Henri-Georges Clouzot

"An excellent craftsman, Clouzot was an acknowledged master of suspense, a sort of French Hitchcock but unlike the latter, totally lacking in humor. His films are typically morbid and violent, their suspense often unrelenting." - The Macmillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994

Henri-Georges Clouzot

Director / Screenwriter / Producer
(1907-1977) Born November 20, Niort, Deux-Sèvres, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: France, Italy
Key Genres: Psychological Thriller, Drama, Thriller, Crime Drama, Police Detective Film, Mystery
Key Collaborators: Armand Thirard (Cinematographer), Pierre Larquey (Leading Character Actor), Charles Vanel (Leading Actor), Jérôme Géronimi (Screenwriter), Madeleine Gug (Editor), Vera Clouzot (Leading Character Actress), Noel Roquevert (Leading Character Actor), Georges Auric (Composer), Louis Seigner (Character Actor), Jean Brochard (Character Actor), Pierre Fresnay (Leading Actor), Suzy Delair (Leading Actress)

"Certainly his output was much truncated by illness, but he has managed to leave behind several black suspense thrillers which have hardly a good character between them... But it was the early 1950s before Clouzot conjured up the two films on which his reputation largely rests. The first of these was the immensely successful The Wages of Fear (the second was Les Diaboliques)." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Illustrated Guide to Film Directors, 1999)
"Henri-Georges Clouzot began his career in Berlin in the early 1930s working as as assistant director, making French versions of German films... Clouzot was an excellent craftsman who wrote most of his own scripts and plotted his suspenseful films long before shooting them - qualities that have led some to compare him with Hitchcock." - The Movie Book, 1999
"Clouzot's misanthropic movies are populated by characters who exhibit only the basest instincts... Devoid of sentimentality, his sour pessimism portrays people as predators and prey bent on self-preservation; though everyone, as in Renoir, has his reasons, the motivation is at best primevally instinctive, at worst malicious." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)
"If Renoir is the sud of French cinema, then Clouzot is an exponent of the nord. The enormous commercial success of Le Salaire de la Peur—one of the first French films to obtain a wide showing in English-speaking countries—and the deliberate emphasis on “putting the audience through it” in Les Diaboliques have made Clouzot artistically suspect. But he has a consistent vision that is more jaundiced than any other in the French cinema. Where Renoir tends always toward the acceptance of failings, Clouzot’s world disintegrates through mistrust, alienation, and a willful selfishness that is like an illness." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2010)
"In a country like France where good taste is so admired, Henri-Georges Clouzot has been a shocking director. A film critic during the age of surrealism, Clouzot was always eager to assault his audience with his style and concerns." - Dudley Andrew (The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia, 1998)
"A master of suspense and violence with heavy psychological overtones." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
The Wages of Fear (1953) ✖︎, Les Diaboliques (1955) ✖︎
Recommended
The Murderer Lives at Number 21 (1942), Le Corbeau (1943) ✖︎, Quai des Orfèvres (1947) ✖︎
Worth a Look
Manon (1949), The Mystery of Picasso (1956), Les Espions (1957), La Vérité (1960)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films ✖︎ 1,000 Noir Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    The Murderer Lives at Number 21
    comments powered by Disqus