H.G. Clouzot

H.G. Clouzot

Director Henri-Georges Clouzot has been labeled as ‘The French Hitchcock’ and his style of films have been considered some of the most thrilling and scariest films of the French cinema. Clouzot’s style of film making was considered very highly controlled and it is said that a lot of people were scared to work with Clouzot because he was a tyrannical director who had a very short-temper on set, always demanding perfection. Clouzot was an early fan of the cinema and desiring a career as a writer, moved to Paris. Clouzot years later found work in Nazi occupied France as a screenwriter for the German-owned company Continental Films. At Continental, Clouzot wrote and directed films that were very popular in France. His second film Le Corbeau (1943) drew controversy over its harsh look at provincial France and Clouzot was fired from Continental before its release. As a result of his association with Continental, Clouzot was barred by the French government from filmmaking until 1947. After the ban was lifted, Clouzot reestablished his reputation and popularity in France during the late 1940s with successful films including Quai des Orfèvres (1947). In the early and mid-1950s, Clouzot drew high acclaim from international critics and audiences for The Wages of Fear (1953) and Les Diabolique (1955), as both would serve as source material for remakes decades later. The Wages of Fear and Diabolique were both screened and reviewed in America as well as in France, and were rated as being among the greatest suspenseful thrillers of the decade. Unfortunately Clouzot’s position in the French film industry after the fifties seemed to change dramatically and well established directors found themselves loosing their footing by younger, reckless and more experimental filmmakers. These more reckless filmmakers were colleagues and critics at Cahiers du cinema which included Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, and Jacques Rivette, young filmmakers who rebelled against the trend of the older directors and their styles. Their approach to filmmaking was more radical, and they didn’t feel the need to resort to the old restrained way of French filmmaking like Clouzot did, which was considered more safe, highly controlled, respectable material; such as adaptations of classic French literature. After the release of La Vérité, Clouzot’s wife Véra died of a heart attack and Clouzot’s career suffered due to depression, illness and new critical views of films from the French New Wave.



H.G. Clouzot
H.G. Clouzot Featured Films

Articles and Essays on H.G. Clouzot

Wages of Fear, The (1953)

In one of the most nerve-racking thrillers ever made, Henry-Georges Clouzot’s The Wages of Fear is like a full frontal assault on a viewers senses with its heart pounding suspense and unrelenting tension. Four men drive two trucks of nitroglycerin three hundred miles across a hellish landscape full of potholes, rock-stewn passes, rickety bridges and dangerously tight turns to […]

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Diabolique (1955)

The most popular motives for murder is either money or passion. The goal of course is canceling the existence of another human being but after the act comes the guilt and the clumsiness of trying to get away with it. Perfect murders thankfully occur much more often in fiction then in real life, and like […]

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H.G. Clouzot
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