Nicole and Christina are both involved with the same sadistic
penny-pinching misogynist Michel. Christina is his wife and
owner of the boy's boarding school where they all work, whilst
Nicole is his mistress, who he openly flaunts in front of
his wife. When the women have had enough of his behaviour
they hatch a plot to lure him into the countryside, drown
him and make it look like an accident. However, when the body
disappears and the suit he died in is returned from the cleaners,
it is certain that something has gone wrong...
Diaboliques (1955) is a magnificent gem of a film, and
as a thriller is on par with anything that Hitchcock was producing
at the time. Directed by Henri-Georges Clozot, and shot in
black and white, Les Diabloiques was quite shocking
for the time and still holds up well today.
difficult to talk about the plot of the film without giving
away the twist at the end. In fact when the film was first
released Clozot begged reviewers not to give away the ending,
so who am I to go against the director's wishes. Of course,
this is a moot point if you have seen the Sharon Stone remake.
well as the plot holding up so do the various performances
by the cast. Paul Meurisse, as Michel, positively drips vile
invective when talking to either his wife or mistress. Right
from the opening shot, showing him callously running over
a child's boat in a puddle, the audience takes a distinct
dislike to him. His further actions only go to move your sympathies
towards the two would-be murderesses. Simone Signoret fills
the screen with a pervasive sexuality, though we are aware
that her character, Nicole, acts in a manner that would suggest
that she has possible lesbian designs on Christina. Like most
of the film, this concern is just misdirection. In fact the
best advice when watching the film is to play close attention
to what is happening because little of it is what it appears
to be. Christina is played as a waifish ruin of a woman by
Clozot's own wife Vera.
print is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ration, with
a mono audio track. Given its age the print is surprisingly
clean and, though it does not mention it, I would hazard a
guess that this is the restored print which was originally
distributed in the States.
disc comes with an extra in the form of a full length commentary
by Professor Susan Hayward. Although, there is little doubt
that her insights into the film are well worth listening too,
they are delivered in a very academic manner, which is a little
dry for my taste.
a nice little gem from way back when, with a twist in the