St. Val's Mystery

St. Val's Mystery (original: French: Le Mystère de Saint-Val) is a 1945 black and white French comedy film starring Fernandel directed by René Le Hénaff,[2][3][4] Shot during the winter of 1944-1945 in the studios of Boulogne, this was the Fernandel's first film following the liberation of Paris.[5][6]

St. Val's Mystery
French language poster
(French: Le Mystère de Saint-Val)
Directed byRené Le Hénaff
Produced byÉdouard Harispuru
Written by
Music byRené Sylviano
CinematographyVictor Arménise
Edited byMarinette Cadix
Studios de Boulogne
Distributed byCompagnie Commerciale Française Cinématographique
Release date
  • September 19, 1945 (1945-09-19) (France)
Running time
102 minutes
Box office2,397,153 admissions (France)[1]

The film's original release title is Le mystère Saint-Val, and it was released in the United States in 1945 under the English title of St. Val's Mystery. It was then released in Denmark on October 23, 1950 as Det mystiske slot and in Portugal on June 1, 1954 as Fernandel, Polícia Amador.


An insurance-office clerk Désiré Le Sec (Fernandel) dreams of being a great detective. The clerk's uncle (Marcel Carpentier) is his boss at that agency, and sends Désiré out on a frivolous mission to Saint-Val Castle, where the master of places has been found dead through mysterious circumstances. Désiré uncovers a real life murder and becomes mixed up with the murder case, ending up spending a night in the forbidding and spooky old Saint-Val castle.



The film was a big hit in France, recording admissions of 2,397,153.[1]

James Travers of Film de France offered that the film appears to have borrowed its plot from Ten Little Indians but with a "decidedly unfunny comic twist".[4] When seen with the now-removed musical numbers it contained in its original release, the film "was probably more digestible".[4] Summarizing, Travers felt the gags were predictable, the plot "hackneyed and pedestrian", and the "unimaginative pay-off definitely does not reward" the viewer.,[4] concluding that this marked the film as "clearly not Fernandel's finest hour".[4]


  1. Fernandel films box office in France at Box Office Story
  2. Hal Erickson, Rovi. "Le Mystere Saint Val (1944)". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  3. Hébrard, Patrick. "Le Mystère Saint-Val". Aveleyman. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  4. Travers, James (2014). "Le Mystere Saint-Val (1945)". Films de France. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  5. staff (4 September 2011). "Le mystère Saint-Val" (in French). Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  6. Morvan, Julien (5 August 2012). ""LE MYSTERE SAINT-VAL" (de René Le Hénaff, 1945)" (in French). Lagedordu Cinema Francais. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
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