Wedding in Blood (1973)

Wedding in Blood (1973)

“I’m truly very happy — happy to see that, thanks to my wife, your widowhood is not too hard for you.”

The wife (Stephane Audran) of a small town mayor (Claude Pieplu) carries on a torrid affair with her husband’s married deputy (Michel Piccoli); soon they’re driven to spousal murder by their uncontrollable lust for one another.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Claude Chabrol Films
  • French Films
  • Infidelity
  • Plot to Murder

While this Hitchcockian thriller by Claude Chabrol doesn’t tread much new ground in its treatment of adulterous lovers who are driven to murder, it remains a reasonably entertaining satire of the foolhardy passions which often simmer beneath the veneer of bourgeois respectability. The most enjoyable character in the film (despite his pigheaded, corrupt demeanor) is undoubtedly Claude Pieplu as the cuckolded husband who takes what he believes will be sweet revenge on his philandering wife; his reaction to learning about her affair is both classic and original. Less satisfying is the odd denouement, which hinges entirely on the emergent morality of Audran’s beautiful teenage daughter (Eliana De Santis) — unfortunately, she’s not a strong enough character (as written) to make this plot device convincing. Although Wedding in Blood has been lauded by many critics as one of Chabrol’s best outings, I can’t quite agree.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Claude Pieplu as Audran’s cuckolded yet cocky husband
  • Audran and Piccoli’s ridiculously passionate love affair

Must See?
No, but it’s worth viewing once. Listed as a film with Historical Importance (although I’m not sure why) and a Personal Recommendation in the back of Peary’s book.


One thought on “Wedding in Blood (1973)

  1. Speaking as a Chabrol fan, this is not really a must – and, agreed, not among the director’s finest.

    That said, it’s certainly competent – and the second half is more compelling than the first, esp. with its subtle twist at the end.

    The main distraction, however, in this tale of l’amour fou is that the lovers come across as such…drips. And kind of dumb. And not that I’m prudish but they tend to not make love as much as dine on each other. Indeed, Piccoli’s abandon is such that he tends to grab Audran like a beast at his kill. And she likes it. Yeah, well, ok…[spoiler ahead]

    The other odd point is that the murder of Audran’s husband seems so unnecessary – seeing as he seems relieved to have his intimacy issues off his hands. (Agreed, as well, that Pieplu does the acting honors here.)

    All told, not a waste of time. But Chabrol has done better.

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