143 Great Directors: Henri-Georges Clouzot

“I directed it with all my heart.”


What Got This Director Here?
: Wages of Fear and Diabolique.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: N/A.

What Did I Watch: Murderer Lives at Number 21 and Le Corbeau.

Where Does He Fit: The Murderer Lives at Number 21 is shot most enthusiastically, like when the final notes of the dramatic credits music is sounded out as someone slams a door for emphasis. Despite the fact that he clearly has an interest in suspense, Clouzot’s focus seems to primarily be on the jokes. A fitting companion to the humor of Hitchcock, but less focused on the gallows aspect, perhaps, thanks to all the suspects getting their moment in the sun in the same vein as A Woman’s Face. A promising start, although it’s all a bit too loud and silly for my tastes.

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Le Corbeau is probably where the “French Hitchcock” comparisons start to come in for Clouzot, but this is a film that seems aggressively contemporary in its woes (not in a bad way), with abortion and blackmail seeming to be on everyone’s minds in the same way that everyone talks about murder in Hitchcock’s works. It’s a social problem film disguised as a thriller, and vice versa. There’s also much more talking, but is that really a bad thing? The dialogue is fun and pulpy, and there’s plenty of fun little visual jokes related to birds and ravens. Clearly, this must have terrified a certain director who I’ve namedropped much too often.

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Most Valuable Asset: Suspense from the day to day.
Most Excited For: Wages of Fear/Diabolique.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: We’ll see after viewing the two big ones.

Coming Up Next: Documentarian Errol Morris.

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