8.1/10
42,247
150 user 111 critic

Diabolique (1955)

Les diaboliques (original title)
Unrated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 21 November 1955 (USA)
The wife of a cruel headmaster and his mistress conspire to kill him, but after the murder is committed, his body disappears, and strange events begin to plague the two women.

Director:

(as H.G. Clouzot)

Writers:

(novel) (as Boileau), (novel) (as Narcejac) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Top Rated Movies #211 | 4 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In a decrepit South American village, men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Stars: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government.

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
Stars: Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi
The 400 Blows (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy
Touch of Evil (1958)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh
Persona (1966)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A nurse is put in charge of an actress who can't talk and finds that the actress's persona is melding with hers.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A distant poor relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.

Director: Robert Hamer
Stars: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson
Sunrise (1927)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two young Swedish children experience the many comedies and tragedies of their family, the Ekdahls.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Bertil Guve, Pernilla Allwin, Kristina Adolphson
Ikiru (1952)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A waifish prostitute wanders the streets of Rome looking for true love but finds only heartbreak.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Giulietta Masina, François Périer, Franca Marzi
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Christina Delassalle (as Vera Clouzot)
Paul Meurisse ...
...
Alfred Fichet, le commissaire
...
Plantiveau, le concierge
Thérèse Dorny ...
Mme. Herboux
...
M. Raymond, le surveillant
Georges Chamarat ...
Dr. Loisy
Robert Dalban ...
Le garagiste
Camille Guérini ...
Le photographe (as Camille Guerini)
Jacques Hilling ...
L'employé de la morgue
...
Le soldat
Aminda Montserrat ...
Madame Plantiveau
Jean Témerson ...
Le garçon d'hôtel (as Jean Temerson)
Jacques Varennes ...
M. Bridoux, professeur
Edit

Storyline

The wife and mistress of a sadistic boarding school headmaster plot to kill him. They drown him in the bathtub and dump the body in the school's filthy swimming pool... but when the pool is drained, the body has disappeared - and subsequent reported sightings of the headmaster slowly drive his 'killers' (and the audience) up the wall with almost unbearable suspense... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

See it, be amazed at it, but... BE QUIET ABOUT IT! (original Finnish poster tagline) See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 November 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Diabolique  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(A.R.T.E.C.)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Henri-Georges Clouzot was convinced that Simone Signoret was playing the character incorrectly because she, the actress, knew the ending of the movie and, thus, was giving away too much to the audience with her characterization. One day on the set, Clouzot said angrily, "I should have never let you read the end of the script!" See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Plantiveau, le concierge: Headmaster!
Michel Delassalle: Yes.
Plantiveau, le concierge: Isn't it time I rang the bell?
Michel Delassalle: It's okay. I'll unload the car myself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The movie ends with a text screen commenting on what the viewer has witnessed, and a request not to spoil the ending for those who are planning to see the movie. See more »

Connections

Referenced in House on Haunted Hill (1959) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Mystery Extraordinaire
26 August 2007 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Set in a French boarding school for boys, "Les Diaboliques" tells the story of two teachers, Christina (played by Vera Clouzot), and Nicole (played by Simone Signoret), who conspire to kill the sadistic headmaster, a man who also happens to be Christina's abusive husband.

Like most murder mysteries, the story is highly improbable; nevertheless, the film is still hugely entertaining, thanks in part to plot twists and turns that even Agatha Christie would admire, and to the film's B&W lighting, that renders a noirish, sinister atmosphere.

The first half is interesting and tightly plotted. But the real strength of the film's underlying premise begins at the mid-point plot turn. The second half is riveting, because the tight plot begins to ooze with mystery and suspense. It builds to a final ten minutes that are as frightening as almost any ending in film history; dark interiors, shadows, ominous light at the end of a long hallway, a general absence of sound, a gloved hand, a scream, and an unexpected image. It's the very definition of spine-tingling suspense.

There is a clue to help solve the story's mystery in the film's first ten minutes; but like any good mystery, that clue is very subtle. All the film's acting is excellent, even down to the children actors. And, Simone Signoret is as wonderful here as she is in all of her other movies.

English subtitles require a little more work for viewers who cannot understand the French dialogue; yet, the story, the acting, and the cinematography should more than offset this minor irritation. Background music occurs only during the film's title sequence and closing credits; this general absence of music thus enhances suspense.

Although not strictly speaking a whodunit, "Les Diaboliques" is a classic murder mystery that has earned a well-deserved reputation for setting the standard for cinematic suspense. The story is riveting, and the film is technically well made. More recent films have tried to copy it; but this is the original.


28 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Psycho or Les Diaboliques? zaxor99
Not that my mind is in the gutter, but... thirteenpunkemos
What did that one boy find under the diving board? sherm456
The ending explained keser-one
Discuss Diabolique (1955) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?