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1948, Lobster Films, 97 min, France, Dir: Jean-Devaivre

Among the most accomplished features by director Jean-Devaivre (whose career helped inspire Bertrand Tavernier’s SAFE CONDUCT), this thriller puts the conventions of the detective film to wonderfully entertaining use. When a pharmaceutical magnate begins receiving anonymous threatening letters, Stanislas-Octave Seminario (future DIABOLIQUE star Paul Meurisse) is enlisted to help; as “SOS” investigates, the mystery deepens when a member of the magnate’s family is poisoned, murmuring “the lady of eleven o'clock” as he died.

1962, Gaumont, 90 min, France/Italy, Dir: Marcel Bluwal

A highly fruitful collaboration between actor-director Robert Hossein and hard-boiled novelist Frédéric Dard (THE WICKED GO TO HELL, BLONDE IN A WHITE CAR) comes to an end with this spooky sendup of ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS, where ex-con Hossein returns to his old criminal haunts on Christmas Eve only to hook up with a mysterious, alluring woman (Lea Massari) whose circumstances become more complicated and bizarre as the evening progresses. In the midst of the “elevating” terror, one senses director Bluwal’s tongue subtly in cheek.

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