The Burning CourtOh good: it looks like I have the opportunity not only to contribute to the Roundtable, but also continue my series on the surprisingly few film adaptations of books by the Golden Age mystery writer John Dickson Carr.

If it seems a little odd that I can use a Roundtable on French movies to talk about an Amercian author who spent most of his career turning into an Englishman, you’re right: it is odd. But then again, La Chambre ardente/The Burning Court (1962) is something of an odd film. As a late work of the great French director Julien Duvivier, the movie falls midway between his art films and his strictly-commercial ventures. Duvivier takes a few liberties with Carr’s novel… some of which were necessary to make the detective story filmable, some of which help the film stand on its own as an independent work, and some of which (including the most noteworthy) really don’t work so well.


Will Laughlin is the Braineater.