Malefices (1962)

aka Where the Truth Lies
Article 5355 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-25-2017
Directed by Henri Decoin
Featuring Juliette Greco, Jean-Marc Bory, Liselotte Pulver
Country: France
What it is: Thriller

A female African explorer falls in love with a married veterinarian who comes to treat her jaguar. When he refuses to accompany her back to Africa, his wife suddenly takes ill. Is it possible the explorer is practicing voodoo?

This is another movie that has been rescued from my “ones that got away” list; it became available in France and I was able to order an import DVD. That being the case, I suspected there would be no English dubbing or subtitles, so I armed myself with a plot description so I could follow the movie at least somewhat; nevertheless, I do have to point out that my ability to judge it fairly is hampered by the language difference. I do know this much; several of my sources list the running time as 83 minutes, but my copy runs 101 minutes. Truth to tell, I’d rather have seen the 83 minutes version; at the longer length, it feels like it takes forever for the plot to get moving. Granted, it may be a lot more interesting if I understood the French dialogue, but given that its rating on IMDB is a little on the lukewarm side, I suspect that the pacing is a problem. It does have a nice twist and a memorable ending; the last 15 minutes are easily the best part of the movie. The presence of voodoo or black magic is the fantastic content, but you’ll have to see the movie yourself if you want to find out if that is real or imagined. I have to admit I was a little disappointed by this one.

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