Le Corbeau Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 17, 2014
An absorbing thriller that surprises us not only for the way its mystery becomes more and more gripping but also for its pessimistic view of mankind and of the rottenness hidden inside of us - and it came out in a perfect time for that sort of discussion during the German occupation of France.
Super Reviewer
½ December 23, 2010
I thought it was boring..
Super Reviewer
½ December 20, 2010
This was quite a spooky flick. The mystery keeps you guessing even after the movie is over, if you know what I mean. Nevertheless, it's quite entertaining. A little bit of editing would have made it even better.
sanjurosamurai
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2010
one of the most controversial films of all time, clouzot could have lost his career for some of this films undertones were it not for support from philosophers and other film makers with some influence. the film is marvelous, tangling a very interesting web of sub plots and philosophies into a thriller that delivers incredible suspense despite the fact the chaos was delivered more through menacing words than acts of violence. i thought i had the culprit, infamously dubbed "the raven", pegged early on, but clouzot through me a few solid curve balls in the end to leave me doubting until the reveal, which i got wrong. a great thriller and a must see from early french cinema.
rubystevens
Super Reviewer
½ April 22, 2008
superior french thriller made during the nazi occupation. a small town becomes infected by vicious gossip via 'poison pen' letters casting suspicion on everyone; a thinly veiled critique of gestapo tactics that encouraged informers altho it's based on events that happened in the 20's. banned in france and germany during the war and still powerful.
Super Reviewer
½ April 25, 2011
Perhaps most interesting for being produced during the Nazi occupation of France, Henri-Georges Clouzot's "Le Corbeau" ("The Raven") is chock full of topical secrecy, conspiracy and paranoia. Its themes were controversial enough that Clouzot wasn't able to direct another film until almost four years later.

Some wicked person begins sending anonymous, poison-pen letters around a small French town. They are inked in a distinctive style and signed "Le Corbeau." The notes' main target is Dr. Rémy Germain, whose vulnerable spots are his dalliances with women and a willingness to give abortions (a daring ingredient for a 1943 film). At least initially, the slanderous accusations greatly damage his stature in the community. The town becomes more and more agitated as the taunts continue to arrive in mailboxes, and the uproar reaches a frenzy after one note causes a suicide.

The tricky script sets up multiple plausible suspects and remains suspenseful, but scene after scene of misplaced suspicions and aghast letter readings threatens to turn repetitive. And the final act is gimmicky to the point of stretching credibility -- suddenly, the reality of this world fades and we're only watching someone's flashy screenplay.

Clouzot's direction fails to excite beyond one scene lit by a swinging light bulb -- this is workmanlike storytelling. And unfortunately, the idea of "poison-pen letters" seems a bit dated in this age of email and blogs. Fans hoping for the thrills of "Diabolique" and "The Wages of Fear" may be disappointed.
Super Reviewer
½ January 28, 2012
A little dated now, but a nice early piece by master Clouzot.
½ March 19, 2014
Another superb suspense film by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Based on real events in which a French provincial town was practically terrorized by a writer of poison pen letters, Clouzot made this into a thriller of an unusual sort and a powerful commentary on the wide spread practice of informing during the German WWII occupation of France. Le Corbeau was a box office hit, praised by critics, but condemned by French conservatives, French communists, the Gestapo, and even the BBC, all of whom found something in Clouzot's vision to offend them. A fine film that every movie lover should watch.
½ August 25, 2008
in a small town in France, a series of letters are sent out written by a person only know as "the raven". contained therein are hidden secrets that turn the townspeople against one another. a representation of the Nazi regime's control over France at the time. excellent film by clouzot, a master of suspense.
½ May 15, 2007
Another masterpiece from Clouzaut. Stumbles slightly in the end with a somewhat unsatisfying reveal of the culprit, but the razorsharp precision of everithing else more than makes up for any other problems.
½ May 7, 2013
Extremely bitter tale (though laced with black humor) of a poison-pen writer who sows enmity among the residents of a provincial French town, beginning with a new doctor who is accused of being an abortionist. Henri-Georges Clouzot treats the search for the culprit like a detective story and we are never certain who is telling the truth and who is not -- even the protagonist, with whom we might feel some identification, seems to be hiding something and is portrayed as a cold and rather unfeeling character. Indeed, I did not ferret out the actual criminal (although one of many plausible possibilities) and had to be told at the end (a very apt ending). Clouzot made this for a German company during the French occupation and was subsequently banned from working for two years after the war ended (he went on to make the equally bleak Wages of Fear and Les Diaboliques). Nevertheless, the film can be read as a bitter take on the paranoia and suspicion fostered by the occupation, during which neighbors spied on neighbors and informed on each other to the gestapo. One character here even declares "I'm not an informer!". Hard to know whether this was understood (and accepted as reality) by the German censors or whether it slipped by. The French later decided that it didn't make them look too good -- but indeed Clouzot is indicting all of humanity here. Wonderfully shot in high contrast B & W and highly recommended.
May 27, 2012
Give my regards to the Eternal Father.
½ June 17, 2012
Noir immortale di Clouzot, girato durante il dominio nazista in Francia, ancora oggi invalicabile nelle eccezionali tecniche di regia, ma anche un aspro ritratto di una società di quel tempo falsamente perbenista, corrotta, crudele e viziata. L'ambiguità tra il bene ed il male viene orchestrata con un gioco di luci ed ombre avvenente ed agghiacciante, in primis nella parte in cui il machiavellico raffronto tra i due concetti sarà spiegato dal dottor Verzet in una delle più inquietanti scene chiave (il pauroso dialogo con il lampadario in movimento, poi imitato in altri film d'indirizzo horror/thriller). La parvenza dalle connotazioni del classico giallo, viene sostenuta da una sceneggiatura dai contrassegni volutamente cinici e paranoici, caratteristiche in grado di rispecchiare egregiamente il turbolento animo francese pochi anni prima che ebbe luogo la Liberazione di Parigi in seguito alla battaglia contro le armate naziste. Un altro degli aspetti più scioccanti è che durante l'estensione della trama, che gira attorno alle lettere anonime di un calunniatore che si firma, ovviamente, con l'appellativo "Le Corbeau", il regista non risparmia proprio nessuno, tanto che il sospetto dell'identità del possibibile diffamatore cadrà sull'intera collettività, fino ad arrivare ad un epilogo in cui la scoperta di questo losco individuo che ricatta la gente lascerà molti dubbi su chi sia veramente (okay, diciamo che lo spettatore si farà una vaga idea, ma rimarrà comunque un margine di incertezza). Un vero capolavoro del vecchio cinema europeo.
April 28, 2012
One of the great murder mysteries from the master of suspense.
½ May 25, 2011
A nasty, bitter, and brilliant French thriller. Henri-Georges Clouzot inspired much of what Hitchcock would go on to do, but certainly went a few steps further in making the audience feel more uncomfortable being human. Paranoia and hypocrisy is the order of the day in this twisty and twisted tale.
June 7, 2010
Somewhere in an unspecified small town a series of poisen pen letters are distributed to the town folk. The malicous letters are signed by Le Corbeau (the Raven). Half truths and lies are spreading fear and suspicion. The letters have such a strong impact on the locals that they lead to riots, vandalism, suicides, murder and other such diabolical acts. The main target is Dr Vortez (Piere Larquey) a new arrival who is accused of being a back street abortionist. His affairs are at the centre of the gossip.

Shot in 1943 when France was under German occupation, this dark mystery thriller was critised from both the political right wing and left. The Catholic Church denounced it's morbid subject matter and The Communists objected to what they percieved as a Nazi propaganda piece portaying the French in a less than flattering light. Because Henri- George Clouzet, the director made the film under a German owned studio he was banned from making films for two years after France's liberation. He eventually got to make another film and Le Corbeau was rereleased, this time to a better reception. Clouzot would go on to have a successful career directing classic thrillers such as Les Diaboliques (1955) and Wages Of Fear (1954), even gaining the nickname as a French Hitchcock.

I find that many French films have a matter of fact detachment from the audience as opposed to British and American films which are often more involving. But there is a romantic undertone and beauty and Le Corbeau, underneath it's morbid subject matter is no exception. What I love about French cinema is it's mixture of tragedy and romance, it's realism and fantasy. Contradictions that gave us Poetic Realism, a precursor to Film Noir which came about several years before the release of Le Corbeau. The unravelling of the mystery is the main focus of the plot but the ineffectual male authorities are shown to be weak. Perhaps this is a critique of the French government before and after the Fall of France. Unlike many other Film Noirs Le Corbeau is shot mainly during the day in stark contast to it's murky plot and this helps add atmosphere and tension as the otherwise normal town is seemingly on the verge of a breakdown.

Overall this is a well acted, gripping thriller with many red herrings. Recommended.
sun
½ December 30, 2009
There's nothing overly special about this movie.
April 21, 2006
Some ratings. I'm going off to watch a movie now and will add reviews for a couple of these movies later.

Oh yes, and I rented some movies:

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[i]Jackie Brown
Manhatten
Gallipoli
Days of Heaven
Andrei Rublev[/i]
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