CRY OF THE OWL
“As suspenseful as it is darkly amusing...top-drawer Chabrol...”
~Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
“In the top rank of (Chabrol’s) thrillers... a must see”
~Andy Klein, Los Angeles Reader
“An Unorthodox movie that keeps overturning your expectations: every 20 minutes or so you realize that the movie isn’t about what you thought it was...the most enjoyable French movie I’ve seen in ages”
~John Powers, LA Weekly
"Owl is absorbing material, with dark character mysteries to plumb -- and a gripping final image to remember. Jean Rabier's rich, almost gaudy cinematography sometimes recalls the tone of the old Hitchcock movies. In fact, Malavoy's dapper suit and silky smooth demeanor (covering psychological demons within) often seems a Francophone version of Cary Grant."
~Desson Howe, Washington Post
A troubled young artist has a secret pastime: playing peeping tom with his sexy neighbor. When he admits to her that he has been spying on her, he finds to his horror she repays the obsession, ferociously. She leaves her fiancé, who turns out to be more insanely jealous than either of them. When the jilted fiancé disappears, the young artist is suspected of murder...which is only the beginning of his problems.
Winner of one French Academy Award and nominated for a second, hailed by audiences and critics alike, The Cry of the Owl is a landmark psychological thriller from director Claude Chabrol, France's Master of Suspense.
A pioneer of the French New Wave and a prolific director of brilliant modern films noir, Chabrol here pays tribute to his predecessors Alfred Hitchcock and Fritz Lang with an adaptation of a novel by mystery writer Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train).
This film was among Chabrol's most popular and successful films, but after an acclaimed theatrical run in 1987 it virtually disappeared, a casualty of a copyright dispute that scotched plans for its VHS release. Unavailable for 15 years, All Day Entertainment restores Chabrol's giddy thriller with a gorgeous letterboxed transfer from the 35mm masters, with an audio commentary by David Kalat and Ric Menello.
"It's a salient point that All Day Entertainment’s David Kalat makes during his brief interjection on the commentary track for "The Cry of the Owl," explaining his incentive in wanting to bring more Claude Chabrol films to DVD if for no other reason than to simply start getting any Chabrol films on DVD. Indeed, despite Chabrol's stature as one of the key figures in the French New Wave, the American DVD market has been largely devoid of Chabrol product... until now.
Though the 1987 thriller "The Cry of the Owl" ("Le Cri du Hibou") is hardly among Chabrol's best, it's definitely an atypical effort, and one which serves as an especially good example with which to explore Chabrol's oeuvre. Most of the commentary is provided by film historian Ric Menello, who knows Chabrol and the movie inside-out. It's an excellent commentary that not only covers the film, skillfully dissecting Chabrol's technique, but Chabrol's entire body of work, even citing other films which, hopefully, should all start soon appearing.
All of which leads into "The Cry of the Owl," a quintessentially Hitchcockian yarn about a deadly romantic triangle involving a peeping tom, his beautiful but obsessive neighbor and her even more obsessive boyfriend. Stars Christophe Malavoy and Mathilda May are at their most sophisticated and sexily alluring and surrounded at all times by Chabrol's trademark austere moodiness. Obvious parallels to other Highsmith and Hitchcock material can be drawn throughout, though it's never distracting from the overall effort. To fully appreciate what Chabrol and his collaborators are doing, however, one need only give ear to any portion of the excellent commentary which seems never at a loss for some crucial piece of information."
Collector Rating: WORTH FULL PRICE
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