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The Unfaithful Wife (La Femme infidèle)

4.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

After years of contented but increasingly dull matrimony, Charles starts to suspect his seemingly devoted wife Helene of having an affair. The thought starts to take up his every waking moment. His secure world is rocked when a private detective he has hired confirms his worst fears

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Stéphane Audran, Michel Bouquet, Maurice Ronet, Michel Duchaussoy, Louise Chevalier
  • Directors: Claude Chabrol
  • Writers: Claude Chabrol
  • Producers: André Génovès, Felice Testa Gay
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Pathfinder Home Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: January 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007G1XQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,171 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Unfaithful Wife (La Femme infidèle)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Stephane Audran has a face that reminds me of Isabelle Huppert. Both women always have a game face on. We can never quite tell what's going on in their pretty little heads, but we know we should be on the look out.

Audran does this to perfection in "The Unfaithful Wife". She also did a great job in Chabrol's previous film "Les Biches".

She has such a sleek beauty to her it's easy to see why a man would fall for her and perhaps even easily to see why a man would go to the lengths her husband Charles does in this movie to keep her by his side.

Audran plays Helen Desvallees, a seemingly happily married woman who has a child, wealth, and a mother-in-law she likes (That's our first sign this is only a movie). What more could she possibily want?

Chabrol presents these people as if they are an average family. On the surface they could be your neighbors, but, the impression I got was there are a lot of secrets between this couple. There is never a scene where they actually have a conversation. It's all small talk. Do they really know each other that well?

We fairly quickly know what's really going on. Helen (Audran) is having an affair with Victor Pegala (Maurice Duchaussoy) and Charles (Michel Bouquet) finds out and trys in his own way to keep his wife.

The movie is never really suspenseful. You're never on the edge of your seat. Chabrol works in much more subtle ways. With whispers not loud bangs.

This film as many may know was remade in 2002 as 'Unfaithful'. It was diirected by Adrian Lyne and starred Richard Gere and Diane Lane. It was admirable but not as polished as this movie is. This movie clears up some of the pot-holes I thought the first one suffered from. I should also mention I saw the remake first.
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Format: DVD
'The Unfaithful Wife' is really about a faithful husband, who will kill to save his marriage. This kind of fidelity is a chilling exercise of power - the film's many point-of-view shots are mostly his - with adultery a rebellion, a bid for freedom that must be crushed. It's not enough that Charles uncovers his wife's lover, he must sit on the bed they make love on, drink the same drink...
Chabrol's most perfect film, where character inertia is expressed in blatant artifice, both in the home and in 'nature'; where a materialist filming of materialists conceals an austere spirituality, embodied in those Fateful policemen. Like his namesake Bovary, Charles sleeps when his exquisitely beautiful wife offers herself to him. He deserves what he gets.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Murder maestro Chabrol is one of the heralded French New Wave directors whose intelligent twists on genre (thrillers are his domain) ushered in an exciting new era in filmmaking. In "Wife," he offers a fresh take on the standard crime-of-passion tale, with the intense Bouquet playing a wealthy cuckold and Audran, Chabrol's own beautiful spouse, lending her ironic talents to the role of über-bored trophy wife. Chabrol's graceful camerawork, his sardonic attitude toward the nouveau riche, and a disquieting resolution will make you faithful to this "Wife." (Note: Divorce yourself from Adrian Lyne's wan 2002 remake.)
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Format: DVD
The Unfaithful Wife is another film dealing with murder by the French New Wave's most mainstream talent, Claude Chabrol. What makes Chabrol different than his many contemporaries who also worked in the thriller genre is his approach towards his actor's emotions. Chabrol stays far away from exposing his characters inner thoughts, and allows more subtle actions and gestures to tell the story. The Unfaithful Wife is a prime example of how to deal with murder in the most minimalistic fashion. Chabrol isn't concerned wth visual exuberance, or artistic integrity like some of his New Wave counterparts, instead he's concerned with building characters that are meaningful to the viewer in different ways based on interpretations. Done in his most prolific period, The Unfaithful Wife is one of Chabrol's most emotionally detached, and deadpan films that works because the characters are not easy to define. The film also has a memorable ending that puts an original spin on an old plot.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Another insightful tale from the talented Claude Chabrol. Audran is very good here.
What's it about? Well, the title gives you a pretty good idea. A married woman steps
out on her Hubby...and Hubby does his best to, ah, deal with it.

Won't insult your intelligence, like some films in this genre. Suspenseful.
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Format: DVD
This is a very good film about an episode in middle age, when a couple is static and bored, suffering a routine that is safe but unexciting. The husband is conventional, of the reticent type capable of suppressing terrible rage. The wife is a charismatic beauty, who will not be held back yet ready to maintain appearances. She finds a lover, a rich divorcee libertine who sits around most of the day waiting for her. Of course, the husband becomes suspicious and hires an investigator that results in a humiliating revelation. While you feel for the poor cuckold, you get a sense of foreboding for what he might do.

As the basis for Unfaithful, the film offers interesting contrasts. It is slower, without the wonderfully salacious sex, has strange bits of humor that doesn't fit with the story line, and the conclusion is completely different. In a way, the Chabrol film is a critique of the bourgeois Parisian milieu in the disdainful French tradition, which makes it fun and extremely depressing at the same time. That adds a level that isn't in the simple murder story of the other film. It creeps towards a violent climax and then a brutal conclusion, all handled with a great subtlety of characters. The tension is unbearable yet slow to build.

Recommended. This is a masterpiece of suspense.
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