Henri-Georges Clouzot's Les Diaboliques, from 1955, is now on rerelease. The icily brilliant suspense thriller about a bathroom murder is said to have inspired Alfred Hitchcock to make Psycho, but I suspect Hitchcock may also have been fascinated by the Patrick-Hamiltonish nature of the plot and its final twist. The director's wife, Véra Clouzot, plays Christina, the abused wife of Michel, a loathsome prep-school headmaster, superbly played by Paul Meurisse – a man openly having an affair with a teacher, Nicole (Simone Signoret), whom he is notorious for abusing quite as much as his wife. So Christina plots with Nicole to murder her husband, and square-jawed, square-shouldered Signoret plays the dominant "masculine" role in the plot, while scared, submissive Christina goes along with it. Satisfying, elegant and nasty.
Peter Bradshaw is the Guardian's film critic