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Mystery of the Yellow Room , The

Director: Gaston Leroux

FRANCE-BELGIUM| 2003. ENGLISH SUBTITLES. COLOUR. ANAMORPHIC. DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO. 118 MINUTES.


Set in the early 1900s, this fourth film adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s celebrated ‘locked-room’ mystery novel boasts a marvellous cast and outstanding production design. Director Bruno Podalydes is obviously a great fan of the genre, and also of veteran French director Alain Resnais, many of whose actors have roles in this amusing yet respectful pastiche of the old-style detective story. Resnais regular Sabine Azema plays Mathilde, who is attacked in her bedroom at château Glandier by an unknown assailant. Who would want to kill her and how could they enter and leave a room which was locked from the inside? The police suspect Mathilde’s fiance, but reporter and amateur sleuth Joseph Rouletabille (Denis Podalydes, the director’s brother) has another theory. Assisted by his loyal photographer, Sinclair, Rouletabille goes about solving the mystery of the yellow room and makes some astonishing discoveries . . .
What sets Podalydes’ film apart is its pleasing sense of nostalgia, as evident in the moody wide-screen photography, slightly parodied characterisations and mesmerising interludes featuring mechanical ‘toys’.Of the wonderful performances, Jean-Noël Broute is especially endearing as Sinclair, Rouletabille’s hopeless sidekick. The episode in which Rouletabille forces Sinclair to stay on guard inside a grandfather clock is the stuff of film legend.

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