“Diabolique” Gets An Impressive Criterion Release

Released on June 7, 2017, the Criterion Collection adds Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Hitchcock-like Diabolique to its impressive Blu-ray catalogue featuring an array of impressive extras including a new video interview with novelist and film critic Kim Newman.

Variously titled Les Diaboliques, Diabolique, The Devils and The Fiends in different places around the world since its release in 1955, the Criterion Collection adds Henri-Georges Clouzot’s unsettling psychological thriller to its catalogue.

Starring Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot and Paul Meurisse, the film, which is based on Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac’s novel She Who Was No More, blends horror and psychological terror through its unnerving plot of a woman and her husband’s mistress who plot to kill the man. However, once the crime is committed, strange occurrences begin to happen, not least the disappearance of the body.

The film was a huge commercial success in France and has gone on to become one of the most revered French genre films ever made. One of its infamous scenes has been celebrated as a defining moment in horror cinema and one of the scariest. Indeed, Diabolique should be championed for a number of reasons, not least heralding the horror-thriller in the form we see today. Its twist ending was also as unique as it was shocking. The film also sports terrific characterisation with each of three protagonists representing very different strands of the human conditions. It makes for a fascinating example of psychological thrills.

A typically exemplary presentation from Criterion, its Diabolique Blu-ray features excellent picture and sound with clear, dynamic audio. Its additional features include an excellent selected-scene audio commentary by French film scholar Kelley Conway. There’s also a nostalgic, newly recorded video introduction from Serge Bromberg, co-director of Henri Georges Clouzot’s Inferno, as well as a new video interview with fan and film critic Kim Newman. An essay from critic Terrence Rafferty and the original trailer are also included.

The Criterion Collection Blu-ray of Diabolique was released June 7, 2017.

About the Author
Rory Fish has loved movies since he can remember. If he was to put together an "all time" top 10 of absolute favourites it would have to include North By Northwest, 12 Angry Men and Sunset Boulevard.

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