The well known story of the injured pianist who receives a strangler's hands is told here with some arty flourishes, but never manages to rise above B-movie standards. The lead performances are earnest, but there is no character development to speak of. Claude Bolling's jazz soundtrack is fine on it's own, but overwhelms whatever atmosphere the movie is trying to generate. There is enough artistry to make one wonder what a more nuanced director, such as Franju, might have made.
Note: Unlike the UK version, the French version does not carry the end cast list; though the UK version claims that the film was shot at Shepperton and the French version counters with Studios de la Victorine, both versions were clearly shot all over the place including the both studios. There are many differences between versions, both big and small; for instance, though Janina Faye is credited on the UK version, her little cameo in the park disappears completely from that version but appears seemingly complete in the French version. The climactic nightclub scene differs greatly in all kinds of ways; true to the “Continental” rules, on the French version the bare breasts of Carrel can be seen in the mirror but for the English language version they are blocked by Christopher Lee's head. Peter Bennett and George Merritt are listed as club members, but whatever lines they had seems to have been cut. All you see in the finished film are the backs of their heads.
Since the versions differ significantly (even different cinematographers), and the French version is more easily accesible, I have chosen to use that one here (it's also the better film; Carrel & Lee particualrly fare better in French).
Original: 21 May 2013, revised 05 July 2017.