In this heartbreaking drama based on Jean Cocteau‘s highly successful stage play, a mother smothers her grown son with boyish love. When the son (played by Cocteau regular Jean Marais) meets a girl and leaves the family circle, the mother flies into a rage. But when the young man tells his father, it sets off another drama – she is none other than the girl (Josette Day, star of Cocteau’s classic Beauty and the Beast)the father has been secretly seeing. Tragedy strikes in this time-honored tale of fledglings leaving the family nest.
Les Parents Terribles, originally released in 1948, stands in the middle of Jean Cocteau’s long and prolific career as poet, playwright, novelist, artist and filmmaker, whose Beauty and the Beast, The Blood of a Poet and Testament of Orpheusstand as cinematic monuments to his singular genius. The film received universal critical praise immediately upon its arrival, with famed critic and film theorist André Bazin saying Cocteau had achieved “pure cinema.” Cocteau himself said, “I must admit that is, cinematically speaking, my great success.”
Today’s leading critics continue to praise the film. Alan Scherstuhl of The Village Voice called it “alive at every moment to the possibilities of the screen.” The Los Angeles Times’ Robert Abele said, “Cocteau’s fluid mastery of the material brings aesthetic sanity to the psychological conflicts.” Glenn Kenny, writing in The New York Times, said, “The fluidity of the shooting and cutting … demonstrates Cocteau’s unique command of the medium.”
Les Parents Terribles Blu-Ray-$25.99
Les Parents Terribles DVD-$19.99