Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1953 movie The Wages of Fear is one of the greatest action films ever made. (William Friedkin’s 1977 remake, Sorcerer, doesn’t hold a candle to the original.) But instead of resting on his laurels, the director followed it up with
Diabolique—which is one the greatest horror movies ever made. Here, too, none of the remakes compare. AndHitchcock’s Psycho is just one of the films that bear Diabolique’s influence.
Based on a story by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac (who went on to write Vertigo), the film is a revenge-and-murder mystery, with two women and one missing body (that of the cruel, and cruelly murdered, boarding-school headmaster) at its center. It’s twisty, turny, morbidly funny, genuinely disturbing, and impossibly absorbing—and thanks to the Criterion Collection’s new digital restoration, it looks as good as it ever did. (Available May 17.)
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