Sunday, January 9, 2011

1943 - LE CORBEAU, Clouzot's study of gossip in a small town is a masterpiece

A series of poison pen letters begin circulating full of half truths and mostly focusing on a doctor working in a small town show the true nature of the people living there.  This is the time to use the word masterpiece for this film by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

It's almost impossible to find a bad scene or misjudged minute in this attack on conservative small town life and values.   In one of the most gripping scenes in the film, a poison pen letter is passed among the attendees at the funeral of a man who has committed suicide after receiving one of the letters.  It doesn't get much darker than this folks.

Clouzot is a master filmmaker, frequently called the french version of Alfred Hitchcock, he makes Hitchcock look like a director of cheap bubblegum entertainments.

You think that people are all good or all bad. You think that good means light and bad means night? But where does night end and light begin? Where is the borderline? Do you even know which side you belong on?
– Dr Vorzet, Le Corbeau

92 minutes.

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