Le Corbeau (1943) torrent download

Le Corbeau

1943

Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

7.9

Synopsis

A vicious series of poison-pen letters spreads rumours, suspicion and fear among the inhabitants of a small French town, and one after another, they turn on each other as their hidden secrets are unveiled - but the one secret that no-one can uncover is the identity of the letters' author...

Director

Henri-Georges Clouzot

Cast

Pierre Fresnay
as Le docteur Rémy Germain
Ginette Leclerc
as Denise Saillens
Micheline Francey
as Laura Vorzet
Héléna Manson
as Marie Corbin, l'infirmière
Jeanne Fusier-Gir
as La mercière
Sylvie
as La mère du cancéreux
Pierre Bertin
as le sous-préfet

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bmacv 8 /10

Secrets of a Gallic Peyton Place unearthed in Clouzot's misanthropic thriller

Even the children in Henri-Georges Clouzot's Le Corbeau (The Raven) are sneaky and malicious. No doubt they reflect their upbringing in the stifling French village of St. Robin, where a series of poison-pen letters – signed The Raven – has galvanized the populace into a spree of spying, whispering and finger-pointing. Most of the letters accuse an aloof doctor (Pierre Fresnay) of occupying illicit beds and of performing illegal operations – relieving women of burdens they're unwilling to bear.

The accusations aren't entirely fanciful – Fresnay has cheerless affairs going with the young wife (Micheline Francey) of a sententious, much older doctor (Pierre Larquey) and with the town pump (Ginette Leclerc), a smoldering seductress who's both lame and a hypochondriac. But the evil epistles disgorge more than enough malice to go around, alluding to dirty little secrets that touch just about everybody in this Gallic Peyton Place.

When one of the letters causes the suicide of a young man dying of liver cancer, another slips out of a wreath on his casket during his funeral procession, and yet another flutters from the rafters of the church during the requiem mass. The search for the anonymous writer reaches the point of hysteria – what else does the unseen assassin know, and who will be the next victim? Alone among the townsfolk, the mother (Sylvie) of the suicide seems resigned and resolute....

Clouzot has been called the French Hitchcock, but when Le Corbeau hit the screens in 1943 – released by a German production company during the Nazi occupation of France – he wasn't welcomed as warmly as the mischievous but harmless cherub across the Atlantic. its mordantly unflattering portrait of the French bourgeoisie was shunned as little short of treasonous. To be sure, Le Corbeau, like most of Clouzot's work (Diabolique, The Wages of Fear) seems to take Shakespeare's misanthropic Timon of Athens as inspiration for its outlook on humanity; it's certainly no tourist brochure for the French provinces.

When Otto Preminger remade the movie in 1951 as The 13th Letter (setting it in the Province of Québec, and starring Michael Rennie, Linda Darnell, Charles Boyer and Constance Smith), he had to pull back from the nastier material – the routine, glum adultery, the rumors of abortions – and apply rosier tints to the characters. None of that sentimental nonsense for Clouzot, who unrepentantly hewed to his malevolent vision right to the bitter end.

Reviewed by Lechuguilla N/A

Dark And Subversive

Someone unknown sends a series of slanderous letters to various people in a small French town, the motive apparently being to drive a local medical doctor out. The letters are signed: "The Raven".

On the face of it, the story is a kind of whodunit. Who is the Raven, and what motivates him or her? That's the mystery. There's no shortage of suspects, including the very doctor who supposedly is being hounded.

But the film, released during the dregs of the Nazi regime in Germany, contains relevant political subtext and themes, not the least of which is the idea that someone, anyone, can be an informer. Knowing a town's dirty little secrets, the rumors, people's weaknesses and vices can be deadly in the hands of someone with a penchant for writing, and a desire to tell all. What the raven writes is to some extent true. And the truth turns the townsfolk against each other.

The raven, as an anonymous entity, functions as a whistle blower, a snitch, a spy, a secret agent, a kind of Deep Throat. Thematically, the film is dark and subversive.

The film's B&W lighting is noirish and effective. I especially liked the sequence where a naked light bulb hanging down from the ceiling gets swung back and forth, like a pendulum, as two characters converse about moral pendulums of right and wrong, sanity and insanity, light and darkness. Where does one begin and the other end, asks a character.

Although "The Raven" gets off to a slow start, the plot and the thematic import do pick up. Two-thirds in, the film curves deep, both as a whodunit and in its cinematic statement on the issues germane to whistle blowing and informing.

Reviewed by hitchcockthelegend 9 /10

The ink which makes blood flow.

Le Corbeau is directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot and co-written by Clouzot and Henri Chavance. It stars Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Pierre Larquey and Micheline Francey. Music is by Tony Aubin and cinematography by Nicolas Hayer.

We are in a small French town, the actual name of which is not known and is inconsequential. A series of poison pen letters are being sent out to the town dignitaries, accusing them of all sorts of inappropriate operations. The letters are signed by someone calling themselves Le Corbeau (The Raven), and pretty soon the town starts to implode as suspicion and mistrust runs wild.

Famously it was the film that saw Clouzot banned from making films, the then young director receiving flak from all quarters of the Vichy Government - Catholic Church - Left Wingers and others too! The asides to the Nazi occupation of France at the time not being acknowledged until some years later. That very theme obviously holds considerable weight, but it's not the be all and end all of Clouzot's magnificent movie.

Clouzot and Chavance tap into the troubling fallibility of the human race, portraying a town quickly submerged in moral decay. There is caustic observations on the higher echelons of society, a clinical deconstruction of a town quick to cast aspersions without thinking of consequences, while the script boasts frank intelligence and no fear of censorship. That a town so ripe in respected denizens could become so diseased, so quickly, makes for powerful viewing. All are guilty as well, nobody escapes, even the youngsters are liars or cheats, thieves or rumour spreaders, this be a Hades town where negativity runs rife and leads to broken bodies, broken souls and broken human spirits.

Very much a bastion of proto-noir cinema, it's photographed with an awareness to marry up to the acerbic thematic at work. Shadows feature prominently, even in daylight, canted angles are used to great effect, broken mirrors perfectly imbuing the fractures of the human psyche. A number of scenes are startlingly memorable, a funeral procession and a church service interrupted by one of The Raven's letters are superbly staged, the pursuit of a nurse through the cobbled streets is menacing, and the finale is hauntingly raw. Top performances across the board from the cast brings further rewards, whilst simultaneously adding more plaudits to Clouzot's direction. All in all, a remarkable, fascinating and potent piece of cinema. 9/10

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