Thérèse Raquin (1953 film)

Thérèse Raquin (also The Adultress) is a 1953 French-Italian drama film directed by Marcel Carné and starring Simone Signoret and Raf Vallone. The story is loosely based on the 1867 novel of the same title by Émile Zola but updated to 1953. It was screened at the 14th Venice International Film Festival where it won the Silver Lion.

Thérèse Raquin
Thérèse Raquin (1953 film).jpg
Directed byMarcel Carné
Written byMarcel Carné
Charles Spaak
Émile Zola (novel)
Produced byRaymond Hakim
Robert Hakim
StarringSimone Signoret
Raf Vallone
Jacques Duby
CinematographyRoger Hubert
Edited byMarthe Gottie
Suzanne Rondeau
Henri Rust
Music byMaurice Thiriet
Distributed byParis Film Productions
Release date
  • 6 November 1953 (1953-11-06)
Running time
102 minutes


Thérèse, an orphan, has been brought up by her widowed aunt in a dingy backstreet shop in Lyon and married to her sickly first cousin Camille. Into their stifling existence comes Laurent, a lively Italian truck driver. He is immediately struck by Thérèse, who succumbs to him but will not abandon her husband and aunt. Once aware of the relationship, Camille and his mother plot to get rid of Thérèse.

Camille will take her to Paris and hand her over to another aunt, but Laurent climbs onto the train and, his temper overcoming him, pushes Camille out in the dark at full speed. He slips out at the next stop and Thérèse maintains to the police that she was asleep in her compartment the whole time. The news of Camille's death gives his mother a stroke that leaves her speechless, cared for by Thérèse who warns Laurent to stay away and not attract police attention.

However there was another man asleep in Thérèse's compartment on the train and, when he sees the newspaper reports, comes down to Lyon and asks for half a million francs to stay silent. Knowing that Thérèse and Laurent might kill him rather than pay, he leaves a letter with the maid in his hotel, asking her to post it to the police if he does not return. They manage to find 400,000 francs, which he accepts and gives them a signed receipt but, on leaving, he is knocked over by a lorry and dies. The film ends as the maid takes his letter to the post.


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