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With: Christophe Malavoy, Mathilda May, Jacques Penot, Jean-Pierre Kalfon
Written by: Claude Chabrol, Odile Barski, based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith
Directed by: Claude Chabrol
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 102
Date: 10/28/1987

The Cry of the Owl (1987)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

'Owl' Play

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It makes perfect sense that director Claude Chabrol would take on Patricia Highsmith, as he did with his 1987 film The Cry of the Owl. Not only do their sensibilities click, but Chabrol once authored a book on Hitchcock and Hitchcock adapted Highsmith's Strangers on a Train to the cinema.

In The Cry of the Owl, a draftsman (Christophe Malavoy) begins spying on gorgeous Matilda May (best known in this country as the voluptuous naked alien in Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce), after being separated from his dangerously manipulative wife. May is already engaged to Jacques Penot but becomes fascinated with Malavoy after the two finally meet. Their relationship becomes ever more dangerous when Penot turns up murdered and Malavoy takes the blame.

Chabrol is a master at this kind of thing, reveling in the darkness and twists of fate that he learned from Hitchcock and Fritz Lang. Some reviewers have charged the film with coldness and cruelty, but Chabrol gets inside Highsmith and remains true to both her and to himself.

DVD Details: The Cry of the Owl DVD (Image Entertainment, $24.99) is a bit spotty in quality and even lacks a timer count, much to my frustration. But the movie itself is still worth seeing.

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