Henri-Georges Clouzot directs Pierre Fresnay, Micheline Francey and Pierre Larquey in this French thriller where a town is corrupted by a campaign of anonymous letters that reveals everyone’s secrets leading to deaths, accusations and lynch mobs.
A delightfully bleak pre-noir crime. Works perfectly well as a detective mystery or a damning allegory. Not only is the true story it is based around fascinating but the reaction to it from the Occupying Nazi forces at the time and the French government post-Liberation too. Even without knowing its twisted backstory, this is a compelling and acidic takedown of a community and humanity in general. Ginette Leclerc is memorable as a bedridden bad girl. The visuals are continually stark and playful. Genre delight for misanthropes.
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