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Web of Passion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Web of Passion
Directed byClaude Chabrol
Written byClaude Chabrol
Paul Gégauff
Based onThe Key to Nicholas Street by Stanley Ellin
Produced byRobert and Raymond Hakim
StarringAntonella Lualdi
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Bernadette Lafont
Madeleine Robinson
CinematographyHenri Decaë
Music byPaul Misraki
Release date
  • 1959 (1959)
Running time
110 minutes
Box office1,446,479 admissions (France)[1]

Web of Passion (also released as Leda, original French title: À double tour) is a 1959 French/Italian psychological thriller film directed by Claude Chabrol and based on the novel The Key to Nicholas Street by American writer Stanley Ellin. It was Chabrol's first film in colour and his first thriller, which would be his genre of choice for the rest of his career. The film had a total of 1,445,587 admissions in France.[2]


In a country mansion in Provence, Henri and Thérèse live in grand style with their two grown-up children, Richard and Élisabeth. A small villa next door is taken by a beautiful young Italian artist called Leda, who turned up with an ebullient Hungarian friend Laszlo. Leda has started a romance with Henri while Laszlo, to the dismay of her mother, has got engaged to Élisabeth. Seeing Leda's pain at being in love with a married man who still shares his wife”s bed, Laszlo urges Henri to leave home and make a new life with Leda. The son Richard, seeing his mother's pain and shame if she loses her husband, goes secretly to the villa and kills Leda. After a peremptory investigation, the police arrest the innocent milkman. Working out that the person with motive and opportunity was Richard, Laszlo waterboards him in a pond and extracts a confession for family ears only. Thérèse wants the secret kept in the family but Élisabeth says he must confess to the police and save the milkman. After asking Henri if he can forgive him, which the father cannot, Richard goes off to the police.



Produced by Robert and Raymond Hakim, it was Chabrol's first big-budget color film. It was shot by cinematographer Henri Decaë on location in Aix-en-Provence.[3]


Belmondo plays a character named Laszlo Kovacs, which was the alias of his character Michel Poiccard in Breathless. (This character has nothing to do with the real-life cinematographer László Kovács, who was then unknown.)


Madeleine Robinson won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress in 1959 for her role in this film.[4] With 1,445,587 admissions in France, it was Chabrol's third most popular film in his career.[5]

The Film Quarterly reviewer wrote: "Chabrol here shows himself as a sort of cross between Hitchcock... and Minnelli", and praised the film's "flamboyant, glorious color" and "astonishing tours de force camerawork."[6] Time Out commented: "Chabrol's third film, greeted at the time as a Hitchcock pastiche,... has gained considerably in stature," and added that "the climactic murder of the mistress... reveals the first glimpses of the Fritz Lang influence later to flower in Chabrol's work."[7] Roy Armes was more critical, saying that "Chabrol's lack of feeling for his characters and love for overacting becomes evident in his handling of the minor characters, and the love scenes which should be moving are simply cinematic clichés."[8]


  1. ^ Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. ^
  3. ^ Wakeman, John (1987–1988). World film directors: Volume Two 1945-1985. H.W. Wilson. ISBN 0824207572. OCLC 16925324.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Claude Chabrol - JPBox-Office". Retrieved 2019-09-21.
  6. ^ Callenbach, Ernest (1962-07-01). "Review: Web of Passion". Film Quarterly. 15 (4): 55–56. doi:10.2307/1211194. ISSN 0015-1386. JSTOR 1211194.
  7. ^ "A Double Tour 1959, directed by Claude Chabrol". Time Out London. Retrieved 2019-09-21.
  8. ^ Armes, Roy. (1985). French cinema. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 177. OCLC 456494962.

External links

This page was last edited on 1 November 2021, at 22:11
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