Mathias Desgrez is a sick man who lives alone in his castle in the Black Forest, attended to by his personal nurse Myra Schneider. He asks his two nephews, Marc and Stéphane, to spend the summer with him. These two are surprised when they learn that the journalist Michel Boissard and his wife Marie have also been invited. Mathias is the last descendant of the policeman who arrested the Marquise de Brinvilliers, who was responsible for many cases of poisoning during the reign of Louis XIV. Marie was invited by Mathias because she is the last descendent of the Brinvilliers family. One night, whilst a masked ball is in full swing, Mathias is killed. According to the housekeeper, Madame Henderson, he was poisoned – by a woman wearing 17th Century apparel… —Filmsdefrance.com
Born in Lille in 1896, Julien Duvivier was a stage actor and then production assistant on André Antoine’s films before starting as a director in 1919. His prolific career – over 60 films – only ended on his death in 1967. After twenty or so silent movies inspired from many different sources, he attained international recognition in the 1930′s with movies which have become classics of “poetic realism”, notably the sound remake of Poil de carotte (1932), La Belle équipe (1936) and Pépé le Moko (1937).
After exile in Hollywood during the war, he returned to France in 1946 but failed to regain his former critical standing, despite such remarkable films as Panique (1947), Voici le temps des assassins (1956) and Pot Bouille (1957). He enjoyed international succes with The Little World of Don Camillo (1951). —Octuor de France
Gothic movie made in France. Reason and Supernatural collide in the mist of the Black Forest. There is at least one memorable scene in The Burning Court: at Desgrez's funeral, everybody starts to waltz around the coffin. A great moment. With this film, Duivivier sticks out his tongue at his comrades of the French New Wave by reminding them that cinema didn't begin with Godard. A curiosity. Recommended.