Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


LE CORBEAU (The Raven/1943). Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot. 

In a small French town an unknown individual is mailing poison pen letters to many residents, inciting suspicion and paranoia. Suspects include the old nurse Marie Corbin (Helena Mason), the new doctor in town, Germaine (Pierre Fresnay), the elderly Dr. Vorzet (Pierre Larquey), his younger wife, Laura (Micheline Francey), and pretty Denise (Ginette Leclerc), who has a yen for Dr. Germaine. As the town gossips have a field day with all the alleged information vomited from the letters, one man is driven to suicide. This is an intriguing, well-acted movie, with an especially memorable sequence when one of the suspects runs through the narrow streets with an angry crowd in pursuit. This was the basis for a very creditable American remake made eight years letter, Otto Preminger's The 13th Letter, which arguably might have a slight edge on the original, making more out of certain key sequences. In any language, however, the story is fascinating.

Verdict: Absorbing foreign film ***.

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