Le Trio Infernal (1974) from ICMS

Le Trio Infernal, starring Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider, relates the criminal shenanigans of Georges Sarret (Michel Piccoli), his lady-friend Philomène Schmidt (Romy Schneider), and her sister Catherine (Mascha Gonska) - together, "the infernal trio." 

This film is actually based on real-life events that happened at the end of the 1920's in Marseilles. Georges was a shady lawyer who financed his extravagant lifestyle by pulling off life insurance scams, and his alliance with the two women led him into violent ways to acquire money. The idea was to marry the sisters to men near death, but when some of the marks were not sufficiently co-operative, the trio ended up killing two people who they later dissolved in a bath tub! In the film the younger sister ends up dead after a nasty fall, but the conclusion is otherwise open-ended, whereas in real life that wasn't the case at all. The trio finally had to stand trial. Georges Sarret was given the death sentence, which was carried out in public outside the prison walls in Aix-en-Provence in 1934. The two sisters came off with a lighter sentence, not even close to the 10 years the prosecutor had asked for.

The movie itself was interesting during the first half, until the end of the "dissolving scene", which certainly constitutes the highlight. After that point, it became repetitious and ever slower in pace, so that I felt relieved when the end credits finally started rolling.



T&A review: a closer look at 3 actresses.
  • In the most gruesome scene of the film, Andréa Ferréol is one of the victims and we see her dead, covered in blood and getting stripped to prepare her for her bath. Be warned, this is certainly not a scene for the faint of heart.
  • The lawyer is romantically involved with both sisters, sometimes ending up in bed with both of them together. Mascha Gonska as the younger sister shows the most skin of the two.
  • In the main feature Romy Schneider remains modestly topless only ...
  • ... but in the trailer she shows a bit more in a scene that is not in the film.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

Miscellaneous ...

  • Here is an interesting link to a web page about the real people and events. Unfortunately, the verbiage is only available in French, but the pictures should be enough to convince you that the film characters look far better than their real-life counterparts!
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Return to the Movie House home page