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I Spit on Your Grave (1959)

J'irai cracher sur vos tombes (original title)
Joe Grant, a light-skinned African-African, heads to a small Southern town to investigate the lynching death of his brother. He draws the attention of a gorgeous heiress, who he learns may have been involved in the killing.


Michel Gast


Boris Vian (screenplay), Jacques Dopagne (screenplay) | 3 more credits »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Marquand ... Joe Grant
Antonella Lualdi ... Lizbeth Shannon
Fernand Ledoux ... Horace Chandley
Renate Ewert ... Sylvia Shannon
Marina Petrova ... Sheila (as Marina Petrowa)
Daniel Cauchy ... Sonny
Catherine Fonteney Catherine Fonteney ... Virginia Shannon
Claude Berri ... David
Jean Droze Jean Droze ... Ted
Gisèle Gallois ... Mona
Lud Germain Lud Germain ... Harrison - Le serviteur des Shannon (as Ludovic Germain)
Monique Just Monique Just ... Jay
Jean Sorel ... Elmer
Marie-Blanche Vergnes Marie-Blanche Vergnes ... Janet
André Versini André Versini ... Lex


In the American south, light-skinned Afro-American Joe Grant leaves Memphis and moves to a small town after his 18-year-old brother Sonny is brutally lynched for attempting to marry a white woman. Joe's skin is so light that he is able to pass himself off as Caucasian and find work in a local bookstore. To get revenge on white society, Joe seduces a rich young white girl Lizbeth Shannon, and plots her death. Meanwhile, Joe discovers that the bookstore where he works is a front for an extortion ring, and the town's intolerant men make his life miserable. They wish to kill him, out of racism and jealousy, because the women are attracted by Joe's masculine charms. As time goes by, Joe falls in love with Lizbeth. She loves him back until she learns that he is of African descent. Besides, she is engaged to another young man, Elmer. She suggests they run away together to avoid the blackmailers and the marriage. Joe is beaten by the blackmailers, but the pair manages to run away. Elder ... Written by Artemis-9

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Black Man... Don't Let The Sun Set On You in This Town. . . See more »


Crime | Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

26 June 1959 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

I Spit on Your Grave See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Poste Parisien)
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


At the premier, Boris Vian, who wrote the original novel, denounced the movie, collapsed in his seat and died. See more »


Featured in Drive-In Follies (1989) See more »


Surprise-partie Au Bord De L'eau
Composed and Conducted by Alain Goraguer
Performed by Alain Goraguer Et Son Ensemble
See more »

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User Reviews

Boris Vian disowned it reportedly...
23 February 2008 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

I've not read his novel,so I will not argue,but all that I can say is that the film is a complete disaster ;today in France everybody's forgotten all about the movie .Director Michel Gast has made only four movies in total.

The leads ,Antonella Lualdi and Christian Marquand ,had teamed up the precedent year in Astruc's excellent "Une Vie";but Gast left them to their own devices and it has to be seen to be believed.How could we believe Marquand is a black man with a white skin? (Vian's book was a pastiche ,they say)How could we believe that Daniel Cauchy (see Melville's "Bob le Flambeur") and Jean Sorel (Jean Sorel?) are "rebels without a cause "James Dean style?(the electric chair scene takes grotesque to new limits).And this macho racist man played by Paul Guers?And the old man played by veteran Fernand Ledoux ,the best actor in the whole movie,but in his worst part ever.

The script is so poor (I do not speak of the lines,particularly those when Guers tells Lualdi she is restive and he will take pleasure in taming her) it's difficult to catch up with the plot.The form is Nouvelle Vague style complete with jazz with borrowings from the American movies (the ending recalls Lang's "You only live once" and too many chase movies).If it's a plea against racism,then it thoroughly fails in its purpose.

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