Henri-Georges Clouzot's Inferno (15)
Friday 06 November 2009
Henri-Georges Clouzot's reputation is founded on The Wages of Fear (1953) and Les Diaboliques (1955), and it might have been enhanced if he had completed his 1964 project, Inferno, about a jealous husband driven towards insanity.
This fine documentary explains what went wrong – the director, having alienated cast and crew with his obsessive behaviour, then suffered a heart-attack – but it also unearths footage of camera tests and experiments in kinetic art and colouration that suggest how very remarkable the film might have been. At times, it recalls Hitchcock's use of optical trickery in Vertigo. Clouzot and his two stars, Romy Schneider and Serge Reggiani, are all dead, though certain crew members are still around to reminisce about the director ("a schizophrenic maniac") and the doomed film. Enfer was its French title, and "hell" was what it became.
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