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The Witness (1978 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Witness
The Witness (1978 film).jpg
Directed byJean-Pierre Mocky
Produced byJacques Dorfmann
Written byRodolfo Sonego
Augusto Caminito
Sergio Amidei
Jean-Pierre Mocky
Alberto Sordi
Jacques Dreux
StarringAlberto Sordi
Philippe Noiret
Music byPiero Piccioni
CinematographySergio D'Offizi
Release date
  • 1978-09-20 (1978-09-20)

The Witness (French: Le Témoin, Italian: Il testimone) is a French-Italian crime-thriller film written and directed by Jean-Pierre Mocky and starring Alberto Sordi and Philippe Noiret. It is loosely based on the novel Shadow of a Doubt by Harrison Judd.[1][2]


Italian artist Antonio Berti is invited by his French friend Robert Maurisson to restore the paintings in the Reims Cathedral. He needs a model and selects Cathy, a teenage girl from the local church choir. Despite her angelic demeanor, the girl makes sexually explicit comments while posing for Antonio. One day, Cathy goes missing, and her dead body is later found in a canal, not far from an empty house owned by Maurisson. Antonio remembers seeing his friend Robert near the house on the night of the crime, but the latter denies it and has an alibi. Instead, the police turn their attention to Berti who is an outsider and can't provide an alibi. Later, Robert privately confesses to Antonio, and suggests they both would escape to a country that doesn't have capital punishment. Cathy's father then mistakenly assassinates Maurisson, who was driving Berti's car. Having lost the only person who could prove his innocence, Antonio is convicted and sentenced to death.



Initially, the director Mocky chose Jean Gabin for the leading role, that of a piano teacher accused of murdering a young girl. The actor agreed but said he wanted Philippe Noiret to be his screen partner. Noiret agreed as well but Gabin died during the pre-production stage. Noiret suggested Alberto Sordi, in that case the film could be a co-production with Italy. The profession of the protagonist was changed to be an art restorer, and the production was moved to Rome though several scenes were filmed in and around Reims where the action takes place. Sordi's participation posed another problem—there is no capital punishment in Italy, and screenwriter Sergio Amidei had to find an acceptable ending for the Italian audiences. Thus two endings were created: Sordi's character is guillotined in the French version, and the Italian version only alludes to it, and shows flashbacks with a smiling Sordi having good times in Reims.[3]


  1. ^ Roberto Chiti; Roberto Poppi; Enrico Lancia. Dizionario del cinema italiano: I film. Gremese, 1991. ISBN 8876059695.
  2. ^ Paolo Mereghetti. Il Mereghetti - Dizionario dei film. B.C. Dalai Editore, 2010. ISBN 8860736269.
  3. ^ Mocky, Jean-Pierre (2014). La longue marche: entretiens avec Noël Simsolo. Paris: Neige. ISBN 9782359051568. OCLC 876380134.

External links

This page was last edited on 2 January 2021, at 23:50
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