7.6/10
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La Vérité (1960)

La vérité (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 2 November 1960 (France)
A liberated small-town girl and the family's black sheep moves to Paris with her sister, only to find herself standing trial for the shocking murder of her young lover. Was his killing premeditated or was this a crime of passion?

Writers:

Henri-Georges Clouzot (scenario), Simone Drieu (scenario) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brigitte Bardot ... Dominique Marceau
Paul Meurisse ... Maître Éparvier
Charles Vanel ... Maître Guérin
Sami Frey ... Gilbert Tellier
Marie-José Nat ... Annie Marceau
Jean-Loup Reynold ... Michel
André Oumansky André Oumansky ... Ludovic
Claude Berri ... Georges
Jacques Perrin ... Jérôme
Barbara Sommers Barbara Sommers ... Daisy (as Barbara Sohmers)
Louis Seigner ... Le président des assises
Raymond Meunier Raymond Meunier ... Le cuistot du 'Spoutnik'
René Blancard ... L'avocat général
Paul Bonifas Paul Bonifas ... Un greffier
Hubert de Lapparent Hubert de Lapparent ... Un avocat
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Storyline

Dominique Marceau is on trial for the murder of Gilbert Tellier. The counsels duel relentlessly, elaborating explanations for why the pretty, idle and fickle girl killed the talented and ambitious conductor freshly graduated from the conservatory. Was it passion, vengeance, desperation, an accident? The acquaintances of Gilbert testify, as well as Dominique's former lovers, and her sister, Annie, the studious violin player engaged to Gilbert. The evidence they give progressively paints a more finely-shaded picture of the personalities of Dominique and Gilbert, and of their relationship, than the eloquent and convincing justifications of the counsels. Written by Eduardo Casais <eduardo.casais@nokia.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Suppose I'm a tramp... why can't I be in love? See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

2 November 1960 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Truth See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1961)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Italian censorship visa # 33980 delivered on 20-2-1961. See more »

Quotes

The Prosecuting Attorney: You spent weeks seducing him, didn't you? Weeks!
Dominique's Attorney: Objection! What length of time should she have spent? Is there any legal limit on how long a seduction ought to take?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inferno (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Dominique
Written by Jean Bonal
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE TRUTH (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1960) ***
25 February 2014 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot occasionally alternated her standard titillating vehicles with films of greater substance (though, invariably, she was still required to shed her clothes!) often helmed by a top name within her native cinema – notable examples being Claude Autant-Lara's LOVE IS MY PROFESSION (1958), Julien Duvivier's THE WOMAN AND THE PUPPET (1959; the only one I have not watched, since it seems not to be available in an English-friendly version – but, of course, I am familiar with the three other adaptations of the Pierre Louys source material, as well as owning the novel itself!), the film under review (sharing disc space with the first-mentioned title on the copy I watched, after acquiring one on which the English subtitles did not work – that said, even here, translation for a slew of dialogue at a time is intermittently skipped – but, then, these are burnt-in on the print obtainable via "You Tube"!), Jean-Luc Godard's CONTEMPT (1963) – unquestionably the finest of the lot – and Louis Malle's A VERY PRIVATE AFFAIR (1962), VIVA MARIA! (1965) and the "William Wilson" episode from SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (1968). As for director Clouzot, this was his last mainstream film – since his next, "Inferno" (begun in 1964), would be aborted due to his poor health and a subsequent one, LA PRISONNERE (1968), was perhaps too 'specialized' (read: extreme) to cater for other than 'underground' audiences! For the record, I still need to watch his MANON (1949) and LES ESPIONS (1957) from the ones I own.

THE TRUTH – included in the all-time top 3,000 movies ranked by the "Wonders In The Dark" website – was the only title involving either to be nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar: incidentally, it is preceded by the Columbia logo and, apparently, was simultaneously shot in English as per contemporary posters!; for what it is worth, the film deservedly missed out to Ingmar Bergman's beautifully stark parable THE VIRGIN SPRING (1960) – even if they actually emerged joint winners at the Golden Globes! Anyway, what we have here is the trial of a crime of passion (with the star herself in the dock), the backstory of which is then seen in flashback – triggered off by the interrogations of various witnesses. Clouzot managed to rope in an impressive supporting cast for his plethora of characters: Charles Vanel as Bardot's practiced Defense Counsel, Paul Meurisse as the showy Prosecutor – incidentally, both these actors had already appeared together for Clouzot in one of his greatest works, DIABOLIQUE (1955) – and youngsters Sami Frey and Jacques Perrin among the uninhibited (what else?) protagonist's numerous lovers, the former being also the victim in the case.

The director's renowned clinical eye for detail is well in evidence throughout – but the film's two sections do not necessarily jell in this particular instance (perhaps tellingly, the 122-minute movie had as many as six scriptwriters assigned to it!). The narrative proper, then, seems to belong to the 'wasted youth' trend kickstarted by Federico Fellini's I VITELLONI (1953); indeed, despite their highbrow aspirations (musician Frey juggles a relationship with Bardot and her 'saintly' elder sister, all the while attempting to set up his own orchestra!), these singularly colourless personages come across as low-lifes more than anything else: the crime itself, followed immediately by the heroine's attempted suicide, is easily the standout here. Conversely, the backhanded tactics prevalent in the over-crowded courtroom lend much cynical enjoyment – thus countering the necessarily static nature of the cinematography during these sequences.

Still, the film is considered as the one in which the star gave her best performance (she even won the Italian equivalent of the Oscar for it as Best Foreign Actress): though the events leading up to the night of the crime and where the real guilt lay (hence the title) are hotly debated by both sides, it is inconceivable to accuse Frey (who could hardly be blamed for lusting after Bardot) over her (whose feelings for him – whether genuine or merely to spite her "square" sibling – are never properly defined)…which is perhaps why the trial ends abruptly as it does! In retrospect, the movie can be seen to have much in common with the afore-mentioned "Inferno" – whose troubled shoot was delineated in a feature-length documentary released in 2009 (after Claude Chabrol had already impressively refashioned Clouzot's original script for his own 1993 effort L'ENFER).


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