Head Against the Wall

Head Against the Wall (French: La Tête contre les murs) is a 1959 French drama film directed by Georges Franju which stars Pierre Brasseur, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Mocky, Anouk Aimée, and Charles Aznavour. Called The Keepers on its English release, the story follows an aimless young man who is institutionalized for defying his wealthy father, and in the process airs several questions about how society defines and treats mental illness.

Head Against the Wall
Directed byGeorges Franju
Written byBook author:
Herve Bazin
Jean-Pierre Mocky
StarringPierre Brasseur
Paul Meurisse
Jean-Pierre Mocky
Anouk Aimée
Charles Aznavour
Jean Galland
CinematographyEugen Schüfftan
Music byMaurice Jarre
Release date
  • 1959 (1959)
Running time
95 minutes


François, motherless son of an influential lawyer, has no qualifications, and no job. To mix with rich and superficial friends, he has borrowed money that he cannot repay. In desperation, he breaks into his father's desk, steals his cash, and wantonly burns his legal documents. Rather than call in the police, with the connivance of a doctor, his father has him committed to an isolated psychiatric hospital in the country.

There, he discovers that many of the inmates are not seriously deranged, but that Dr Varmont, the head of the institution, is a man of rigid views. Two friends he makes are Lenoir, a criminal hiding from gangland revenge, and Heurtevent, a gentle epileptic. To his joy, on the first Sunday, he has a visitor: This is Stéphanie, a girl he met on his last night of freedom, who knows he is not insane and urges him to get a grip of his life. His father visits after he tells Dr Varmont he wants to be reconciled, but the meeting is a failure, and release seems remote. With Heurtevent, he breaks out, but when his friend collapses in an epileptic fit, the two are re-captured. In despair, Heurtevent hangs himself.

As the hospital cemetery is outside the walls, François plans another escape during the funeral. Lenoir gives him an address in Paris where he can get a bed and a job. Making a successful getaway, he calls at the address to find it is an illegal gambling den. Unsure if that is a world he wants to be in, he goes unannounced to Stéphanie's room, where she welcomes him, and they spend the night together. In the morning, two plainclothes men call, to be told by Stéphanie she knows nothing of his whereabouts. As soon as they have gone, François slips out, and, caught by them on the stairs, is rushed back to the asylum.



Ma Période Française
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedFebruary 2005
GenreFilm music
LabelPlay Time

Long after the film's original release, in February 2005, the French soundtrack record label Play Time released the soundtrack on compact disc, along with other soundtracks performed by Maurice Jarre. This also includes soundtracks from other Franju films, including Eyes Without a Face and Thérèse Desqueyroux.[1]

Track listingEdit

All music is composed by Maurice Jarre[1].

1."Générique / Surprise-partie"La Tête contre les Murs4:30
2."Thème de Stéphanie"La Tête contre les Murs4:30
3."Enterrement à l'asile"La Tête contre les Murs2:44
4."Générique"Eyes Without a Face2:05
5."Thème romantique"Eyes Without a Face2:50
6."Filature"Eyes Without a Face1:23
7."Des phares dans la nuit"Eyes Without a Face3:32
8."Valse poursuite"Eyes Without a Face1:45
9."Final"Eyes Without a Face1:01
10."Générique"Thérèse Desqueyroux1:54
11."Non-lieu"Thérèse Desqueyroux1:35
12."Thérèse Desqueyroux"Thérèse Desqueyroux2:50
13."La femme idéale"Les Dragueurs2:36
14."La ballade des dragueurs"Les Dragueurs2:47
15."Surboum chez Ghislaine"Les Dragueurs2:01
16."L'oiseau de paradis"L'Oiseau de Paradis2:48
17."L'univers d'Utrillo"Un court-métrage de Georges Régnier 4:44
18."Générique"Le Soleil dans l'œil2:28
19."Thème"Mort, où est ta Victoire ?3:30
20."Valse de Platonov"Recours en Grâce3:50
21."Les animaux (générique)"Les Animaux1:20
22."Pavane des flamands roses"Les Animaux2:43
23."La fête"Les Animaux2:18
24."Surf des loutres"Les Animaux1:59
25."Mourir à Madrid"Mourir à Madrid4:21
26."Générique"Week-End à Zuydcoote2:28
27."Sergent Maillat"Week-End à Zuydcoote3:10
28."Final"Week-End à Zuydcoote1:29
Total length:71:11


  1. ^ a b "Anthologie 80ème Anniversaire" (in French). FGL Productions. Retrieved 2008-08-26.

External linksEdit