Quai Des Orfevres DVD Review

Clouzot makes a murder mystery sting in this classic remastered for a new generation. Jenny (Suzy Delair) is a music hall chanteuse. Her husband Maurice (Bernard Blier) is a pianist. She is offered a chance at performing some major gigs by a multi-millionaire. He askes her to meet him in his mansion but when she arrives, he has been murdered. The murder has her in the frame and the implication in this grizzly murder, will test their bond. Detective Antoine investigates and uncovers many layers of deceit, lies and manipulation.

Quai Des Orfevres is not Clouzot masterpiece in the conventional sense of the construct. The term is often used to state that a film is significant in the director’s lexicon and within the art. It can sometimes miss when a film reveals a journey being taken or a mind beginning to extract. From say Hitchcock (Clouzot’s most obvious comparison) and his blossoming use of form to say Scorsese and his motifs. Clouzot takes a rather simplified story, which is a troupe of Hollywood studio directors of the era. He then adds his nuanced eye to the mise en scene with its shadows and dark surround. Then his tailoring of not one but a series of performances, that are fiercely individual but work in the whole. For an example of this watch the interrogation scenes. They are structured with an eye of an auteur.

The disc itself is a slight step up on the box set from Studio Canal. The transfer has made the sound quality better, but it does little to the picture quality. The only extra is a documentary that is a gem. Criminal height for me is a well worthwhile piece and should be seen far more then it will sadly.

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