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One of the more flagrant injustices of foreign-film distribution has been the near total eclipse of Claude Chabrol in this country. This delightful, acidic 1984 mystery—set in a corrupt small town rife with land speculation, murder, and diverse other intrigues—was a big enough hit in France to prompt a sequel the following year (Inspecteur Lavardin), but American audiences weren't allowed so much as a peek at it. Adapted by Dominique Roulet and Chabrol from Roulet's novel Une mort en trop, this sexy and adroit intrigue starring Jean Poiret, Stephane Audran, and Michel Bouquet is one of Chabrol's best efforts in his lighter vein, and proves that the classic French cinema has never been quite as dead as U.S. release policies have suggested.

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