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Les Enfants terribles (The Strange Ones)

Les Enfants terribles (The Strange Ones) (1950)


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Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0



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Movie Info

Adapted by Jean Cocteau from his own novel and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, Les Enfants Terribles is set in motion when a sensitive youth, Paul (Edouard Dermit), is injured by a snowball flung by school bully Dargelos (Renée Cosima, an actress in male drag). The bully later reappears in the form of a young girl, Agathe (played again by Cosima), with whom Paul becomes infatuated. This arouses the displeasure of Paul's sister, Elisabeth (Nicole Stephane), who also harbors a carnal desire for

Jul 24, 2007

Arthur Mayer Edward Kingsley I

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All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (2) | DVD (4)

Jean Cocteau has written the pic and delivers the commentary, which creates a gripping, dream-like attraction.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfortunately, the film's more poetic visual tendencies are frequently undermined by the unnecessary narration written and performed by Cocteau himself, which informs us of emotions and psychological states that are mostly evident on-screen.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

One must admire the talents of Melville and Cocteau while watching the film, but the strongest emotions are arch and the biggest plot turns are silly.

March 3, 2008

The tension is between heightened whimsy and its vérité settings, or, more specifically, between Jean Cocteau's writing (an adaptation of his 1929 novel) and Jean-Pierre Melville's direction.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: CinePassion

The film also unmistakably bears Cocteau's stamp, and he even directed one scene (at the beach) when Melville fell ill.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A fascinating collaboration between two of French cinema's great talents which, in its strange atmosphere, poetic dialogue and creepy tone, has lost none of its ability to shock or compel.

March 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

French cinema legends Jean-Pierre Melville and Jean Cocteau collaborated to cast a hypnotic spell.

August 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Les Enfants Terribles is very much a fantasy, an accumulation of suggestive, slightly obscure visual details, offset somewhat by Cocteau's too-literary, over-explicit narration.

July 18, 2007 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Les Enfants terribles (The Strange Ones)

I'm lost...
May 28, 2011

Super Reviewer

I'm a big fan of Jean Cocteau's work and I have read the novel on which this is based and I just can't understand why Cocteau didn't direct it himself!? He was just getting over his opium addiction at the time but I can't help but think that might have helped. Considering both he and Melville clashed on so many aspects of this film it hasn't turned out too bad but the contrasts of the two is obvious. For starters, I think the casting of Edouard Dermithe was wrong, as did Melville, but it's obvious that he was Cocteau's object of desire. Renée Cosima dual role was confusing and added nothing to the story but at least Nicole Stéphane did a fine job. Unfortunately both Cocteau and Melville have been on better form, it lacked Cocteau's usual flare and Melville's often brash but poetic intensity but it did follow the story perfectly when it mattered.
April 18, 2011

Super Reviewer

far from being one of melvilles better films, the film suffers from intolerable characters and a dull and pointless story through 3/4 of the film. thankfully melville did a lot with a little, redeeming the otherwise dull story with an interesting and tragic final act. the technical points also save the film with great direction, interesting camera angles, and great lighting choices, especially in the gallery scenes. overall somewhat disappointing but still very worthwhile, especially for melville fans.
March 30, 2009
danny d

Super Reviewer

"Les Enfants Terribles" starts with boys with being boys, but maybe too much as Paul(Edouard Dermithe) is injured by an errant throw in a snowball fight lobbed by Dargelos(Renee Cosima). While Dargelos is expelled, it is not for that but for a run-in with the headmaster(Jean-Marie Robain). As far as Paul goes, the family doctor(Maurice Revel) says he will be okay with some rest, which leaves his sister Elisabeth(Nicole Stephane) to take care of him along with their invalid mother(Maria Cyliakus). When she dies, their friend Gerard(Jacques Bernard) takes them on a holiday to the sea.

"Les Enfants Terribles" is a darkly entertaining tale of family tragedy and how family while comforting can also be the worst of traps at times. So while the movie has one eye on the past, it also has another one on the future, as these young people have already had more than their share of experience with death. That not only the involves the complicated feelings the characters have for each other that they have a hard time expressing despite all the words but also the movie's anticipating the French New Wave in its character structure and linking narration.
December 11, 2013
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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