March 20, 2013
Note: The DVD fanedit is in PAL format.
Pointless remake of incomparable thriller.
Overlong, overloud, directed by a hack who seems to assume his audience is blind and deaf.
Dr Sapirstein must have thought there is something redeemable (abrasive American actors, perhaps?).
He gives this his usual expert makeover.
Video - 720 X 576p in nice black n white. While this brings the look closer to 50s Noir, there are few hard shadows or low angles associated with that style. I did not see the visual flaws mentioned by Dwight-Fry, but I watched the 4.5 GB DVD which may have been an upgrade. Editing is seamless, thought the ending, as noted by the editor, is abrupt.
Audio - 448 kbps 2-Channel, AC-3 stereo. No subs. The music score remains too high and is invasive. Sounds like the composer created four themes which repeat ad nauseum. Dialogue is clear throughout.
Narrative - This story is even easier to understand than the French original as the characters are now written as cardboard caricatures. The plot is punctuated with bombastic music to hammer home a point or remind viewers lest they overlook the obvious. Dr Sapirstein’s substantial removal results in a quicker film, though not necessarily a better film.
Enjoyment - I have tried over the years to like this film - or even appreciate it. This is simply a bad film, and not a “fun bad” film. Lead actors do their darnedest, but in the end this is turgid dreck. The edit, however, is superior to the 1996 version.
The bonus feature is an interview with original Diabolique (1955) H G Clouzot’s widow. In French - no subtitles.