Le Corbeau - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Le Corbeau Reviews

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July 6, 2016
I was surprised by how much I loved this film which was shot in occupied France in 1942. It is a gripping thriller that keeps you guessing the whole way through and I felt got better as it went along. Henri-Georges Clouzot is a master of suspense and his powers are on full display in this film. Highly recommended!
January 4, 2016
A series of wicked letters unveiling a small town's secrets leaves neighbors pitted against neighbors, and the most hated man of all - Dr. Germain - is repeatedly accused of practicing abortion. Access to medical abortions is sadly still a hot button issue, and it's nice to see it treated tastefully so early in cinematic history. In the end, the town nearly tears itself apart, and it's odd for me to like a movie so much when not a single character was beyond reproach. But, hey, that's life, right?

LE CORBEAU was made in Nazi-occupied France when neighbors did accuse neighbors of assisting in the Resistance. Clouzot nearly never made another movie again, but Germany lost. He was able to direct again in a sovereign France, and no more Clouzot movies would have a been a ghastly terror indeed. A world without LES DIABOLIQUES is not one in which I would like to live.
Super Reviewer
November 23, 2015
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 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.
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.
October 14, 2013
R├┬ (C)alis├┬ (C) sous l'Occupation Allemande, le deuxi├┬Ęme film de Clouzot est un suspense tr├┬Ęs r├┬ (C)ussi aux rebondissements multiples et gardera le spectateur au bout de son si├┬Ęge jusqu'au d├┬ (C)nouement bien senti !

Une r├┬ (C)alisation simple mais efficace et une brochette de personnages bien camp├┬ (C)s viennent donner vie ├┬á cette intrigue au dialogues sublimes !

Un Classique du Genre et un coup de g├┬ (C)nie pour Clouzot et le Cin├┬ (C)ma Fran├┬žais du dernier si├┬Ęcle.
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.
September 20, 2012
Give my regards to the Eternal Father.
August 17, 2012
Very good. Gets better and better throughout.
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 societÓ di quel tempo falsamente perbenista, corrotta, crudele e viziata. L'ambiguitÓ 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 sarÓ spiegato dal dottor Verzet in una delle pi¨ 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 pi¨ scioccanti Ŕ 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'identitÓ del possibibile diffamatore cadrÓ sull'intera collettivitÓ, fino ad arrivare ad un epilogo in cui la scoperta di questo losco individuo che ricatta la gente lascerÓ molti dubbi su chi sia veramente (okay, diciamo che lo spettatore si farÓ una vaga idea, ma rimarrÓ 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.
April 2, 2012
Henri-Georges Clouzot's Le Corbeau (The Raven) is a film about the power of words and how the right words at the right time -- despicable though they may be can alter the public perception of just about anyone or anything. If a lie is spoken enough times into an open ear, the space between those auditory receptacles will recognize the information to be true.

Though the film is slow to start, it quickly gains momentum in it's final hour as the suspects begin to pile up. People die and lives are shattered all because of the carefully chosen careless words of another.
April 1, 2012
criticker tci prediction: 94
Super Reviewer
½ January 28, 2012
A little dated now, but a nice early piece by master Clouzot.
January 7, 2012
Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France, director Henri-Georges Clozot made a daring film about a small French town crippled by mysterious poison-pen letters. The Raven is a fascinating mystery that doesn't give any easy answers and also serves as a unique commentary on World War II.
December 26, 2011
The French genre of film noir is present here. Amazing!!
November 25, 2011
humanity is the devil
½ November 21, 2011
Kept me guessing all along. Unlike so many modern films.
Super Reviewer
½ November 12, 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.
November 5, 2011
Chef dÔ(TM)┼"uvre absolu et ind├ (C)modable. V├ (C)ritable mine dÔ(TM)informations sur la vie des Fran├žais dans les ann├ (C)es 1940 (Cf. Rapports sous-pr├ (C)fet / maire / parquet), ce m├ (C)trage, parfaitement ma├ (R)tris├ (C) par Clouzot, est aussi une douloureuse le├žon sur la nature humaine, car lÔ(TM)histoire est inspir├ (C)e de faits vrais, qui se reproduiront dans la r├ (C)alit├ (C) en dÔ(TM)autres circonstances. Enfin, lÔ(TM)interpr├ (C)tation est tout simplement magistrale.
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