BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

28 October 2014
Reviews

BBC Homepage
Entertainment
Film

»[an error occurred while processing this directive] 

Contact Us



Le Corbeau (The Raven) (1943)
Reviewed by Jamie Russell

updated 22nd July 2003

reviewer's rating
five star



Director

Henri-Georges Clouzot
Writer

Henri-Georges Clouzot
Louis Chavance
Star

Pierre Fresnay
Ginette Leclerc
Micheline Francey
Hélna Manson
Length

93 minutes
Distributor

Optimum Releasing
Original

1943
Cinema

2003
Country

France
Genre

Drama
World Cinema

User Comments & Reviews
» Read other users' reviews
» Write your own review





In a provincial French town, 'The Raven' is at work, delivering poison pen letters to the local dignitaries.

The main focus of the letter writer's attention is the town's doctor, Remy Germain (Pierre Fresnay), a man with a shady past, haughty air, and secretive manner.

Accused of being an abortionist and adulterer, Germain is on the verge of being chased out of town... unless he can discover The Raven's true identity.

One of the few filmmakers to continue working during the Nazi occupation of France, Henri-Georges Clouzot's decision to join German-owned Continental Films produced one of the greatest French movies of the Second World War years. But it also brought him a great deal of misery, a subject touched on in "Laissez-Passer", Bertrand Tavernier's history of the Continental years.

Castigated by the left and the pro-Nazi Vichy regime for making a film that showed the French to be morally corrupt, the film was quickly pulled from theatres. After the occupation, Clouzot received a lifetime ban (later reduced to two years) from the film industry for allegedly supporting the Nazis.

It's easy to see why both sides of the political spectrum so vehemently denounced "Le Corbeau". With its misanthropic vision of human backbiting, this grippingly acerbic film gives no quarter, particularly not to the town's apparently respectable bourgeois clique of doctors, lawyers and politicians, all of whom end up being stained with the indelible ink of moral corruption. In Clouzot's vision, innocence is ephemeral and guilt is eternal.

Far from being a pro-Nazi film, "Le Corbeau" captures the reality of the Vichy regime and the paranoid culture of self-serving informing that it encouraged. It's a subversive work and masterful suspense thriller that's the equal of anything Hitchcock ever put his name to.

In French with English subtitles.

"Le Corbeau" is re-released in select UK cinemas on Friday 25th July 2003.



Find out more about "Le Corbeau (The Raven)" at
Movie Review Query Engine
The Internet Movie Database
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

 Where can I see this film? Town 




About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy