The latest foreign language film watched here in the shadows was the 1967 psychological drama thriller “Diabolically Yours”, the last movie directed by Julien Duvivier (“Devil And The Ten Commandments”, “The High Life”).
A French / German / Italian production, originally titled “Diaboliquement Vôtre”, the film was based upon a novel by French author Louis C. Thomas entitled “Manie De La Persécution” which was published in 1962.
Following an opening montage of a car speeding through the French countryside interspersed with views of a hospital corridor we are transported into a hospital room where a bandaged patient lies.
The patient, Georges Campo (Alain Delon – “Lost Command”, “Marco Polo”) is coming round from a coma. It seems that Georges was involved in a high-speed car accident, and he now has amnesia.
Luckily for Georges, his beautiful wife Christiane (Senta Berger – “Cross Of Iron”, “The Ambushers”) is on hand to take him home. Naturally, as he is suffering from amnesia, Georges does not recognise Christiane, but seems happy enough to accept what he is told.
Understandable given that, as well as having a beautiful wife, he seems to be a millionaire businessman who’s made his fortune in Hong Kong and has a luxurious Château, Buick car and even a manservant Kim (Peter Mosbacher – “The Face Of Fu Manchu”, The Zombie Walks”) – though the latter appears to be more devoted to the lady of the house than to Georges.
When a family friend Freddie (Sergio Fantoni – “Von Ryan’s Express”, “Hornet’s Nest”) comes to visit Georges surprisingly recognises him, though his memories of Freddie jar with the information that he is given. Georges is also having doubts about whether Christiane is really his wife and the house and possessions really his, but Freddie (who is a doctor) reassures him that this is just a result of the mental stress of his accident.
Georges soon grows frustrated by Christiane’s continual rebuffing of his advances, has suspicions of Kim, and when he starts to hear voices in his sleep begins to question his own sanity…
Although a slowly paced film without lots of action, I really enjoyed this movie. The tensions between the four main characters were nicely played even as their motivations were kept under wraps for most of the film. Then, just when everything seems to have been made clear and a resolution reached there is a further, unresolved, twist right at the end, leaving the viewer to make up their own mind what happened next.
Delon is excellent as the central character and Berger perfect as the sexy and mysterious femme fatale of the piece. Not essential viewing maybe, but it’s an interesting film which is certainly worth checking out given the chance…