1943. France. Henri-Georges Clouzot. 93 min.
Sunday, December 18, 2011, 2:30 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
1943. France. Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Screenplay by Louis Chavance, Clouzot. With Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Pierre Larquey, Micheline Francey. Financed by the Nazi-stooge company Continental Films, Le Corbeau was attacked by French “patriots” after the war and very nearly ended Clouzot’s career, yet it continues to haunt the national conscience as a brilliantly astute and ruthless indictment of Quisling acts in occupied France. Otto Preminger remade the film in 1950 as The Thirteenth Letter, and Bertrand Tavernier paid homage in his 2001 Laisser-Passer, but for François Truffaut it held particular significance: “I must have seen it five or six times between the time of its release (May 1943) and Liberation, when it was prohibited,” he recalled in his autobiography. “Later, when it was once again allowed to be shown, I used to go to see it several times a year. Eventually I knew the dialogue by heart…Since the plot of Le Corbeau revolved around an epidemic of anonymous letters denouncing abortion, adultery, and various other forms of corruption, the film seemed to me a fairly accurate picture of what I had seen around me during the war and the postwar period: collaboration, denunciation, the black market, hustling, cynicism.” 93 min.