#128 Diabolique/Les diaboliques

Watched: August 7 2017

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Starring: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse

Year: 1955

Runtime: 1h 57min

Diabolique2

Source

Christina Delassalle (Clouzot) and Nicole Horner (Signoret) are colleagues at a boarding school for boys somewhere in France, but that’s not all they have in common. They are also involved with the same man – Christina’s tyrannical bastard of a husband Michel (Meurisse).

diabolique1
“It’s always more fun to share with everyone”

Source

Michel does not only mistreat his poorly (but wealthy) wife – he is also abusive to his mistress and the children in the school. Fed up with him, Nicole concocts a murderous plan to rid the two women of their shared lover. Christina is hesitant at first, but after her husband humiliates her and rapes her, she has finally been pushed too far.

diabolique3
Not what most men have in mind when they picture being bathed by two women

Source

They go through with their plan, but the already mentally and physically fragile wife is quickly deteriorating from the stress and the guilt. Then, the body disappears, freaky stuff starts happening and things turn creepy.

diabolique4
Artist’s representation of us watching this film

Source

Diabolique is very, very creepy and suspenseful. Michel is extremely unlikable and we’ve never wanted two people to get away with murder more than in this case. This film kept us guessing to the end (although we had a theory which turned out to be spot on) and there are a lot of exciting twists and turns in the plot.

diabolique5
The look of a woman mentally preparing for murder

Source

We won’t say much more as we do not want to spoil this gem for anyone, but if you haven’t seen it, it should go to the top of your to-watch list. So good.

Diabolique6

Source

What we learned: If you’re going to murder someone, make sure you know how to play it cool.

Next time: It’s Always Fair Weather (1955)

Advertisements

#119 The Wages of Fear/Le salaire de la peur

Watched: July 8 2017

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Starring: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Folco Lulli, Peter van Eyck, Véra Clouzot

Year: 1953

Runtime: 2h 27min

wages of fear

Source

In a small village somewhere in South America, men of various nationalities are looking for work and a ticket out of extreme poverty and to more civilized places. After a horrible accident at a nearby oil field, the American owned “Southern Oil Company” needs to transport huge quantities of nitroglycerin to the field, but have no inclination to spend time and money putting security measures in place.

wages of fear2
“We made a sign. What more could we possibly do?”

Source

Not prepared to sacrifice proper American lives on this suicide mission, the company recruits drivers among the unemployed village vagabonds – desperate men ready to do anything for the $2000 offered as payment.

wages of fear3
“Just, you know, don’t shake the cargo. Or make loud noises. Or crash. Or have a nervous breakdown. Yeah, you’ll be fine.”

Source

The lucky(?) selected drivers (after some light corruption and implied violence) are Mario (Montand) and Señor Jo (Vanel) in one truck, and Luigi (Lulli) and Bimba (van Eyck) in the other. They are informed of what they are transporting as well as warned by another potential driver that even if they survive the impossible task, they will be mentally scarred for life. However, desperate people are willing to do desperate things, and the chosen men go on their way.

wages of fear4
What could possibly go wrong on these well-maintained roads?

Source

The ensuing road trip is one of the tensest we’ve ever seen. Every tiny obstacle, of which there are many, is potentially fatal, and the relationships between the characters grow very strained. It is a good film that can get us to care about characters who are intrinsically unlikable, and Clouzot manages that difficult task.

wages of fear5
Despite their (many) flaws and their treatment of each other and others in their lives (such as Mario’s girl Linda [Clouzot]), we really don’t want them to suffer a fiery death

Source

This is another film which we did not expect to enjoy as much as we did. It is excruciating to watch the four men attempt to get their deadly cargo to their destination, and the tension manages to stay high all the way to the final scene. Despite a slightly slow start, the 147 minutes fly by and leaves you a nervous wreck. We’d really love to see this on the big screen one day, so if the local film club ever does a screening, we’re first in line.

wages of fear6
Not what we had in mind when we saw there would be men covered in oil. The only slight disappointment in this film.

Source

What we learned: Oil companies are ruthless and evil. Also, money is not worth risking everything for.

Next time: Godzilla (1954)