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Le Corbeau (The Criterion Collection) (1943)

Pierre Fresnay , Ginette Leclerc , Henri-Georges Clouzot  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Micheline Francey, Héléna Manson, Jeanne Fusier-Gir
  • Directors: Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • Writers: Henri-Georges Clouzot, Louis Chavance
  • Producers: Raoul Ploquin, René Montis
  • Format: Black & White, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: February 17, 2004
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00014K5Y6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,342 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Le Corbeau (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New transfer with restored image and sound
  • Video interview with Bertand Tarvernier, director of Coup de Torchon
  • Excerpts from a 1975 documentary The Story of French Cinema featuring Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • 16-page booklet featuring a new essay by film scholar Alan Williams, author of Republic of Images: A History of French Filmmaking

Editorial Reviews

Item is brand new, in sealed factory packaging. Always stored in a smoke-free, animal-free home. Ships from Arizona to U.S. addresses only.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bitter, Brilliant Brew April 12, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Some called the director Henri Georges Clouzot "the French Hitchcock." But in many ways Hitchcock was Santa Claus next to the cynical Clouzot. The Frenchman was a master of film noir, that bleakest and blackest of film genres. He made three undeniably great films: "Diabolique", "The Wages of Fear", and this one. For some reason it's been packaged here as "The Raven", but its better known title is "Le Corbeau", or "The Crow." Like Clouzot's other great movies, it's a suspenseful, terrifying journey into the heart of darkness that can exist in the human soul. In a small French village, someone is sending anonymous, hate-filled letters full of lies and half-truths about the villagers: she is a thief, he is an adulterer, that doctor performs secret abortions. The letters are signed "the Crow." The level of hate and paranoia in the small village rises to fever pitch as a witch-hunt develops to find The Crow. The final identity of the letter-writer is shocking, but logical and inevitable. You have to watch the film twice in order to pick up all the diabolical little clues Clouzot lets drop. The protagonist, Dr. Germain (the main target of the Crow's letter-writing campaign) loses his rigidity about human nature and begins to see that people are a mixture of good and evil and that "evil is necessary. It's like a disease from which you emerge stronger." The film is cleverly written and beautifully and ominously photographed in the best noir style. The film was made in German-occupied France in 1943 and was a harsh portrait of a small French town, so after the war it was misconstrued by many as anti-French propaganda, and Clouzot had trouble finding work for a few years. That could be the reason why this movie is not as widely appreciated as his others. But it's not a political film that deals with passing issues. It's a film-noir gem.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raven vs. Robin May 21, 2004
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A reticent physician with a mysterious past, practicing in the small French town of St. Robin, is targeted by poison-pen letters signed "Le Corbeau" (The Raven). The letters increase from a trickle to a deluge as virtually everyone in town is targeted; confidences are violated and neighbor suspects neighbor in an infectious atmosphere of growing paranoia and mistrust. Henri-Georges Clouzot (Diabolique, Wages of Fear) keeps the viewer on his toes throughout the entire 91 minutes; there isn't a weak spot in this entire film which, amazingly, managed to get itself made during the Nazi occupation of France (and which was condemned by both the Right and Left Wings, with the Church thrown in for good measure).I caught the beginning of this film some months back on Turner and was too tired to watch it in its entirety. I was very happy to learn that Criterion (yay!) was scheduled to release it and I wasn't disappointed; this film belongs in the library of every serious collector. In fact, I can't imagine anyone's not enjoying it. Since other reviewers have summarized the plot, I'll confine the rest of my review to the disk and its extras. The print--predictably--is gorgeous, presented in its original, full-screen aspect ratio. Contrary to another reviewer, I found the sound clear as a bell and not in the least bit harsh or tinny. I haven't, with the exception of the trailer, availed myself of the extras yet but this is a Criterion release--I'd be surprised if they were anything less than first-rate. A very informative booklet is included and makes for interesting reading. Read more ›
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first of Clouzot's dark masterpieces November 15, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Le Corbeau aka The Raven is a surprisingly vivid piece of film-making, a wonderfully cinematic dissection of a town torn apart by the poison-pen letters of 'The Raven.' The initial balance of power that maintains the status quo (A knows B's indiscretion, B knows A's, so neither can destroy the other without disgracing himself) is soon destroyed as the whole town learns each other's dirty linen, with suspicions, half-truths and outright lies soon lead to the town turning on each other in the search for a scapegoat. Tragedy, suicide and murder inevitably follow...

This, of course, was the film that earned Clouzot a lasting reputation as a collaborator - made for the infamous German Continental films, it was attacked by both the Nazis for discouraging the French from informing (their main source of information during the occupation) and the resistance for attacking the French moral character. Of the two, it's pretty obvious the Nazis were on the right track. Even though the Germans are conspicuous by their absence, it makes clear that the anonymous informer/s are undermining solidarity and making the town easy prey for predators (it is implicit in the film that the Raven is not the only poison-pen writer in the town as a veritable flock of Ravens emerge).

The suspense comes not from the Raven's identity, which is blindingly obvious in this era of double-endings but must have seemed groundbreaking at the time, but from what damage the Raven will do next.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Raven's Flight Is A Must For Modern Audience
Not dated in the least, "Le Corbeau" is an astoundingly well-crafted film and a must for fans of modern mystery or suspense films. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Clayton
5.0 out of 5 stars Qui est le corbeau?
What can you say to this classic movie? This film does a great job of placing France within context during the Second World War, where collaboration was rampant during the German... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ray McDonald
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting movie
"Le Corbeau" is a foreign film directed by France's Master of Suspense, Henri Cluzot, who made "The Wages of Fear" and "Diabolique. Read more
Published 14 months ago by B. Adducchio
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT CRITERION DVD!
Published 17 months ago by HAN XIAO
5.0 out of 5 stars A potent, dark thriller and examination of human nature
An odd but tremendously potent mix of a 'quiet' non-violent but very
tense noir thriller, a deeply dark humored, sometimes blackly comic
look at human nature, and a... Read more
Published on April 1, 2012 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars dark situations in Le Corbeau
Le Corbeau was made in France during the German occupation during World War II. The film describes how an informer in a small town turns everyone against each other. Read more
Published on December 5, 2011 by Paul Kao
3.0 out of 5 stars Made In Vichy France During the German Occupation
"Le Corbeau," ("The Raven"), (1943),is a dark, black and white suspense film, a classic of French cinema, made by that master of the thriller Henri-Georges Clouzot, known worldwide... Read more
Published on June 16, 2011 by Stephanie De Pue
3.0 out of 5 stars Audio-Compression Error?
The Criterion DVD is out of print, but I recently viewed a copy from Netflix. It seems that the technicians made a mistake with the audio compression on this disc. Read more
Published on December 5, 2010 by Nom de Review
5.0 out of 5 stars Who is the raven?: A lucid concious, a perfid human being or that...
The citizens of a French provincial town are upset to find the reason that leads someone to reveal those minor sins of sevearl members of such respectable comunity,thanks to a... Read more
Published on February 9, 2010 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the scariest movies I've ever seen for a film with almost no...
I saw this on TCM. It's a tremendously frightening film about the effect of group dynamics. This and Diabolique are my favorite Clouseau films. Read more
Published on January 26, 2010 by NYer
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