Experiment in Evil (1959) - full transcript

Mr. Joly, doctor Cordelier's lawyer, is amazed to discover that his client and friend leaves his possessions to a stranger, Opale, a sadistic criminal. He needs this man to prove that people's behavior can be adjusted at will...

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FRENCH TELEVISION BROADCASTING
RENE BARTHELEMY CENTER

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Can you go upstairs with Maurice?

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Good evening. Good evening madam.

You'll be able to watch the film
on the control screen.

Thank you, I will try.

Hold on, I just need to smarten myself up.

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Mr. Renoir, the programme
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The camera will give you a sign
when it's time to begin.



Right. Thank you.

EXPERIMENT IN EVIL

We have just witnessed

the conclusion to a unique adventure.

So unique that it seems worthy

of being the subject
of tonight's programme.

Let's start at the beginning

and travel a few months back in time.

The story takes place

in one of those suburbs of western Paris

which are more residential
than they are places of work.

Where walls conceal mysterious gardens.

In this suburb

people out walking might notice
an understated but elegant mansion.

This is the home
of the famous Dr. Cordelier,

whose research in psychiatry
had attracted global attention.

No patient had ever entered the house.

The doctor had few guests.

He was consumed by his research.

Closer to the town centre,

this is the office of the notary Mr. Joly.

It is very difficult to pinpoint

the exact beginning of a tragedy.

The tragedy has often taken root
in the lives of the victims

before they have even
suspected its existence.

I think I can pinpoint
the beginning of the tragedy

which we're going to watch together:

the day when Dr. Cordelier

submitted his will

to his notary and friend Mr. Joly.

The two men were in the same regiment

and were practically neighbours

in this small suburban town.

As he read the document,

Mr. Joly was greatly surprised

when he read the name
of the sole recipient of Cordelier's will,

a name which was completely unknown

and unexpected:

Mr. Opale.

A few weeks later,
one evening at around ten o'clock,

Mr. Joly was closing his shutters

when suddenly he stopped.

A young girl

was walking all alone
down the deserted street.

Mr. Joly was shocked
at the negligence of her parents,

letting their child go out alone
at that time of night.

Hey, you!

Stop!

Get up.

-The scoundrel!
-Are you hurt darling?

It's the Matthieu girl,
go tell her mother.

He needs to be caught, run after him!

This is Dr. Cordelier's garden.

We must warn him and tell the police.

-We must warn Dr. Cordelier!
-Allow me,

Dr. Cordelier is a friend of mine.
I'll go to the front door.

-Let me help you.
-No, it's fine.

-You need to get that looked at.
-It can wait.

Evening Mr. Joly.

-Good evening Mr. Meunier.
-What's going on?

-Let me explain.
-It's nothing!

Is Madam Meunier well?

-Very well, thank you.
-Give her my best.

Good night Mr. Meunier.

-Good night.
-Good night.

Ah, thank you sir.

You may leave.

But we have information!

Let us in!

Everyone saw it!

Well now really!

We'll wait.

-Is the doctor home?
-No.

What's going on sir?

What happened to you?

An abominable individual
attacked a little girl.

-Where?
-Across the street from me.

-Was he arrested?
-Impossible,

he sought refuge in your house.

-He took the door at the back.
-The door to the laboratory.

Yes. But the most remarkable thing
is that he had a key.

Can you believe that, Désiré?
He had a key!

Call the driver and the gardener,
we'll surround the laboratory.

We must deal with this individual.

I cannot Mr. Joly.

We cannot allow such a thing.

-Why?
-We've been given orders.

Regarding this individual?
Do you mean you know him?

I've never seen him but I know who he is.

Has he been here before?

Not to this part,
hence why I've never met him.

He always stays in the other building.

In the laboratory.

The doctor's orders are clear.

Mr. Opale must never be disturbed
when he comes to the laboratory.

What did you say?

-Opale?
-Opale.

Mr. Opale…

I don't believe it.

Désiré, the events of this evening
are very serious.

The doctor needs to be notified
as soon as possible!

Regardless of when he gets back tonight,
I must speak with him.

Désiré, please tell him

to telephone me as soon as he returns.

You can be sure of it.
I never retire before the doctor returns.

Once again Désiré,

I want to be certain
before I leave that only

Mr. Opale has a key to the laboratory.

That is correct sir.

Désiré, do you have a gun here?

Yes, a revolver in my bedside table.

-Is it loaded?
-Yes sir.

Then go fetch it
and keep it in your pocket.

The doctor may require your protection.

Désiré, this cannot develop
into a scandal.

I'll deal with these people.

-So? Any news?
-We weren't allowed in.

-Unbelievable!
-Here's the little one.

Here you go darling.

You're lucky!
You're going to be in the papers!

-So?
-How is the little one?

I'm her mother,

and I'm here to defend other mothers
against this sort of thug.

Madam, I fully understand your outrage.

Thank heavens, your little girl
avoided the worst.

Rest assured that such a thing
will not be allowed to happen again.

I will be personally responsible for that.

You can trust me, I am Mr. Joly, notary.

Naturally sir, I want to believe you,

but…

Madam, your little girl will need rest
and something to take her mind

off of the shock. Please allow me

to make a financial contribution

towards any expenses you may incur.

You are very kind.

I trust you sir.

I am sure now that this individual
will be punished.

That was a good thing he did there.

-Your towel!
-What a strange thing.

Mr. Cordelier, thanks for coming.

I thought I should. Désiré told me

-and I wanted to reassure you.
-Have the police arrested him?

Why would you say that?

But…

What about you?

Does Mr. Opale know about your will?

Does he know that he is
the sole recipient?

My good fellow,

that inheritance is very little

compared to what Opale has done for me.

This man has allowed me
to work on his living brain.

He has given me his brain,

so it's only fair.

I admit that he can be somewhat

-alarming when suffering an attack.
-Alarming?

He could take you out
just to get your inheritance!

I say this as your friend,
not as your notary,

Please, cancel your will.

At least until Mr. Opale
has fully recovered.

I understand your emotions,
my dear friend.

But believe me,

I was completely unencumbered
and of sound mind and body

when I wrote my will.

There is no question
of me recusing myself.

I am obliged, my dear friend,
to remind you

of certain societal conventions.

How would you react

and what would you say

if other misdeeds
were committed by your protégé?

You seem unhappy,

troubled.

If at least you would share
some of your concerns with me…

I don't deserve your friendship.

But I promise that the events of tonight

shall never happen again.

To Paris, to Dr. Séverin's.

In conclusion, if we were
to agree to discuss

the claims made

-by this Cordelier…
-Doctor?

-Yes?
-Mr. Joly to see you.

Show him in.

…the claims made by this Cordelier

it would be to negate

not just medicine

but also science

and progress.
Marguerite, this report is for

the chair of the Neuropathology Congress.

And

send a copy

to that imbecile Cordelier.

No, I take that back.

Cordelier is merely paranoid.

Doctor, you smoke too much…

"You smoke too much."

Ah!

My dear Mr. Joly!

-Delighted to see you.
-Hello doctor.

Right then.

My dear Séverin,

it's the friend I'm here for,

not the psychoanalyst.

You're certainly not a case,
my dear friend.

You never know…

Your time is very valuable,

and I must talk to you about someone

who was very dear to you for a long time,

who I believe is in danger.

I refer to your famous friend,
Mr. Cordelier.

Cordelier?

-All this fuss to talk about Cordelier?
-Yes.

Famous?

Perhaps.

But he's certainly not my friend.

I consider him to be
a danger to all of humanity.

Yes, I acknowledge that Cordelier

was one of our finest psychiatrists,was.

But this moron gave up

the best clientele in the world

to devote himself to his foolish research.

The theories he dares to profess
are abhorrent.

Perhaps, I know nothing of such things.

But he is a man in danger.

Cordelier just wrote his will

and the beneficiary is some madman.

-Who?
-A Mr. Opale.

Never heard of him.

This Opale,

he attacked a little girl
right in front of me,

and sought refuge at Cordelier's.

That doesn't surprise me.

Cordelier claims to need this monster

so that he can carry out experiments

on a living brain.

That's all he needed!
He'd be better off using his own!

I have come to ask you

if such experiments are possible.

Is Cordelier's justification acceptable?

Otherwise I'm inclined to think

there is some sort
of extortion at play here,

a threat of some kind.

It's my duty to act.

Don't get yourself mixed up in that.
It's a will made by a madman

to another madman, that's all.

Neither one is of any interest.

But what if Mr. Cordelier
was in fact a victim

of this science
he has sacrificed everything for?

A victim of this science?

You'll forgive me for laughing.

That's enough about Cordelier.

Life is too short and there are
far more interesting topics.

-What are you doing this evening?
-That's kind of you,

-but I have to get back to my suburb.
-You are a sensible man!

-Alright, bye then.
-Goodbye doctor.

Is there really nothing…

Don't get yourself
mixed up in all of that!

Cordelier…

Help!

Sir!

Come back here!

Murderer!

That is dreadful.

What horrible news superintendent.

Mr. Demarny was to dine here this evening.

No, this is too serious. I'm on my way.

Bastien.

My coat.

This is all very vague.

What age would you say he was?

I don't know.
All I know is that he was terrifying.

Come now, you must have seen what colour
his hair was, or if he was bald.

I don't know. He was terrifying.

Thank you anyway.

Superintendent, Mr. Joly.

You can go get some sleep now.

Do you recognise this?

Yes, when he left his cane was broken.

His clothes were too big!

It's fortunate that you noticed that.

That's a vital clue.

Good night.

I wish you no further
unpleasant encounters.

Superintendent,

I must betray
my professional confidentiality.

I know whose cane that is.

Anomalies in a will
made me remember the address of its owner.

His name is Opale

and he lives in Paris, 38 Avenue Pigalle.

-Are you the landlord?
-Yes.

-Police.
-It's a pleasure.

-Does Mr. Opale live here?
-Number 29?

He never leaves his keys.

Take me to Mr. Opale's room.

-Of course.
-Morel, guard the door.

Salbris, come up with me.

All I can say
is that his rent is always on time.

Other than that…

It's locked.

The coppers are here for Opale.

Did you hear that Suzy?

The coppers are here to arrest Opale.

Suzy you're free. We have to celebrate.

Let's go and watch.

Opale is indeed the killer.

Now we have to find him.

Ladies, I'm going to ask if any of you

met Opale last night.

Go on, tell him!

You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Go on Suzy,

tell them everything!

My poor Suzy, you're scared.

But I'm not.

Superintendent, that man is a demon.
Look at her!

That brute Opale has beaten her so much
she can't stand up.

And last night
he was even more insane than usual!

Is that right?

Did anything seem different
about your client?

Yes superintendent.

He must have been unhappy

because I've never seen him
in such a state.

But he doesn't touch alcohol,

not a drop.

Thank you.

Thank you ladies for your testimonies.

I won't need to take you in
and waste your time.

A character this unusual
won't be able to evade us.

Opale has disappeared.

I have no idea where he's hiding.

This is really serious.
This man is a killer!

Your life is in danger.

This will is dangerous!

There is no question
of me writing another will.

Not until

I have seen Opale again, in any case.
If only to find out

what happened.

I must do everything to see Opale again,

just once.

To prove - thanks to him -

the victory of my theories over Séverin's.

Don't bring Séverin into all of this!

He's a fanatic,

he would love a chance to destroy you!

He's the champion of false ideas.

He's a poor psychoanalyst, but

he's still a doctor.

Professional secrecy

is like a faith to him.

I just hope you never manage
to find Opale.

The experiment I must carry out

with Séverin present
will justify my whole life's work!

You should be hoping

that I find Opale as quickly as possible.

After that

I can get him out of my life, for ever.

I won't need him any longer.

Because I'm telling you I accept!

-He'll be here tomorrow.
-Doctor, refuse!

Call Mr. Joly to let him know.

Hello, Mr. Joly? Just one moment.

Hello?

Mr. Joly?

I've just had a response to your visit.

Yes, your friend Cordelier.

He'll be here tomorrow.

Why? For his famous demonstration!

Do you want to see me first?

Then come right away.

Very well, see you soon.

Did he tell you?

He'll be here at five tomorrow
to perform a demonstration.

Right here.

But do you know what it is?

No, but I hope Cordelier will tell me.

I would like to know at least

the nature of this experiment.

This mystery has to be solved,
it's too much for me.

-I can't sleep.
-You'll know soon!

He's either an imbecile or he's mad.

And if he is mad he needs put away,
and that's your affair,

as his friend and his notary!

Don't lose your temper like that,

it's bad for you.

I'll admit that my opinion of Cordelier

differs from yours,

but that doesn't mean he's mad!

I can't wait to unmask this impostor.

Then

I'll be able to get some rest.

Boulard will replace me.

My dear Séverin

you work too hard.

I've known that for a while,

that's what's bothering me.

Boulard is looking after me.

He's very devoted to you.

Yes, he's like a son.

In any case,

I'll be back tomorrow.

Very well. Goodbye.

See you tomorrow.

I'm sorry

I couldn't satisfy your curiosity.

-I hope you understand.
-I do.

Marguerite

we'll need to cancel
the two appointments tomorrow

and move them to next week. Thank you.

Ah!

I can take you to the hospital in my car.

-Hold him up.
-That man was like a devil.

He went into that building,
we'll find him.

No, it's too dangerous.
I'll call the police.

Hello madam. May I use your telephone?
It's an emergency.

-Of course.
-Thank you.

Hello? Superintendent Lardaut please.

Superintendent Lardaut? It's Mr. Joly.

Come immediately to Dr. Séverin's.
Opale is with him.

Opale? Are you sure?

Listen to me.

Seeing as Cordelier hasn't arrived yet,

try to stop him from going up.

It's in his interest
not to get mixed up in another scandal.

We'll be there shortly.

Let's go.

Thank you madam.

Sir!

Are you expected?

You can tell Dr. Séverin
I'm here on behalf of Dr. Cordelier.

But you're not Dr. Cordelier, sir.

Of course I'm not.

The doctor is expecting me.

Come back tomorrow sir.

Tomorrow? I'll give you tomorrow.

Sir!

Sir!

What's going on here?

I will introduce myself.

I am Mr. Opale.

Well, well, Opale.

-Was it Cordelier who sent you?
-Yes.

I have a meeting with Dr. Cordelier.

The doctor needs me

for his demonstration.

Are you two taking the piss? Clear off,

-don't come back until tomorrow.
-Take it easy,

you'll do yourself damage.

Let's do it today.

Dr. Cordelier can't come tomorrow.

He'll be here shortly.

-What is this?
-He was there when I came in!

-He must have broken in.
-He went ahead of me.

Maybe this is for the best.

No?

I'm dying to find out.

-No witnesses.
-No witnesses?

That's why the doctor

wanted to bring the meeting forward a day.

I'm a criminal, remember.

That's right. Are you worried
I'll contact the police?

Yes.

What?

Well, since you don't want any witnesses…

I'm not a witness.

I'm the patient.

Come on.

You're really getting on my nerves,

do you know that?

In that case

there'll be no demonstration.

Very well.

That's how it will be.

Sit there and wait.

Marguerite, make yourself
available to Boulard.

-Is he with a patient?
-Not until five.

Go to him anyway and tell him
I'm not to be disturbed

under any circumstances. No questions.

Go! Marie, you stay at the desk.

-And if someone rings?
-Dr. Cordelier's coming.

I'll let him in myself.

Go!

Do you not have any scars?

Did Cordelier never trepan you?

I've no idea.

All I know

is that it hurts.

Where's Cordelier?

He hasn't arrived yet, thank goodness.

Unless he got here
while I was on the phone.

Guard all the exits!

Cordelier!

Joly. The most awful thing has happened.

Superintendent Lardaut, CID.

Come in both of you.

Marguerite, come quickly.

Doctor Séverin is in a very bad way.
He was having an attack

when I got here.

He's just gone into a coma.

-A coma?
-I'm looking after him.

Oh my God!

But where is Opale?

Opale? He wasn't here when I turned up.

There, there.

Boulard, bring me everything I need
to give him an injection.

That might work.

Morel, the killer has escaped.
Search the flat.

Thank you.

I've spoken to everyone,
no one saw anything.

He must have escaped via the ledge,

climbed up the wall

then gone in one of those windows.

The sudden death
of famous psychoanalyst Lucien Séverin

drew attention
to the mysterious experiment

attempted by Professor Cordelier.

What was this experiment?

How did it lead to the death
of Doctor Séverin?

How was the subject
the experiment was to be carried out on,

a notorious criminal, able to disappear?

Why did Professor Cordelier,
able to contact

this individual, not have him arrested?

All of these questions remain unanswered.

Professor Cordelier
has refused to make a statement.

That's right.

The investigators,

are willing to put this failure
to notify the police

about this individual
down to absent-mindedness.

Well…

The doctor's name will not be
caught up in this affair.

But we can reveal

to our readers
that Professor Cordelier has decided

not to continue his experiments.

He is even ready to return
to his work as a psychiatrist.

Yes.

My dear Marguerite,

you know the disagreements
I had with your boss.

But I want you to know

that his premature death

has greatly troubled me.

It made me realise
that it was our rivalry and his severity

which contributed the most
to the success of my research.

Marguerite, I want you to know

that I am here for you.

Thank you.

Thank you doctor for what you said
about Mr. Séverin.

Don't worry about me.

I'm leaving the city
to stay with my mother

once I've arranged who is to replace him.

I'll drop you off at home, my dear friend.

What are you doing with those bricks?

Dr. Cordelier has asked us
to seal off this entrance.

Glad to hear it.

Come my dear.

Good evening Désiré!

In you come.

Thank you Désiré.

Mr. Ambassador, I am so happy
you're back in Paris.

When did you arrive?

Yesterday. The day before
we were in Ottawa.

-This is our first visit.
-How very kind of you.

Madam you are simply stunning.

Canada has done wonders for you!

We haven't stayed in Canada:
Rio, Caracas, Lima…

You know how it is for diplomats!

Canada is discovering its Latin brothers!

Actually, we were in Rio
when we heard about the death

of poor Séverin.

Do you know all our friends?

-Madam de la Bellimier.
-Hello.

-Miss Duchemin.
-Good evening.

You know His Excellency.

Oh darling!

-Very happy to see you again.
-And our friend Joly.

Mr. Joly!

My respects, madam.

With you present here this evening

this get-together
has become a real celebration!

-Your Excellency.
-My dear Joly, it is us

who are happy to return

to the joys of Paris. We missed it so much

during our time in exile.

You can see they've been in Canada.

So, you like animals?

Why, yes.

Madam,

I have a huge favour to ask you.

I know this is terribly old-fashioned,

but while you are here

I'd like to say a few words

on behalf of all of us

about our host!

I would first like to thank
Professor Cordelier

for returning to the tradition,

interrupted for too long,

of these delightful evenings.

We are all wondering
how we managed to do without

these gatherings, which are

most beneficial to us all.

Having made this tribute,

I am proud to be able to say
before you, madam,

and before you, Your Excellency,

and at the risk of offending your modesty

my dear Cordelier,

no notary has ever
distributed so much money

with so much satisfaction.

You are a credit to society.

Bravo, my dear, that was excellent.

What a wonderful evening
my dear Cordelier.

We have just spent

-the most enchanting two hours.
-You're much too kind.

-Goodbye.
-We'll see you very soon.

My dear friend,
I wanted to be the last to leave

so that I could tell you again
just how happy I am.

As long as I knew that individual
was a threat to you

I couldn't sleep.

Which is a calamity for me -
if I don't get my eight hours

then I'm useless the next day.
I was taking sleeping tablets!

But all that is behind us now.

The good times are back.
I saw the bricklayers walling up

the door to the laboratory.

See you soon.
I'm having a little get together at mine.

See you soon.

You didn't need to wait up Bastien.

Off you go to bed, get some rest.

Hello? What is it?

Is that you Désiré? What's going on?

What?

No, you did the right thing.

I'll be right there.

He's on his way.

Doctor?

Doctor?

That's enough.

No.

I've had enough.

It's horrible!

I can't do this anymore.

I can't do this anymore. I'm afraid,

and I'm never afraid.

I can't take it anymore.

Oh no!

I can't listen to this any longer.

I just can't.

For pity's sake, do something!

We can't leave him like that.

It's inhuman!

Georges, go with Blaise.
You'll be fine the two of you.

With Blaise? No, he's not

going back there.
I don't want him turning mad too.

Don't you realise?

Maybe the other one is back!

My husband is a gardener here,
not a psychiatric nurse!

Very well, I'll go myself.

What? It's Mr. Joly!

Juliette,

please.

He's taking his time.

What if it isn't Mr. Joly?

You're right.

It might not be him.

What if it's not him?

Juliette.

Whatever we do, we must not panic.

Let's go back to the start.

Sit down everyone.

Thank you.

Sit down.

Désiré,

come now.

The facts. Nothing but the facts.

We must act swiftly.

You were the last to leave.

While we were tidying up,

the doctor got changed
and went to his laboratory.

-At midnight?
-Yes.

He would often work at night.

He hadn't done it for a while.

You saw him tonight,

he was on particularly good form.

We finished up

and had barely gone to bed

when a terrifying scream woke us all up.

It was the doctor's voice,

a terrible cry followed by groaning
from the laboratory.

I rushed over there
but the door was closed.

And the doctor
stubbornly refused to open up.

Listen! Come on,
we can't leave him like this.

Stay here, I'll go.

Cordelier? It's Joly.

Open this door, I'm begging you!

Don't leave us all in such a state.

This is appalling! What's going on?

Look out sir,
the other one might be there.

If you don't open
the door we'll break it down.

Open for goodness sake!

We're here to save you!
For the last time, open up Cordelier!

Georges, go fetch the revolver
from my bedside table.

We must break the door down.

Come on!

Don't come near me!

That's him!

That's Opale!

Where is my master?

-Murderer!
-Don't come near me!

Murderer!

If you've touched my boss

then I'll kill you right now!

Where is he?

We must find the doctor.

-Watch what you're doing?
-He can't move now.

Don't worry, we've got him.

You see? We've got you now. You brute!

Désiré, is there no one there?

Just some old cases. Sir!

Stop! One move and I'll shoot.

Come on!

Come on!

Look out, it's loaded!

-He might shoot.
-And?

The doctor's nowhere.

He must have killed him.

Let's get the police.

Absolutely, go get the police
before it's too late.

Do that and Cordelier is finished.

We won't give in to threats!

Tell me where Dr. Cordelier is!
Otherwise I'll say nothing.

I'm ready to tell you, but you alone.

Mr. Notary.

If you want to see your friend alive again

-it's all up to you.
-What do you mean?

Tell these people to go back to the house.

And nobody is to move

until you, Mr. Notary,

gives them permission to do so.

Do that and I'll tell all.

-I've no choice but to accept.
-No!

My friends, please, go back to your rooms.

And do nothing until I ask you to.

Off you go, please.

May I?

There you go.

You can see
it's Dr. Cordelier's handwriting.

Then what are you waiting for? Open it.

A tape? What for?

To find out.

I love finding out things.

Don't you?

This is more than a will.

It is the last confession
of an unfortunate wretch

who, unable to offer
his suffering up to God,

asks whoever will listen

to act as the priest before the sinner.

That's Cordelier's voice!

Mr. Joly,

I don't deserve your friendship.

I am a hypocrite.

My dignified and virtuous appearance

is but a lie,

concealing my basest instincts,

my most revolting thirst for perversion.

For years I devoted all my strength

to battling with myself.

This relentless battle,

with no let-up,

left me deeply unbalanced.

Evil would not let me go.

There are many examples
to give you an idea of my distress,

but I will give you two,

which may seem insignificant,

but which I believe to be illustrative.

I had just started practicing.

I even had a reputation,
which was very important to me.

I was a virtuous doctor.

Back then I had
a young German maid called Lise.

Madam des Essarts is late.

All the better…

No Lise.

Do your buttons back up.

Lise, your blouse.

-Doctor.
-My dear madam, what's the matter?

I know a person can tell
their doctor everything.

Particularly one with patients like yours.

Take a cigarette,
it will calm your nerves.

Thank you doctor.

What about you, do you never smoke?

Never, through discipline.

I scarcely want to tell you,
I'm so afraid.

It doesn't concern me.

It's my little Robert, he's not right.

-Ah.
-He's not right in the head.

He's an obsessive, like you say.

He's not even 18 and…

-And?
-With the maid!

-The maid?
-The maid. It's dreadful.

It's dreadful.

What can I do to make him better?

Well,

you can bring him here,

and we'll get him back

to good mental health.

And he'll soon be rid of

this unhealthy appetite
for romance of such kind.

Does Wednesday suit you?

Wednesday?

-Two o'clock?
-Two o'clock.

Wednesday, two o'clock.

Perfect.

Thank you doctor.

Goodbye madam.

No Lise.

You must look for a job elsewhere.

I can't keep you on as an employee.

-No.
-But sir!

I felt weakened by my affair,

which seemed like the behaviour
of a perverted, overgrown student,

and I quickly dismissed my partner.

I had always been horrified

by what others called their 'feminine
adventures' with their clients.

When you're back home

fold your arms like this over your chest

and that will help you to unwind.

I'll give you that injection.

Make a tight fist.

There we go.

The ease with which a doctor

could exploit
pretty young patients made me sick.

The trembling I noticed in some of those

I was treating

caused me to stray
from my good intentions.

But I fought it,

showing an aggressive hostility.

Relax your hand.

Back then

all the neurotic women in the world
wanted me to treat them.

Francoise was in such a state

when she came to see me

that I would have been within my rights

to make her my mistress.

But I knew
she couldn't keep her mouth shut.

There you go.

-I didn't hurt you, did I?
-No doctor, in fact…

Yes.

Then came the day when,

having put her to sleep out of necessity,

I became her lover

without her knowing.

The same thing happened again
several times.

From one day to the next,

I decided to abandon my clientele

and to focus on the problem

which had haunted me since my childhood:

the problem of evil.

I spent long years

working on my research.

I became certain that I had developed

a purely physiological treatment

capable of treating moral infections

just as antibiotics
cure physical infections.

The starting point for my method

had been to study all known intoxicants,

and I even discovered some new ones.

I was able to isolate
some of their effects

on willpower, memory,

mental association

and the conscience.

And why beat around the bush?

On the soul.

A few months ago
the results of my experiments

took form

in an odourless

liquid of an unspecified colour.

I still had two things to do.

To share my discovery with an authority

which would be able
to confirm my certainty

that the concoction was not deadly.

Then, if successful,
to ask them to provide a testimony.

I thought of Séverin

because his theories
were the opposite of my own

and I believed I could count

on his impartiality.

Ever the sophist, Séverin

refused to accept that modifications

could be made to the conduct of the soul.

For Séverin,

the soul was the conscience.

Your research is monstrous!

This will take us back to the Middle Ages!

You're a threat
to the very existence of the world!

A threat to morality and life!

You're denying Claude Bernard! And Darwin!

You ought to be arrested
and taken to court,

and sentenced to public burning!

You are guilty
of the most abominable of crimes!

A blasphemer against mankind,

or worse, materialism! That's right,

you heard me!

Come along.

I realised that no one would accept
the merits of my discovery

until I was able to provide living proof.

Experimenting on animals wasn't an option

as a soul is precisely
what animals don't have.

After that regrettable encounter

I didn't dare ask any other human being

to risk such an experiment,

and took the decision

to risk it on myself.

At the last minute,

I had the most awful hesitation.

Unintentionally,

I had just created a being

that was completely different from myself.

I retained the knowledge of the Cordelier

I had been right before my transformation,

but my sensations were the exact opposite.

I had become a free being.

Free from all constraints

and aware of all of the rights I had.

This transformed body

was a transparent reflection
of my instincts.

I decided to name this newly born

part of me 'Opale'.

No!

This is some horrible conspiracy.

You are a criminal!

You are not Cordelier! You can't be!

You're right, I'm not Cordelier.

I'm Opale.

Cordelier has gone from me.

That's the tragedy.

This can't be true.

You killed Cordelier! I know you did.

You are an impostor,
but I won't be your accomplice.

-I'm phoning the police!
-Look at my clothes!

You stole them after you killed him!

Cordelier would never
have abandoned his convictions.

Cordelier would never have been
a rapist and a murderer.

Cordelier would never
have engaged in such vile deeds.

I don't believe you! I can't believe you!

You can't prove that you're Cordelier!

So it's proof that you want?

Then here you go.

Do you remember, Joly, in the army,

you made a mistake and injured me?
Look at my arm.

Is this not the arm of Cordelier?

Cordelier?

Cordelier…

You had no right to do this.

You're nothing but a con artist.

You abused my trust
and shamefully exploited my friendship.

I don't want anything to do with you.

All I want is revenge for this betrayal.

I can never forgive you.

I'm not asking you to forgive me.

I'm asking you to help me.

To put up with me.

What remains in me of Cordelier

can only find refuge with you.

You are the only one
capable of restoring my conscience.

Joly,

the hurt caused by your anger
gives me hope.

I won't lie to you again Joly.

I can't. I've had enough.

You can do it all.

All I need is you to be patient.

Help me to become Cordelier again.

I need to know

how a man can get to such a point.

I want to understand.

I will try to listen to you.

But you will never
be able to justify your actions.

I'm not seeking justification.

When I became Opale for the first time

I succeeded in breaking both my body

and the bonds of your society.

All of a sudden, I felt

freed from the weight
which had been crushing me.

I felt light.

I spotted Désiré, and I was terrified.

What if he recognised me?

I was tempted for a second to call him.

Seeing the first person to walk by
caused me to panic.

When he was far enough away,

I left my hiding place,

determined to confront my new existence

with the gaze of a normal man.

This postman

had asked Cordelier
for his signature a hundred times.

At your service sir.

He gave me a light
without batting an eyelid,

even though I was a stranger.

Opale was taking his place in the world.

At dawn

I returned home

after a busy night.

Happy. Free.

With no remorse.

Seeing the back door
brought me back to reality.

What if the experiment

couldn't be reversed?

What if Opale

couldn't become Cordelier again?

I woke from a sleep as deep as death.

I was Cordelier again.

The knowledge of what Opale had done
had no effect on me.

It was as though someone else

had defiled themselves
with this debauchery.

Someone with whom
I would not be sharing any remorse.

That's if Opale

was indeed capable of remorse.

There was just one awful memory
spoiling this successful result:

the memory of the dreadful pain

I had experienced
during my two transformations.

I swore I would never tempt fate

with a further experiment.

The pledge of a drunkard.

It wasn't just the satisfaction

of indulging my basest instincts
which drove me

to become Opale again,

but above all else

an uncontrollable need for cruelty.

One evening

after another venture,
a double transformation,

having become Cordelier again

and returned to my strict schedule…

Good night sir. I will see you at seven.

Thank you Désiré.

I fell asleep, staring absentmindedly

at the pattern on the curtains

which Désiré had drawn,
like he did every evening.

The next morning

joyous sunshine
burst through the gap in the curtains.

Your breakfast.

Sir?

Sir, your breakfast.

Now you know everything.

I began to require
increasingly strong doses.

But the slightest shiver was an indication

that I was returning to what I am now.

A monster.

The miracle of splitting into two

relies as much on moral strength

as it does on chemical materials.

Cordelier,

my friend.

It is no longer possible
for me to return to being good.

I don't want to go on like this.

Do you understand me?

The dose which I must take now

in order to become Cordelier again

is more than the human body can tolerate.

It is fatal. Joly,

you're my friend, you have proved that.

Choose for me.

Remain this monster

or die.

Beneath your current appearance,

have you retained anything
of your religious convictions?

My experiment has proved it.

I am sure now

that, separated from my double body,

my soul will become immortal once more.

Then remember,

you have no right to destroy your body.

Suffer under the guise of Opale,

which you knowingly created.

This will serve as part of your punishment
for this dreadful sin,

daring to interfere
with the work of our Creator.

No!

Cordelier! No!

Cordelier!

No!

Cordelier!

Help!

Help!

Help!

Come quickly Désiré! Your master is dead!

Hurry Désiré!

Our master is dead.

What about the other?

The killer!

Justice was done.

As for Cordelier,

who paid for
his intoxicating spiritual quest

with his life,

did he not get what he wanted in the end?

THE END

Subtitle translation by: Paul Mullaney