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Les Diaboliques (also known as Diabolique) is a French suspense-thriller, made in 1955 and directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. The wife and mistress of a Jerkass school headmaster conspire to kill him, but after they carry it out, his body disappears, and then things just get weirder. The two main ladies were played by Vera Clouzot and Simone Signoret.
Remade as Diabolique in 1996 with Sharon Stone, Isabelle Adjani, Chazz Palminteri, and Kathy Bates.
This movie contains examples of:
- Do Not Spoil This Ending: Translated from French, the final title card after the film reads:
Don't be devils. Don't ruin the interest your friends could take in this film. Don't tell them what you saw. Thank you for them.
- Enforced Method Acting: For the scene where the staff and students are served spoiled fish, Clouzot reportedly forced the actors to consume the genuine article.
- Faking the Dead
- Focus Group Ending: The remake.
- Follow the Leader: Deathtrap, with gay conspirators.
- Fridge Logic: You'd think there'd be easier ways to give someone with a heart condition a heart attack.
- Gender Flip: Kathy Bates as the Fichet-Expy in the 1996 remake.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: Averted. The fatal heart attack at the end is disturbingly realistic.
- Les Yay: Hinted at in the 1955 film, explicit in the 1996 film.
- Mind Screw
- Nothing Is Scarier
- Not Quite Dead: Possibly. The film hints that the wife might have survived her heart attack. Or it was her ghost. Or the kid is a liar.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Fichet, the detective, employs a bit of this. (More than one observer has noted the character's similarity to Columbo.)
- Reverse Whodunnit
- Spooky Photographs
- Twist Ending
- What Could Have Been: The original film was adapted from the novel Celle qui n'était plus, by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. Clouzot supposedly beat out Alfred Hitchcock for the movie rights.
- Interestingly enough, Hitchcock would obtain the rights to another Boileau/Narcejac novel, D'entre les morts, a couple years later and make it into his film Vertigo.