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The Cry of the Owl

4.1 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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(Mar 19, 2002)
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Editorial Reviews

Winner of one French Academy Award and nominated for a second, hailed by audiences and critics alike, "The Cry of the Owl" is a landmark psychological thriller from director Claude Chabrol, France's Master of Suspense. A peeping tom comes face to face with the object of his obsession, only to find her even more dangerously dysfunctional than himself. Four unstable individuals converge as a doomed love triangle devolves into violence. Unavailable for 15 years, All Day Entertainment restores Chabrol's giddy thriller with a gorgeous letterboxed transfer from the 35mm masters.

Special Features

  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Christophe Malavoy, Mathilda May, Jacques Penot, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Virginie Thévenet
  • Directors: Claude Chabrol
  • Writers: Claude Chabrol, Odile Barski, Patricia Highsmith
  • Producers: Antonio Passalia
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, 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: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: All Day Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 19, 2002
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Y6YN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,876 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Cry of the Owl" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on June 11, 2002
Format: DVD
Chabrol is the French master of suspense. His most succesful films are the ones in which he extends the bounds(though not too far) of the tried and true Hitchcockian formula. La Femme Infidele(68) and Le Boucher(69) as well as La Ceremonie(97) are considered masterpieces. He also has several films that are near masterpieces. But as a director who directs one film a year he also has made a lot of forgettable pictures as well. Cry of the Owl is not a masterpiece but it is one of Chabrols more memorable efforts. Few pictures have been more aptly and evocatively titled. The lead character is a moribund architect with a sadistic ex-wife who paints birds of prey. And in his spare time he spies on a chosen prey of his own, a lovely and innocent looking young woman. But she too, once met, proves equally moribund. The story is stark and each new character met presents yet another twist or turn, (or twisted turn). It is a long dark tunnel of a movie and there is little hope offered that there will be any coming out the other side. Some of Chabrols best work is dark but in his best films there are moments of comic relief as in the very funny outdoor love scenes in his under rated Wedding in Blood(73). Cry of the Owl is a darkly hued ode of a movie which is very good at what it does. The actors are not particularly exciting just competent and the locales are rather unextraordinary but it is a well executed and rare, very rare, kind of movie that presents its dark vision with no apologies or compromises for mere entertainments sake. Chabrol loyalists will be glad to have this and Highsmith readers will too but not many more will really want to go here.
Perhaps the only major flaw is that with so many dark chords being struck one begins to become tone deaf by movies end.
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Format: DVD
It is truly amazing how many superb films have been made from Patricia Highsmith's novels, but most of them alter her distinctly unsettling universe in ways that make them no longer Highsmith adaptations, but something else -- perhaps better, but not the same. This film, however, perfectly captures that grim and usually merciless world.
'The Cry of the Owl' is also one of the most efficient suspense movies I have seen. Perhaps because (despite what I said above) I had not read this particular novel, I found it almost unbearable to watch the events unfold. The suspense is on two levels. First, most conventionally, we care about what happens to the 'hero' and he is in quite a fix. Second, we never really know how the film is going to develop. It has a bit of the flavor of the recent 'A Simple Plan,' in which things never quite work out as expected, but I think it is considerably better. In particular, whereas 'A Simple Plan' pretty much settled down to a conventional plotline about half way through, 'The Cry of the Owl' continues to keep us off balance.
The new DVD is very nice. There is a very interesting and informative commentary, and the quality of the picture and sound is very good. I will give one piece of consumer advice: I originally (tried) to watch the film on my laptop and found the image too dark to watch in comfort. However, when I played it on a television it looked really good, and the high rating to the picture given by other reviewers was well justified. I cannot explain the discrepancy between the two media, but just in case you have a problem like mine, try using the TV.
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Format: DVD
Patricia Highsmith is known for her intelligent thrillers--chief among them The Talented Mr. Ripley (filmed twice)--and this film is no exception. Based on Highsmith's novel of the same name and directed by the inestimable Claude Chabrol, this becomes increasingly disturbing as it progresses until, at the end, we are chilled to the bone.
The story of Robert Forestier, a man who initially seems to have the minor vice of peeping (minor because he does not practice this when his "victim" is nude, but clothed), it becomes darker as we find out that the object of his scrutiny, Juliette, is herself skewed, although in a dramatically different way. And that Robert's ex-wife has her own unusual predilections. As does Juliette's boyfriend Paul.
Not only that, but there is something far more disturbing about Robert than his peeping, and that should not be revealed here. Is he a murderer? No. Let's just say it does have something to do with death, however. The intricate and intelligent interplay of the four main characters give this film an unusually powerful structure and tone.
Made in 1987, it has rarely been equalled and is absolutely worth owning. Without question, it's one of Chabrol's best films, matched in recent years only by his filming of another crime novel written by a British woman (Ruth Rendell), La Ceremonie.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a brilliantly done movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the credits to the end. Chabrol has really captured the suspense of Patricia Highsmith's novel and added a lot of his own genius to the script. The actors are perfect for the roles they play. Chabol's psychological sense is right on. It's one of his best films.
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