Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
Year Released: 1955
Starts off slowly, trying desperately to turn the schoolmaster into this wicked, evil man, who abuses Simone Signoret and cheats on wife Vera Clouzot (he's nasty and abusive and obnoxiously evil). So, to get rid of him, and get rid of the school they run (which is pricey to repair), the two ladies decide to off him. This plan goes horribly awry, and everything becomes more and more complicated and intriguing as the story goes on, towards what critics and myself agree is one of the greatest endings in film history (so great, in fact, that it has been remade countless times). It's no doubt a classic, and showcases a magnificent performance by Signoret, who engineers the murder. Doesn't really hold up to heavy scrutiny (pictures with endings like this, including The Usual Suspects, tend to make you pick at it far more than standard movies with routine endings); had it been a better-rounded picture (the first two acts fail to equal the intensity of the third), my rating would have been higher.