New Release: Diabolique Blu-ray and DVD

Diabolique movie scene

Simone Signoret schemes in Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique.

Criterion did the right thing by 1954’s Diabolique when it issued new Blu-ray and DVD editions of the great French shocker movie by Henri George Clouzot (The Wages of Fear) on May 17, 2011.

Criterion previously released the thriller on DVD back in 1999. This new release, featuring a new digital restoration, marks Diabolique’s Blu-ray debut.

Diabolique is the story of two women — the fragile wife (Vera Clouzot, Les Espions) and the willful mistress (Simone Signoret, Ship of Fools) of a sadistic school headmaster (Paul Meurisse, The Contessa’s Secret) — who hatch a daring revenge plot. With its narrative twists (which were quite radical in their day!) and unforgettably scary images, Diabolique is a heart-grabbing benchmark in thriller/horror filmmaking, featuring outstanding performances, taut direction and one of the all-time great terrifying climaxes.

The film got a new digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition.

Here’s a list of the features that Criterion put on the new DVD and Blu-ray:

  • selected-scene commentary by French-film scholar Kelley Conway
  • new video interview with Serge Bromberg, co-director of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno
  • new video interview with horror film expert Kim Newman
  • new and improved English subtitle translation
  • booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Terrence Rafferty

The Blu-ray and DVD carry the list prices of $39.95 and $29.95, respectively.

Diabolique was remade in 1996 to mild effect by Jeremiah S. Chechik, starring Sharon Stone ($5 a Day), Isabelle Adjani (Ishtar) and Chazz Palminteri (The Dukes). Trust us on this one: Go with the original!


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.