Le Corbeau

A mysterious writer of poison-pen letters, known only as Le Corbeau (the Raven), plagues a French provincial town, unwittingly exposing the collective suspicion and rancor seething beneath the community’s calm surface. Made during the Nazi Occupation of France, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Corbeau was attacked by the right-wing Vichy regime, the left-wing Resistance press, the Catholic Church, and was banned after the Liberation. But some—including Jean Cocteau and Jean-Paul Sartre—recognized the powerful subtext to Clouzot’s anti-informant, anti-Gestapo fable, and worked to rehabilitate Clouzot’s directorial reputation after the war. Le Corbeau brilliantly captures a spirit of paranoid pettiness and self-loathing turning an occupied French town into a twentieth-century Salem.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Video interview with Bertrand Tavernier, director of Coup de torchon
  • Excerpts from The Story of French Cinema by Those Who Made It: Grand Illusions 1939 – 1942, a 1975 documentary featuring Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • New essay by film scholar Alan Williams, author of Republic of Images: A History of French Filmmaking
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

New cover by Jic Clubb

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New digital transfer, with restored image and sound
  • Video interview with Bertrand Tavernier, director of Coup de torchon
  • Excerpts from The Story of French Cinema by Those Who Made It: Grand Illusions 1939 – 1942, a 1975 documentary featuring Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • New essay by film scholar Alan Williams, author of Republic of Images: A History of French Filmmaking
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

New cover by Jic Clubb

Le Corbeau
Cast
Pierre Fresnay
Dr. Remy Germain
Ginette Leclerc
Denise Saillens
Micheline Francey
Laura Vorzet
Pierre Larquey
Dr. Michel Vorzet
Héléna Manson
Nurse Marie Corbin
Liliane Maigné
Rolande Saillens
Noël Roquevert
School Director Saillens
Sylvie
Mother
Credits
Director
Henri-Georges Clouzot
Director of photography
Nicolas Hayer
Production design
André Andrejew
Screenplay
Louis Chavance
Adaptation and dialogue by
Henri-Georges Clouzot
Adaptation and dialogue by
Louis Chavance
Music
Tony Aubin

From The Current

Toronto Dispatch: Clouzot Lost and Found
Toronto Dispatch: Clouzot Lost and Found

One enters any major film festival with hopes of discovering a budding auteur, a new voice from some previously unheard-from part of the world—a Julián Hernández or Corneliu Porumboiu or Bong Joon-ho. At this year’s Toronto International Film F…

By Michael Koresky

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Le Corbeau

For most of its history, French cinema has undergone periodic upheavals characterized by massive changes in many areas—personnel, economics, typical film style and content, and so on. The German occupation resulted in perhaps the most striking of t…

By Alan Williams


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Henri-Georges Clouzot

Director

One of the few contemporaries of Hitchcock who gave the Master of Suspense a run for his money, Henri-Georges Clouzot dealt in misanthropic, black-humored tales of greed, jealousy, murder, immorality, and revenge. Though perhaps best known for 1955’s Gothic noir Diabolique, one of the most influential thrillers of all time and a film that Hitchcock himself admired (and wished to outdo), Clouzot first made his mark in French cinema in the 1940s. His politically charged, 1943 Le corbeau was a highly controversial story of a poison-pen letter that uncovers the dirty secrets of an entire town; viewed in retrospect, it’s Clouzot’s first important statement on the corruption of community. Subsequent Clouzot films would be built on the same theme in different milieus: the entertainment underworld of Quai des Orfèvres, the mercenary imperialism of the white-knuckle adventure The Wages of Fear. Once widely misunderstood—the director was charged with Nazi sympathies for Le corbeau and was derided by the French New Wave—the work of Henri-Georges Clouzot today looks far ahead of its time.