The Clockmaker of St. Paul (L'horloger de Saint-Paul) (1974)




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Movie Info

French film critic Bertrand Tavernier made his directorial debut in The Clockmaker. The title character, played by Tavernier's "alter ego" Philipe Noiret, is benumbed by the nihilistic activities of his son Sylvain Rougerie. Arrested on charges ranging from arson to murder, Rougerie offers the standard-issue explanation: the establishment is full of pigs who deserve to be "offed". Noiret must ask himself if his son's behavior is the result of stifling under the bourgeois lifestyle that Noiret has always championed. The Clockmaker is based on the Georges Simenon story L'Horlonger de Saint-Paul, which was also the French title of this film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Joseph Green Pictures Inc.


Philippe Noiret
as Descombes
Jean Rochefort
as Commissioner Guiboud
Jacques Denis
as Antoine
Yves Alfonso
as Inspector Bricard
Monique Chaumette
as Mrs. Torrini
Albert Husson
as Lucien
Paul Mercey
as Mr. Torrini
Cecile Vassort
as Martine
Clotilde Joano
as Janine Boitard
Andree Tainsy
as Madeleine
Christine Pascal
as Lilliane
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Clockmaker of St. Paul (L'horloger de Saint-Paul)

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

Post-'68 France as 'a curious country' of befuddled fathers and obscured revolutionaries

Full Review… | June 15, 2010

Strong, serious crime thriller that asks questions

July 27, 2005
Film Journal International

Philippe Noiret is marvelous in this role...

Full Review… | September 4, 2001
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Quote not available.

July 7, 2005

Quote not available.

January 13, 2005
Cinema Signals

Quote not available.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Clockmaker of St. Paul (L'horloger de Saint-Paul)

I came upon this film from a Siskel & Ebert special in which they reviewed overlooked movies from the 1970s, and while I found the performances to be strong, the story seemed more like a real-life event instead of something cinematic. For instance, the titular clockmaker does not attempt to talk to his son after he has killed a man, instead preferring to let the police arrest him before approaching his son. In a film, he would have rushed to his son in a heartbeat because that is what a movie requires of its characters. Instead, we have a very ponderous film that has the clockmaker glumly walking through the streets while occasionally talking with the police chief or someone tenuously connected to his son. You might enjoy the film more than I did, but then again that's the great thing about art, its subjectivity.

Luke W
Luke W

[font=Century Gothic]In "The Clockmaker", Michel Descombes(Philippe Noiret) is a widowed clockmaker living in Lyons. One morning he is informed by Inspector Guilboud(Jean Rochefort) that his grown son, Bernard, is suspected along with a woman named Liliane of killing a factory owner, Razon, the previous night. They are now the subjects of an intense manhunt. Meanwhile, Descombes has little idea as to why his son would commit this act and can only hope that his son is not killed by the police. At the behest of a journalist, he broadcasts a radio appeal to his son to turn himself in.[/font] [font=Century Gothic]"The Clockmaker" is a straightforward and simple story, told mostly from the father's point of view, thus highlighting the difference in generations. The movie is about the effect of crime on family members and other people on the periphery. It also serves as an early critique of media manipulation. All of which is held together by a quietly powerful performance by Philippe Noiret.[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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