“Les Diaboliques” (1955)
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, French masterpiece “Les Diaboliques” is not a whodunit. It’s clear from the outset that the wife (Vera Clouzot) of an abusive school headmaster (Paul Meurisse) and his mistress (Simone Signoret) have teamed up to kill him. What’s not clear is why after the women have hidden his seemingly lifeless body the corpse goes missing. Is the headmaster still alive? And if so, is he responsible for the bizarre experiences the women have after his body vanishes?
The film inspired the 1996 remake “Diabolique,” starring Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani. While that movie was a dud, the original won the Louis Delluc prize, traditionally awarded to the French film deemed the best theatrical release of the year. Next “The Bad Seed.”