Detective Marco is assigned to investigate a murder that has occurred at an exclusive boarding school for adolescent girls. The victim is a popular, wealthy girl found strangled in her bed.... See full summary »
Adapted from a novel by Stanislas Steeman about a murder in a senior girls' boarding school this film is surprisingly lighthearted and delightful with some nice comedic touches. The cast is fabulous and therein lies its main attraction. The Inspector is played by Jean Marais whose charisma is undeniable while Francoise Arnoul is delightful as 'une pensionnaire' who is attracted to him and helps him crack the case.
Fascinating to see a younger Jeanne Moreau a few years before her breakthrough roles for Louis Malle. Even here she has 'Ingredient X' in spades.As the mathematics teacher we have the fascinating Katherine Kath whose ballet career was cut short by an accident but was able to exhibit her dancing skills as La Goulue in 'Moulin Rouge' for John Huston. When questioned in her room by Inspector Marco he notices that she has a photograph on her table of one of the pupils of whom she seems particularly fond. Read into that what you will. The pupil is played by the intriguing Dany Carrel who was taken when young from her Vietnamese mother and was certainly no stranger herself to boarding schools! Denise Grey is tremendous as the headmistress and Noel Roquevert is good value as always as the crusty restaurateur. I must confess that the appeal and popularity of Louis de Funes have always mystified me but here he is on screen for just long enough.
Cinematography is by Robert Lefebvre and production design by Rene Renoux.
Georges van Parys contributes a delightful score. At the risk of offending the PC brigade, the costumes by Rosine Delamare render all of 'les pensionnaires' utterly tantalising. The scene where the Inspector observes the girls as they perform their callisthenics on the lawn is priceless.
A very well made, entertaining film and although perhaps not one of Henri Decoin's best it is decidedly not one of his worst!