A veritable masterpiece of French cinema, Henri-Georges Clouzot's 'Le Corbeau' is a dark and subversive study of human nature. A wave of hysteria sweeps the small provincial town of St. Robin when a series of poison-pen letters signed "Le Corbeau" appear, denouncing several prominent members of society. Starting with the village doctor, the slow trickle of sinister letters soon becomes a flood and no one is safe from their mysterious accusations. Condemned by the political left and right and the church upon its release in 1943, Clouzot was banned from filmmaking for two years after making the film.
A whodunnit with a difference!
- Le Corbeau review by TE
A tricksy narrative that keeps the viewer guessing until the very end.
On one level this is a good old fashioned mystery story, and on another it is a parable for the breakdown of trust in a community (a very relevant concern in France during WW2).
It is always refreshing to see how far French cinema was in advance of the USA and the UK throughout the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. French directors were not afraid to make movies for grown-ups, with a frankness about sex that makes most British and American films of the period look childish.