Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot. Starring: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse & Charles Vanel. 1955
Based on the novel She Who Was No More by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, also writers of the source novel for Hitchcock's classic Vertigo (1958), Les Diaboliques must have felt very sophisticated content-wise in 1955, especially given the nature of the central relationships at its core. In Les Diaboliques, two women, one the owner of a private boys school who is married to an abusive spouse, the other a teacher who carries on a very public affair with him, conspire to murder the abuser. Once they do, only a third of the way into the film, the real plot begins. Contemporary audiences may see the ending coming, but the way the story is told is compelling, suspenseful, and set the blueprint for many horror and suspense films to follow in its wake. Clouzot, a master of suspense in his own right, had already proven himself with Le Corbeau (1943) and the essential Wages of Fear (1954).