Histoires extraordinaires a faire peur ou a faire rire (1949)

aka Unusual Tales
Article 2460 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-27-2007
Posting Date: 5-7-2008
Directed by Jean Faurez
Featuring Fernand Ledoux, Suzy Carrier, Jules Berry
Country: France

Gendarmes trade horror stories with each other.

This is another movie that I’ve only seen in an undubbed unsubtitled version, this time in French. Since this anthology features tales by Thomas De Quincey and Edgar Allan Poe, I had at least some chance of following it; I wasn’t familiar with the De Quincey story, but the Poe stories are fairly common ones – “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “A Cask of Amontillado”. I was glad to see that the old man of the former story wasn’t portrayed as a fiendish villain as he usually is, but as a pleasant old man. Unfortunately, this version of the story is fairly timid, and, in fact, the whole movie gave me the sense that it was aiming more for humor than horror. That’s all right for “Amontillado”, but it leaves “The Tell-Tale Heart” a shadow of its former self. I wasn’t able to follow the De Quincey story (“Ecce Homo”) very well, but it does have one shocker moment when a crate is opened. The framing segment with the gendarmes doesn’t seem to go anywhere, and it ends with them singing along to an organ grinder. It will probably take a dubbed or subtitled version of this one for me to really appreciate it.



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