• Diabolically Yours (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: November 19th, 2019.
    Director: Julien Duvivier
    Cast: Alain Delon, Senta Berger, Peter Mosbacher, Sergio Fantoni, Claude Piéplu
    Year: 1967
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    Diabolically Yours – Movie Review:

    As the opening credits scroll across the screen, we see, from the driver’s point of view, a sports car careening across the road at a hundred miles an hour. There’s a crash, and as the credits finish, we cut to a hospital where a man lies in bed. This man (Alain Delon) is addressed as Georges Campo and he’s just awoken from the coma he’s been in for the last three weeks. The doctor tells him he’s lucky to be alive and that he’s got amnesia. He also tells him that his wife, Christiane (Senta Berger) was thrown from the wreckage and is fine.

    Christiane shows up shortly after to take him home, seemingly quite relieved to find her husband is okay, even if his memory is clearly more than a little fuzzy. When they arrive at their massive estate out in the middle of the country, Georges is reintroduced to Freddie (Sergio Fantoni), his best friend and a doctor by trade. Freddie gets Georges on a strict regimen of pills that he promises will help him get his memory back. Meanwhile, the Chinese butler, Mr. Kim (Peter Mosbacher), takes care of their needs. All of this seems fine at first, but the more Georges starts to remember about the past, the more he realizes none of this is at all familiar – not the house, not the friend and not even the wife.

    “His Life is a Puzzle That Doesn't Add Up!”

    The final film directed by Julien Duvivier, Diabolically Yours (or Diaboliquement vôtre en Francais) is a wildly entertaining thriller, the kind that keeps you guessing right up until ‘FIN’ hits the screen. Plenty of twists and turns keep us engaged while the story unfolds, and it really is tough to figure out just where exactly all of this is going until the picture’s exciting conclusion. While the basic premise of a man losing his memory and trying to figure out what’s happening to him isn’t necessarily the most original plot device, Duvivier who co-wrote the film with Roland Girard (their screenplay based on a book by Louis C. Thomas), manages to keep things interesting and suspenseful throughout.

    The performances are very strong across the board, all four of the central actors doing very solid work. Sergio Fantoni is quite good as Freddie, his character keeping a bit of distance from the turmoil brewing between Georges and Christiane but still obviously invested in it. Peter Mosbacher, clearly not of Asian descent, nevertheless does well as Mr. Kim. He doesn’t have a lot of dialogue here but there’s a scene he shares in the film with Berger that is quite revealing and unexpected. Berger herself is great here, a ravishing beauty who delivers a fine turn as the female lead. We really don’t know if we should trust her or not, just like Georges, which is really the whole point of her character in the first place. Delon is just as good, going a little over the top in spots but doing a great job of portraying his character’s increasing paranoia and confusion.

    Production values are great across the board. The score is effective and moody, although the music over the opening credits is so jaunty that it makes you wonder if we’re in for some sort of sixties beach party movie rather than a dramatic thriller. Henri Decae's cinematography is excellent, occasionally gorgeous, and he uses a lot of very interesting and effective camera angles to help us get into Georges’ mindset in a few key scenes.

    Diabolically Yours – Blu-ray Review:

    Diabolically Yours comes to Blu-ray from Kino Lorber framed at 1.66.1 taken from a master provided by Studio Canal. The AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer looks very good. Detail is nice and strong throughout and color reproduction is excellent (this is really noticeable in terms of the late sixties fashions on display!). Skin tones look nice and normal and there are no problems with any noticeable compression artifacts or edge enhancement issues. The image is also pretty much spotless, showing virtually no print damage while retaining a bit of natural film grain, as you’d expect. No complaints here, the picture quality is very strong.

    The French language DTS-HD Mono track, which comes with optional English subtitles, does have some minor sibilance in a few spots but otherwise, it’s clean and nicely balanced. The score sounds good, and while this is a rather dialogue heavy movie, the gun shots that occur later in the film do have some nice punch behind them. Overall there aren’t any issues here, audio quality is just fine.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary track from Howard Berger and Nathanial Thompson, who describe it right off the bat as an ‘undervalued slice of French thriller goodness.’ The track is reasonably scene specific, they talk about the opening titles and the car crash, and as the opening credits play out offer some info about those who worked on the picture. There’s lots of talk here about director Julien Duvivier’s very prolific career and how he was received by critics of the time when the picture was made, the optimism that we share with Delon’s character early in the film, the cinematography and POV shots that are employed throughout the picture, the ridiculousness of Peter Mosbacher’s casting, the influence of Hitchcock on this and other French thrillers and how this compares to some of Claude Chabrol’s films, biographical details for Delon and Berger, the themes that the film explores (such as lust versus power versus sex and how it all plays into this), the visual contrasts that exist between Delon and Berger’s wardrobe choices, the impressive quality of the visuals, the complications brought in by some of the misogyny in the story as well as the paranoia and quite a bit more. It’s an interesting track, there’s just as much dissection of the themes that the picture exploits as there is facts and figures, but they dive pretty deep into this picture and it’s well worth listening to.

    Aside from that, the disc includes a trailer for the feature and a few bonus trailers for other Kino Lorber properties (Un Flic, Farewell Friend, The Sicilian Clan and Cast A Giant Shadow) as well as menus and chapter selection.

    Diabolically Yours – The Final Word:

    Diabolically Yours is an excellent thriller highlighted by some very strong performances and great production values. Kino Lorber’s Blu-ray release is a good one, presenting the film in beautiful shape and with an interesting commentary as its primary extra features. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized Diabolically Yours Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      This sounds great! I wasn't familiar with it at all but you've sold me on it. Damn your attacks on my wallet...

      It's kind of interesting that Senta Berger was in Duccio Tessari's PUZZLE a few years later. The plot involves a man with amnesia after being in a car wreck.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      I haven't seen Puzzle but I wonder if this was an influence!

      Sorry about your wallet, Andrew.
    1. VinceP's Avatar
      VinceP -
      Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Monroe View Post
      This sounds great! I wasn't familiar with it at all but you've sold me on it. Damn your attacks on my wallet...
      Currently on sale for $9.49 if that helps your wallet any:
    1. Scott's Avatar
      Scott -
      Quote Originally Posted by VinceP View Post
      Currently on sale for $9.49 if that helps your wallet any:
      LOL the Blu-Ray is actually cheaper than the DVD right now!
    1. Andrew Monroe's Avatar
      Andrew Monroe -
      Thanks very much, Vince! I guess I'll let Ian slide this one time....