Le Corbeau

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This article is about the French film. For the artist, see Le Corbeau (artist).
Le Corbeau
Le corbeau release poster.jpg
Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot
Produced by René Montis
Written by Henri Chavance
Henri-Georges Clouzot
Starring Pierre Fresnay
Ginette Leclerc
Pierre Larquey
Micheline Francey
Music by Tony Aubin
Distributed by Tobis Films, Paris
Release dates
Running time
92 min
Country France
Language French

Le Corbeau (The Raven) is a 1943 French film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot. The film caused serious problems for its director after World War II as it had been produced by Continental Films, a German production company established near the beginning of the Occupation of France, and because the film had been perceived by the underground and the Communist press as vilifying the French people. Because of this, Clouzot was initially blocked for life from directing in France and the film too was suppressed, although both bans only lasted until 1947.[1] The film was remade as The 13th Letter (1951) by Otto Preminger.


In a small French town identified as 'anywhere', anonymous poison pen letters are sent by somebody signing as Le Corbeau (the Raven). The letters start by accusing doctor Rémy Germain (Pierre Fresnay) of having an affair with Laura Vorzet (Micheline Francey), the pretty young wife of the elderly psychiatrist Dr. Vorzet (Pierre Larquey). Germain is also accused of practicing illegal abortions. Letters are then sent to virtually all the population of the town, but keep getting back at the initial victim, Dr. Germain. The situation becomes serious when a patient of the hospital commits suicide with his straight razor after the Raven writes to him that his cancer is terminal. Marie Corbin, a nurse in the infirmary, becomes a suspect and is arrested, but soon new letters arrive. Germain's lover Denise is suspected, only for Laura to be identified by material contained in her blotter. Germain agrees to sign an order committing Laura as insane, just before he is called away to attend Denise who has fallen down stairs. Just as the ambulance takes Laura away, Germain returns and finds Vorzet dead at his desk, his throat cut by the cancer patient's mother as he was writing the Raven's final triumphant letter.

The film is loosely based on an anonymous letter case that had begun in the town of Tulle, Limousin in 1917. Anonymous letters had been sent by somebody signing the eye of the tiger.[1]


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  1. ^ a b "Informants in the French tradition". BBC News. 3 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-04. 

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