Spotlight on a Murderer (1961) | Mubi

April 6th, 2017
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Georges Franju | French | Mystery | 92min

SPOTLIGHT ON A MURDERER takes place in one of those quaint, quintessential French chateaux that you may have visited with its medieval interiors and evocative turrets and tapestries hanging on the stone walls. Gaumont too is a classic studio one of the oldest in the world. The star of Georges Franju’s Gothic murder mystery is also a veteran: Jean-Louis Trintignant, who has just appeared in Michael Haneke’s latest film Happy End, at the age of 89. He plays Jean-Marie whose elderly relative Count Hervé de Kerloquen (Pierre Brasseur) has completely disappeared leaving Jean-Marie and his family members responsible for its upkeep while waiting five years until they can become benefactors of the estate. Along with his girlfriend, Micheline (Dany Saval), they conconct a plan to open the place to visitors while uncovering his whereabouts and discovering the truth.

This atmospheric thriller is scripted by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac whose books were also adapted for Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Les Diaboliques. Franju keeps the tension taut with fine performances from the ensemble in a rare and intriguing mystery thriller that keeps you guessing right until the very end. MT

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