Original en français: "la décade prodigieuse"
Directed by Claude Chabrol
Writing credits: Eugène Archer, Frederic Dannay, Paul Gardner, Paul Gégauff, Manfred Lee
Cast: Anthony Perkins, Michel Piccoli, Marlène Jobert, Orson Welles, Guido Alberti, Ermanno Casanova, Mathilde Ceccarelli, Eric Frisdal, Aline Mantovani, Corinne Koeningswarter, Tsilla Chelton, Giovanni Sciuto, Vittorio Sanipoli, Fabienne Gaugloff
Blackmail, the oedipal complex, and Christianity inform this bizarre, labyrinthine detective film from New Wave master Claude Chabrol, continuing his quest to unravel the traditional tenets of the genres within he works. La Decade Prodigieuse opens with Charles Van Horn (Anthony Perkins) awaking in an unfamiliar Parisian hotel room, covered in blood.
Dazed and confused, Charles calls upon an old philosophy professor, Paul Regis (Michel Piccoli) for help. When Regis goes to meet Charles at his palatial familial estate in the Alsatian woodlands, the film erupts in psychological and aesthetic twists and turns. Paul is confronted with Charles' Zeus-like father (Orson Welles) and his underage and sultry stepmother (with whom Charles is having an illicit affair). Separated from the rest of the world in the rarified realm of the claustrophobic villa, the Van Horn family enacts strange and cruel rituals of control and corruption upon each other, filled with blackmail, lies, and deception, all under the perfect surface of bourgeois complacency. Paul attempts to solve the mystery of Charles' strange behavior and along the way is enlisted by all parties to spy on each other. Employing stylized and stilted acting, with savvy art direction and cinematography, Chabrol subverts the viewers' expectations at every turn and creates an unlikely and disturbing psychological murder mystery.