Testament du Docteur Cordelier, Le (1959, FRA) B&W-95m. *** D: Jean Renoir. Starring Jean-Louis Barrault, Teddy Bilis, Sylviane Margollé, Michel Vitold, Bernard Fresson. To some it may come as a surprise that master director Jean Renoir also tried his hands at horror, but he did: Barrault plays the title character, who delivers a strange testament to his notary-friend Bilis. After his death, the doctor will pass on his wealth to a stranger. The notary is baffled when just this mysterious man is seen attacking people. What is the mystery behind Cordelier? Renoir keeps things a little too scientific and talky, but his film works. An interesting early outing for the post-WW2 European horror film. Renoir himself appears in brief prologue. English titles: THE TESTAMENT OF DOCTOR CORDELIER, EXPERIMENT IN EVIL, THE DOCTOR'S HORRIBLE EXPERIMENT, and strangely also THE HORRIBLE DOCTOR HITCHCOCK, which is also the English title of the Riccardo Freda chiller L'ORRIBILE SEGRETO DEL DR. HITCHCOCK (1962).


© Ron Altman