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Les Enfants Terribles (1950)

Les enfants terribles (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 28 July 1952 (USA)
The dangerously obsessive relationship between a psychologically manipulative brother and sister who isolate themselves and draw others into their mind games.

Writers:

Jean Cocteau (novel), Jean Cocteau (adaptation)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Nicole Stéphane ... Elisabeth
Edouard Dermithe ... Paul
Renée Cosima Renée Cosima ... Dargelos / Agathe
Jacques Bernard Jacques Bernard ... Gerard
Melvyn Martin Melvyn Martin ... Michael
Maria Cyliakus Maria Cyliakus ... The Mother
Jean-Marie Robain Jean-Marie Robain ... Headmaster
Maurice Revel Maurice Revel ... Doctor
Rachel Devirys
Adeline Aucoc Adeline Aucoc ... Mariette
Emile Mathys Emile Mathys ... Vice Principal
Roger Gaillard Roger Gaillard ... Gerard's Uncle
Jean Cocteau ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Annabel Buffet Annabel Buffet ... Le mannequin
Karin Lannby Karin Lannby ... The Mother
Edit

Storyline

In a snowball fight between schoolboys the handsome Dargelos hits the chest of Paul, who drops unconscious to the ground. Paul has a deep affection for Dargelos, and later denies that there was a stone in the snowball that hit him. Back home Paul's sister Elisabeth takes care of him. The teenage siblings live together in one room, where they have developed several private games. Paul's schoolmate Gérard is secretly enamored of Elisabeth, and often stays with them. When Elisabeth introduces her new friend Agathe to Paul, he recognizes that she resembles Dargelos strongly, and immediately falls in love with her. Elisabeth marries a rich young American Jew, Michael, but he dies in a car accident the day after the wedding. Elisabeth inherits his big apartment with 18 rooms and a gallery, and the four friends move into it. Paul sleeps in the gallery, where he builds a replica of the siblings' old room. Both Paul and Agathe are secretly enamored of the other. When each of them reveals this ... Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

a love story by Jean Cocteau

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

28 July 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les Enfants Terribles See more »

Filming Locations:

Ermenonville, Oise, France See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Melville Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Euphonic Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean Cocteau was allowed a day of shooting, when Jean-Pierre Melville wasn't feeling up to the mark. Cocteau was to follow Melville's instructions exactly or do nothing at all. Eight shots in all, which were supposed to be of a summer's day but were done in midwinter in the rain. See more »

Goofs

The amount of blood on Paul's face changes between when he is in the shop and when he is in the taxi. See more »

Quotes

Elisabeth: Paul is a free man, but he's hopelessly retarded.
Paul: Isn't she charming?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The song that Michael sings while sitting at the piano was deleted for the original American release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Meet Me on the Southbank (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Were You Smiling At Me
Words and Music by Melvyn Martin
Performed by Melvyn Martin
See more »

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User Reviews

Like Rimbaud's poetry
24 July 2007 | by danielhsfSee all my reviews

I saw this twice in a single day. And couldn't stop watching this after. Each time I start watching a Hollywood movie I can't help but surrender back to this surrealist nutjob where nothing is really definable.

Much of the literature I've read on this focus on the unlikely collaboration between Jean Cocteau and Jean-Pierre Melville, with most putting it in context of Cocteau's other films. But I've always thought that Cocteau's Orphée, made during the same period, feels static and leaden amidst the classical style of its 50's direction. Les Enfants Terribles, while retaining a very classical premise, is completely revolutionary, resembling the unruly romanticism of Rimbaud's poetry. Nothing in the film stays the same - everything is constantly shifting; dyamics are constantly changing; even the sets change in subtle ways. Everything is made purposefully ambiguous and ambivalent such that paradoxes and contradictions abound in a single emotion. But ultimately, as all great Melvillian films are, the film is about the futility of humanity in the face of life and death.

I could go on and on about this movie; Melville is truly one of the great poets of cinema.


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