Le Corbeau

A mysterious writer of poison-pen letters, known only as Le Corbeau (the Raven), plagues a provincial French town, exposing the collective suspicion and rancor seething beneath the community’s calm surface. Made during the Nazi occupation of France, this film by Henri-Georges Clouzot was attacked by the right-wing Vichy regime, the left-wing Resistance press, and the Catholic Church, and was banned after the country’s 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 his directorial reputation after the war. Le Corbeau brilliantly captures the spirit of paranoid pettiness and self-loathing that turns an occupied French town into a twentieth-century Salem.

Film Info

  • France
  • 1943
  • 91 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • French
  • Spine #227

Special Features

  • New 4K restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Interview with filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier
  • Excerpts from The Story of French Cinema by Those Who Made It: Grand Illusions 1939–1942, a 1975 documentary featuring director Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Alan Williams

    New cover by Jic Clubb

Purchase Options

Coming soon, available Sep 20, 2022

Special Features

  • New 4K restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Interview with filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier
  • Excerpts from The Story of French Cinema by Those Who Made It: Grand Illusions 1939–1942, a 1975 documentary featuring director Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by film scholar Alan Williams

    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

Current

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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

Explore

Henri-Georges Clouzot

Director

Henri-Georges Clouzot
Henri-Georges Clouzot

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.