La Vérité (film)

La Vérité (occasionally released under its English translation The Truth) is a 1960 French film directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, and starring Brigitte Bardot. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[2]

La Vérité
Film poster
Directed byHenri-Georges Clouzot
Produced byRaoul Lévy
Written byHenri-Georges Clouzot
Véra Clouzot
Simone Drieu
Jérôme Géronimi
Michèle Perrein
Christiane Rochefort
StarringBrigitte Bardot
Charles Vanel
Paul Meurisse
CinematographyArmand Thirard
Edited byAlbert Jurgenson
C. E. I. A. P.
Han Productions
Ina Production
Distributed byKingsley-International Pictures (US)
Release date
  • 2 November 1960 (1960-11-02)
Running time
130 minutes
Box office5,694,993 admissions (France)[1]


Dominique Marceau is a young Frenchwoman on trial for killing her lover, Gilbert.

The prosecuting attorney, Eparvier, claims it was an act of premeditated murder that warrants the death penalty. The defense attorney, Guérin, maintains that it was an act of passion, and not punishable by death.

During the course of the trial, we see the events that led up to the crime. Dominque's parents let her move to Paris after she tried to kill herself when they initially refused. She had been living on the Paris Left Bank with her violinist sister Annie, partying, and sleeping with men.

She meets Gilbert, her sister's boyfriend, a music student. Dominique seduces Gilbert, and he falls for her and proposed, but she turns him down. They live together for a time, but Dominique struggles with domesticity, and Gilbert is constantly worried she will cheat on him. Eventually, they break up.

Over time, Dominique becomes a prostitute, while Gilbert becomes a famous conductor. Gilbert and Anne become engaged. Dominique realises that Gilbert was the only man she ever loved, and they sleep together. However, he kicks her out the next day.

She tries to kill herself to prove her love, but when he mocks her, she shoots him. She then attempts suicide, but is found and rescued by the police.

At the end of the trial, Dominique realises the jury is unconvinced that her love for Gilbert was real. She returns to her prison cell, and slashes her wrists with a piece of broken mirror.



Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and Jean Louis Trintignant were all considered for the lead role - Trintignant was Bardot's choice - before Clouzot decided to go with Sami Frey.[3]

Philippe Leroy-Beaulieu, one of the male leads, was fired during shooting. Leroy-Beaulieu then sued the producer for damages of 300,000 francs. Charrier had a nervous breakdown, and was hospitalised for two months. Vera Clouzot had a nervous breakdown in July. In August, Clouzot had a heart attack, and filming was suspended for a week.[4] Also, Bardot's secretary of four years sold secrets about her to the press.[3]

During filming, Bardot had an affair with Sami Frey, which resulting in her breaking up with her then-husband Jacques Charrier. In September 1960, Bardot had an argument with Charrier, and then attempted suicide by slashing her wrist. (Charrier had earlier attempted suicide himself.) [5][6]


Box Office

In the words of The New York Times, "probably no film in recent years - at least in France - has been subjected to so much advance attention. Two years in the planning, six months in the shooting, sets sealed to the press, and all culminating in the suicide attempt of the drama's star, Brigitte Bardot. The public had been told that Clouzot was turning B. B. into a real actress."[7]

The film was a massive box office hit in France, Bardot's biggest ever success at the box office,[1] and the third most popular film of the year (after Ben Hur and Le Bossu).[8]

Critical reception

The Los Angeles Times called the film "an amazing picture, a tour de force from all concerned. It is at once immoral, amoral, and strangely moral".[9]

See also


  1. Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. "The 33rd Academy Awards (1961) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  3. Barnett Singer, Brigitte Bardot: A Biography, MacFarland 2006 p 58-64 accessed 30 December 2014
  4. Brigitte: Bardot By MAURICE ZOLOTO. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) [Washington, D. C] 09 Oct 1960: AW8.
  5. BRIGITTE BARDOT TRIES VILLA HIDEOUT SUICIDE: Reported Out of Danger Incomplete Source Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 29 Sep 1960: 1.
  6. Brigitte Tries to End Her Life: Latest Love Spat Depresses Her Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 30 Sep 1960: 5.
  7. REFLECTIONS ON THE PARISIAN SCREEN SCENE By CYNTHIA GRENIER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 20 Nov 1960: X9.
  8. "1960 at the Box Office". Box Office Story.
  9. Bardot Film: Immoral, Amoral, Moral Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 19 Mar 1961: l3.
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