Clouzot. We’re at position #159 here so an auteur with a top 500 film of all-time (Diabolique) and another great film not far behind (Wages of Fear) and in the top 100 of its respective decade is getting rarer and rarer. That’s a strong 1-2 punch and certainly the reason Clouzot is on this list. He’s a technical master, mostly emotionally cool films that build tension, brick by brick, through superior craftsmanship. Certainly the lack of depth here hurts Clouzot’ case- just two archiveable films.
Best film: Diabolique. The consensus experts (on TSPDT) differ with me here but the wallop of the reveal in Diabolique is just something I cannot shake- even after repeat viewings.
total archiveable films: 2
top 100 films: 0
top 500 films: 1 (Diabolique)
top 100 films of the decade: 2 (Diabolique, The Wages of Fear)
most overrated: The Wages of Fear is #276 on the TSPDT consensus list and I’m farther down on it- it doesn’t land in my top 500 so we’re a ways apart here.
most underrated: Diabolique is at #627 on TSPDT and I’m at #221 so there’s a good 400 slots here in difference.
gem I want to spotlight : With only two archiveable films the “gem” and “overrated” categories have to overlap here. Just because the film doesn’t land in my top 500 certainly doesn’t mean it’s a gem—The Wages of Fear is quite brilliant—look at some of the framing and shadow work here.
stylistic innovations/traits: Clouzot’s reputation is well earned—he’s known as a superior craftsman who made first-rate thrillers—sound like anyone else? Haha. There’s little wonder why he’s called the French Hitchcock. His resume rests on the two juggernauts made here in the 1950-‘s and they are magnificent- it is no wonder they were remade in Hollywood (anyone who wants to compare Clouzot with William Friedkin can do that as Friedkin, at the height of his powers coming off The French Connection and The Exorcist, chose to remake the Clouzot film).
- The Wages of Fear
By year and grades
|1953- The Wages of Fear
|1954 – Diabolique
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives