So often on the 1001 list, I have found myself in a losing streak when it comes to French films. On a previous streak, director Henri-Georges Clouzot was there to life my spirits with the excellent The Wages of Fear. Thanks to Last Year At Marienbad there has been no such streak, but instead we came to this film in search of a creepy late night experience.
Now whilst this is billed as a horror, it’s more an unsettling kind of film than out and out scares. The basic premise sees a man being killed by his wife and mistress working together, only to have his body go missing. What unfolds is unsettling stuff made of unlikely coincidences and strange sightings. Les Diaboliques ends with a card asking for, much like Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, to not share too much of what went on in the film – so I will respect those wishes some 65 years later.
Les Diaboliques has all the hallmarks of a great Hitchcock film – no wonder considering he lost out on a chance to make a film from the original book. There is real tension in here, spearheaded by great performances by Véra Clouzot and Simone Signoret, as well as so many things to keep you guessing as to what is happening to them and what happened to the body of the man they drugged and drowned.
It’s ridiculous that I am so far into the list and I still such great films to watch. Sure there are going to be some clunkers along the way, but it’s going to be a treat to discover what other classics still await me.