me first and along with it the unique title of the film Diabolique means the devil. It’s an adaptation of The Woman Who Was No More written by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejack.

Being frustrated with the oppressive life, two women plan to kill a tyrannical man. But they get into trouble when they can’t find his body.

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The first few scenes bear boredom whereas as soon the killing takes place the suspense elevates and it continues till there’s any solution. This is where you stick to the movie as it seems like Clouzot wants us experience the murder.

Henri-Georges Clouzot proves that he is a master at scene development. With progressing every part, it blasts ultimately in the end. Take a scene when Mrs Delasalle and her friend, Nicole throw the body into a pool. The almost silent scene makes a horrible impact on us that we believe is happening in reality.

You may notice the ending part where light and shadow play a big part to create the ultimate frightening scene. Mrs Delasalle’s heart attack truly justifies Mr. Delasalle’s reappearing. That particular scene is so horrible that it gives you a heartache like shock.

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On one hand, it is simply a suspense thriller but on the other, it glances over destroying the taboos of a patriarchal society. This is why Clouzot perhaps uses Delasalle’s friend, Nicole in a masculine approach to show the equal hatred against Michel.

Clouzot balances the justice in the very end. Above all, the finest performance from Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, and Paul Meurisse is one of main attractions in this film.

An interesting fact surprised me about the film. Actually it was supposed to be made by Hitchcock but Clouzot got the rights first. And we see some similarities in its approach to making psychological thrillers. Maybe Diabolique worked as an inspiration for making Psycho.

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After winning several international prominent awards for The Wages of Fear, Clouzot went on to make the fourth highest -grossing film of 1955. It was Les Diaboliques. Among new wave French filmmakers, Clouzot’s life also was adventurous. Working as a translator in films to make independent films, in his initial phase he faced various issues from Nazi government. That inspired him to include political turmoil in his few films. 

When new wave filmmakers were making their footsteps in the film industry, Henri-Georges Clouzot was one of the leading and inspirational filmmakers to them. 


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Rabi Chatterjee

My love for films grew from the initial period of theatre life. Since then, I have become a big film-addicted person. After finishing almost over 4k movies in various languages, I see films as a remedy for the psychological well-being of a person. Watching movies, especially good movies is like experiencing life through someone else. Founder at Filmo Maniac

View all posts by Rabi Chatterjee →

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