Dr. Popaul

Dr. Popaul is a 1972 French black comedy film directed by Claude Chabrol. also known under the titles High Heels and Scoundrel in White.

Dr. Popaul
Theatrical Release Poster
Directed byClaude Chabrol
Produced byAndré Génovès
Georges Casati
Jean Paul Belmondo (uncredited)
Written byPaul Gégauff
Based onthe novel Murder at Leisure by Hubert Monteilhet
StarringJean-Paul Belmondo
Mia Farrow
Laura Antonelli
CinematographyJean Rabier
Certio Films
Les Films de la Boétie
Rizzoli Film
Distributed byIndependent Artists (US)
Release date
  • 1972 (1972)
Running time
115 minutes
Box office2,062,042 admissions (France)[1]

The film was based on the 1969 novel Murder at Leisure by Hubert Monteilhet.


Dr. Paul Simay, an inveterate womanizer, now confined to a hospital bed, reminisces on his life. His passion was to court and bed unattractive women because he found them more fascinating. While on vacation in Tunisia, he met Christine, a shy young woman with a crippled leg. Paul seduced her, only to discover later that her father, Dr. Dupont is one of his professors at the medical school in Bordeaux, who also owns a clinic in the city. Dupont offered Paul a deal: if the latter married Christine, he would inherit the Dupont clinic. Paul agreed but at the wedding he met Christine's beautiful younger sister Martine. Paul then found creative ways to repel or eliminate Martine's suitors one by one, so he can have her for himself. He began drugging Christine at night so he could sneak out and sleep with Martine. Everything was going well until a curious car accident left him bedridden.



The film was the first movie from Belmondo's own production company, Cerito Films.


At the time of its release, it was the biggest hit of Chabrol's career. However it was not released in Britain until 1976, where it was titled Scoundrel in White.[2] It was not released in the US until 1981, where it had the title High Heels.[3]

The film received mixed reviews upon release.The New York Times said "the performances are uniformly good" but "more interesting than the movie itself is the way its concerns with guilt and roletrading relate to other, far better Chabrol films."[4] Time Out called it a "coarse farce" that "looked more like the director's revenge on the French mass audience, who had consistently ignored his good movies, but would accept anything with Belmondo."[5] "It stinks" said the Los Angeles Times.[6]


  1. Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. Mainly on the Plain Janes The Guardian (1959-2003) [London (UK)] 02 Jan 1976: 10.
  3. Film: Chabrol's 'High Heels' And Schatzberg's 'Dandy': Twists of Fate Canby, Vincent. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 26 June 1981: C8.
  4. Canby, Vincent (1981-06-26). "Chabrol's 'High Heels' and Schatzberg's 'Dandy'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  5. "Docteur Popaul 1972 | Film review". Time Out London. Retrieved 2019-09-03.
  6. WORST FOOT FORWARD IN 'HIGH HEELS' Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 11 Dec 1981: j24.

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