The Infernal Trio

The Infernal Trio” by Francis Girod depicts the bizarre story of a murderous tercet, brilliantly cast with Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider and Mascha Gonska. With drastic portrayals, relentlessly direct acting and egoistically acting characters, this flick fulfills all the requirements of a scandalous film. The sometimes bizarre plot of the murderous tercet specializing in insurance fraud is based on true events, namely the case of the murderer Georges-Alexandre Sarrejani. The latter was executed in Aix-en-Provence on April 10, 1934. In “The Infernal TrioRomy Schneider once again proves why her former film partner Jean-Louis Trintignant called her “the most erotic woman I know”. She presents herself as reprehensible and irresistible at the same time.

Synopsis

Marseille 1931. The young German Philomene Schmidt, who was employed as a nurse by a rich old woman, has lost her job – the old woman has died. Philomene finds herself out on the street. Her lover, Villette, does not want to or cannot marry her, he claims his wife has been missing since World War 1.

However, another acquaintance, lawyer George Sarret, can help: He conjures up a – forged – death certificate of Madame Villette.

Now Philomene can marry Villette. In return, Sarret makes Philomene and her sister Catherine his mistresses. Villette dies soon after the wedding. George Sarret expresses his regret at not having taken out a life insurance policy on him. This was meant as a joke, but an idea is born out of it. Sarret is determined to use insurance fraud as a new business model with his two German girls.

His next victim is the decrepit Detreuil. He sets him up with Catherine. In order to take out an insurance policy in Detreuil’s name for the benefit of his young wife, Sarret uses the petty criminal Chambon, who pretends to be Detreuil. The plan works, Detreuil soon dies and Sarret collects the insurance money. He splits the amount with the Schmidt sisters, but Chambon is left empty-handed and they consequently have to get rid of him. Luckily, Chambon is married to the rich pawnbroker Noemie. A foursome meets in a country house, and Sarret kills the Chambon couple. Together with his two lovers, he disposes of the bodies in a hydrochloric acid bath. The couple’s fortune is cashed in by a trick, and incidentally, a life insurance policy can be taken out through the death of a Schumacher.

Business is booming and George Sarret decides to enter politics. In order to eliminate a rival candidate for the upcoming election, Sarret cold-calls him with compromising photos in clearly adulterous situations. The business practices are now somewhat altered by Sarret to avoid exposure. A life insurance policy is taken out on Catherine. Philomene finds a terminally ill girl named Magali, who has no relatives and is to die in Catherine’s place. Catherine seduces the lesbian girl and she regains her courage to live. Shocked by what she has done, Catherine commits suicide. In the funeral procession at Catherine’s funeral, Sarret tells Philomene: “The insurance paid!”. Soon afterwards, the two marry.

The film is based on a real criminal case. The real culprit and serial killer, Georges Alexandre Sarrejani, was executed in Aix-en-Provence on 10 April 1934. In the film, a macabre, sinister horror piece, the unleashed Romy Schneider shines in the role of the life-hungry and unscrupulous luxury woman. While French critics celebrated Romy Schneider as the “charming monster”, the German press was shocked by the transformation of “their Sissi”.

Uschi Glas was originally intended for the role of Catherine. After studying the script, she rejected the role as too hideous. Director Francis Girod then cast the as yet unknown Polish actress Mascha Gonska.

The German censors initially only approved a version shortened to 84 minutes with an FSK release from the age of 16. This version was also shown in German cinemas. Here we now have the original 107-minute version. It has an age rating of 18 and up.

The soundtrack to the film was composed by none other than Ennio Morricone (“Play Me the Song of Death,” “Death Melody,” “Fear Over the City“, “The Professional,” “Frantic“, “The Untouchables“).

Original Titel: Le trio infernal

Director: Francis Girod

Screenplay: Solange Fasquelle (Novelle), Francis Girod, Jacques Rouffio

Actors: Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider, Mascha Gonska, Philippe Brizard, Jean Rigaux, Monica Fiorentini Hubert Deschamps. Monique Tarbès, Andréa Ferréol, Luigi Zerbinati, Francis Claude, Pierre Dac Pierre Dac, Jean-Pierre Honoré, Henri Piccoli, Martine Ferrière, iNcole Chomo, Isabelle Lebel, Adolfo Geri, Fanny Renan, Rolph Spath

Producder: Raymond Danon, Jacques Dorfmann, Wolfdieter von Stein

Co-producer: Ennio Nobili

Cinematography: Andréas Winding

Editing: Claude Barrois

Set decoration Philippe Turlure

Production design: Jean-Jaques Caziot

Costume design: Jacques Fonteray

Production manager: Alain Coiffier

Music:  Ennio Morricone

 

Production companies: Belstar Productions, Film 66 – Fox Europe Paris, Lira Films, Oceania Produzioni Internazionali Cinematografiche, T.I.T. Filmproduktion

Year of production: 1974

Genres: Comedy, Crime, Horror

Countries: France, Italy, Germany (West)

Language: French

Synchronisations: English, Italian, German

Filming location: Paris (France)

Lenghth: 105 Min

Rating: FSK 18

Aspect Ratio: 1.66 : 1

Sound Mix: Mono

Resolution: Full HD (new 4K scanning)

Other titles:

German: Trio Infernal

Italian: Trio infernale

Spanish: El trío infernal

Portuguese: O Trio Infernal

Greek: Τα όργια του κολασμένου τρίο, Διαβολικό τρίο (alternative tite)

Film label: Artkeim² (Edition ParaSol Videothèque)

Distributor: UCM.ONE

 

Theatrical start France: May 22, 1974

Theatrical start Germany: August 30, 1974

Theatrical start USA: November 08, 1974

Mediabook (Blu-Ray+DVD): May 27, 2022

About director Francis Girod

Francis Girod was born on 9 February 1944 in Semblançay, France. He grew up in Brussels and studied journalism. He was active as a university lecturer, journalist, screenwriter, film director and producer. He received many awards, such as the Ordre national du Mérite, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the Legion d’honneur. He died of a heart attack in Bordeaux on 19 November 2006.

Filmography (excerpt)

1974 The Infernal Trio
1977 Rene the Cane
1980 The Lady Banker
1984 The good life (Le bon plaisir)
1986 Decent Into Hell

About Michel Piccoli

Jacques Daniel Michel Piccoli was born on 27 December 1925 in Paris, the son of musicians. Michel Piccoli attended the Collège Sainte-Barbe in Paris and studied acting there. Afterwards he played at different theatres in France. In 1945 he began his career as a film actor. He was initially cast in small roles, achieving his first major success in 1955 in Jean Renoir‘s film “French Cancan” alongside Jean Gabin. A series of films soon followed under director Luis Buñuel, including the classics “Death in the Garden” and “Diary of a Chambermaid“. Alfred Hitchcock cast him in the spy classic “Topaz” in 1969. Here he played the mastermind who was revealed at the end to be the head of the spy ring. Alfred Hitchcock was enthusiastic about him and after filming regretted not casting him in the leading role instead of Frederick Stafford.

One of his most frequent film partners was Romy Schneider, especially in the common cooperations with director Claude Sautet. Films like “Max and the Junkmen“, “Mado” as well as “The Things of Life” are classics today. Michel Piccoli also played the male lead in Romy Schneider‘s last film “The Passerby“. Their first film together was “La Voleuse” in 1966. After this film they were rumoured to be having an affair. Michel Piccoli‘s first love, however, was the theatre. In between his many film shoots, he was always on stage. In 2006 he was nominated for the European Film Award for his role in “Belle Toujours“. In 2007 he was appointed to the jury of the Cannes Film Festival. In 2007, he also became involved with Amnesty International and the political left in France. Michel Piccoli had an incredible charisma and presence as an actor. He just had to be present to fascinate his audience. One sometimes has the impression that when he just sits, stands, is simply there, he is at his best. No, he still has to smoke. Michel Piccoli was the best film smoker in cinema history. No one else could smoke as elegantly as him.

Michel Piccoli was married three times. In 1954 he married the actress Éléonore Hirt, and in 1966, after an affair, he married the chanson singer Juliette Gréco.  From 1978 until his death, he was married to the screenwriter Ludivine Clerc. Three children resulted from these unions.The daughter Anne-Cordélia Piccoli was born of his marriage with Éléonore Hirt, daughter Missa Piccoli and son Inord Piccoli he adopted together with Ludivine ClercMichel Piccoli died on 12 May 2020 in Saint-Philbert-sur-Risle in Normandy as a result of a stroke. He was 94 years old. He acted on stage and in front of the camera for 70 years. He was considered one of the most important character actors in France. His death marked the end of a cinematic era.

Filmography (excerpt)

1945 The Bellman
1954 French Cancan
1955 The Grand Maneuver
1956 Death in the Garden
1957 The Crucible
1963 Contempt
1964 The Diary of a Chambermaid
1965 The Sleeping Car Murders
1966 Is Paris Burning?
1967 Beauty of the Day
1969 Topas
The Things of Life
1970 Max and the Junkmen
1972 Plot
1973 Blow Out
1974 The Infernal Trio
The Phantom of the Liberty
1976
Mado
1980
Atlantic City USA
1981
The Mole (Espion, lève-toi)
1982 The Passerby
2006 Belle Toujours
2011 We Have a Pope
2012 You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
2015 Our Lady of Hormones

About Romy Schneider

Romy Schneider was born on 23 September 1938 in Vienna under her civil name Rosemarie Magdalena Albach-Retty as the daughter of the actor couple Wolf Albach-Retty and Magda Schneider. Her paternal ancestors belonged to the famous Austrian acting dynasty Albach-Retty. This extended back to her great-great-grandfather Adolf Retty (born 1821). Romy Schneider grew up at Königssee, in the village of Schönau, and attended primary school there from 1944. In 1949 she transferred to the girls’ boarding school Schloss Goldenstein near Salzburg. There she often took part in school theatre performances, where she discovered her passion for acting. In July 1953, after graduating from school she was to attend an art school in Cologne, as her talent for painting had been discovered.

In favour of her first film role in “When the White Lilacs Bloom Again“, she renounced her school attendance. Romy Schneider got this role at the suggestion of her mother Magda Schneider, who took the leading role in the film. In addition to Romy SchneiderGötz George also made his film debut in this film. After a few more trivial films, she played a role in the remake of the 1924 Murnau classic “The Last Man” alongside Hans Albers, which also attracted attention from the critics.

Her international breakthrough came with the “Sissi” trilogy that followed. Soon everyone in the film world knew who Romy Schneider was. Her stepfather Herbert BlatzheimMagda Schneider‘s second husband, took over her management from 1955. He urged her to make the second Sissi film, a role Romy Schneider actually no longer wanted to play.

Romy Schneider was looking for artistically demanding roles. Nevertheless, she agreed, and so “Sissi, the Young Empress” was made in 1956. In 1957 she succeeded for the first time in slipping out of the role of the lovely, well-behaved German model girl from the Heimatfilm romance. In the film “The Girl and the Legend” she played the daughter of a cotton spinner from the lower class. It was the first role Romy Schneider had chosen for herself.

When she learned that her stepfather Herbert Blatzheim had turned down several film offers, including the remakes “The Three from the Filling Station“, ” The Congress Dances” as well as a film offer from the famous Spanish-Mexican film director Luis BuñuelRomy Schneider became furious. Moreover, an offer from Hollywood failed because of the conditions set by Blatzheim. Romy Schneider now took her acting future into her own hands. Her next film, “Mädchen in Uniform“, with many great actresses like Lilli PalmerTherese GiehseSabine Sinjen and Christine Kaufmann brought her the longed for recognition as a character actress. With the film “Christine” came the complete turnaround in her life.

After the end of the shooting she left Germany together with her film partner Alain Delon and went to Paris. There she shot three more movies in 1959, “Mademoiselle Ange“, “Die schöne Lügnerin” and “Magnificent Sinner“. In the next years Romy Schneider acted mainly in Paris. One of her theatre directors was Luchino Visconti, from whom she learned a lot. In 1962, also under Visconti‘s direction, she took on another film role in “Boccaccio 70“. Now followed several roles in blockbusters such as “The Trial“, “The Victors“, “The Cardinal“.

In the 60s and 70s Romy Schneider was at the height of her career. In 1963 she made the comedy “Good Neighbor Sam” in Hollywood alongside Jack Lemmon. Privately, however, 1963 was a bad year. Her relationship with Alain Delon fell apart. When she returned from the USA, he had already moved out of the flat they shared. She then attempted suicide. Romy Schneider then took time off. It was not until a year later that she shot the film “L’Enfer” with the old master Henry-Georges Clouzot. But bad luck stayed with her, the film was never finished. First her film partner Serge Reggiani fell seriously ill, then director Clouzot suffered a heart attack. In 1965 followed one of her most successful films, “What’s New, Pussycat?“, based on a script by Woody Allen. During a visit to Germany she met the actor and director Harry Meyen, they became a couple. During the filming of the movie “Triple Cross” in 1966, Romy Schneider und Harry Meyen married. Their son David was born in December of the same year.

In the following two years Romy Schneider devoted herself exclusively to her duties as a wife and mother. It was not until 1968 that Romy Schneider began filming again. In 1969 she acted again in the film “The Swimming Pool” at the side of her ex-lover Alain Delon. The film became one of her greatest successes. A series of films followed in the 70s, including such well-known and successful ones as “Love at the Top“, “The Infernal Trio“, “The Old Gun” and “That Most Important Thing: Love“. In 1975, Romy Schneider divorced Harry Meyen. At this time Romy Schneider was already in a relationship with Daniel Biasini, her private secretary, whom she married the same year. After the birth of her daughter Sarah, she made one of her most successful films ever in 1978 with the film “A Simple Story“. From then on, however, her life only went downhill. Her ex-husband Harry Meyen hanged himself in 1979. Romy Schneider lost many of her fans’ sympathies with the film “Death Watch“, the story of a sick, doomed woman who sold the rights to her death to a television company for broadcast. This film won some awards but failed with the audience. During the shooting of three other films there were repeated problems because of Romy Schneider‘s excessive alcohol consumption. She appeared drunk on the set several times or did not appear at all.

On 5 July 1981, her son David was killed in an accident. This event threw her completely off course. Her second marriage with Daniel Biasini was at an end and she divorced him. Romy Schneider also had to undergo a serious kidney operation. Her complete downfall was prevented by her new lover Laurent Petin. He gave her some stability again. Director Jacques Rouffio persuaded her to make another film, “The Passerby“. It was to be her last film. On the night of 29 May 1982, she died as a result of excessive tablet consumption. The death was not a suicide, but a consequence of her tablet and alcohol addiction. Romy Schneider was buried in the cemetery of the small village of Boissy-sans-Avoir, her last place of residence. Alain Delon had organised her funeral.

Filmography (excerpt)

1953 When the White Lilacs Bloom Again
1955 The Last Man
Sissi
1956 Sissi: The Young Empress
1957 The Girl and the Legend
Sissi: The Fateful Years of an Empress
1958 Scampolo
Girls in Uniform
1959 Eva
1962 Fire and Ice
The Trial
1963 The Victors
The Cardinal
1964 Good Neighbor Sam
1965 What’s New Pussycat
1966 Terence Young’s Triple Cross
1969 The Sinners
1971 Max and the Junkmen
1974 Love at the Top
The Infernal Trio
1975 The Most Important Thing: Love
The Old Gun
1978 A Simple Story
1981 The Inquisitor
1982 The Passerby

About Mascha Gonska

Born in La Ferté-Bernard (France) on 19 November 1952, Mascha Gonska is a former Polish actress who worked mainly in Germany. After an audition in 1969, she immediately played a leading role alongside Georg Thomalla in the comedy “Herzblatt oder Wie sag ich’s meiner Tochter?“. In the early 1970s she appeared in other German film farces. In 1971 she landed a supporting role in the film adaptation of Johannes Mario Simmel’s novel “Und Jimmy ging zum Regenbogen“.

After that she played a demanding leading role in the film “The Infernal Trio“. She got this role by chance. Actually, Uschi Glas was supposed to play the role of the nymphomaniac Catherine. Shortly before filming began, however, she turned it down. Mascha Gonska was in France at the time and available. So she got this role alongside Romy Schneider and Michel Piccoli. From 1975 to 1979 she worked mainly for television. So she took part in several episodes of the crime series “Derrick“, “Der Alte” and “Lobster“. In 1979 she married a South African. She gave up acting and moved with him to his home country.

Cinematic posters

Material processing 

Walter Potganski was able to realize the “Elaborate Digitization” together with Cristos Pateludis, an expert in film restoration who himself developed some tools for the respective processing stages. Together with Reno Bornkamm, he is the owner of the company Pateludis Video Transfer and was responsible, among other things, for the 4K scan, light determination and color correction.

Usually, these steps are done in the presence of the cinematographer and the director, which of course was no longer possible in this case. The experience in the technical field of film restoration goes back over 40 years and so in this case Walter Potganski and Cristos Pateludis were now themselves responsible for what is called the “film look”.

Teaser [2022] (German) ᴴᴰ

Trailer [2022] (German) ᴴᴰ

Comments about the movie

“Certainly interesting and brave in its day, today a rather tedious endeavor in parts, following a trio of money-grubbing ragheads and getting tangled up in slapstick. Watching Michel Piccoli and Romy Schneider at work, however, still makes for good entertainment.” (moviebreak.com)

“The production is film-historically interesting and worth seeing, it documents Romy Schneider’s efforts to say goodbye to the hated Sissi image with radical films and drastic roles – which she succeeded in doing with lasting effect.” (Filmreporter.de)

“Stylishly staged erotic horror” (kino-zeit.de / Marie Anderson)

“Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider and Mascha Gonska as a trio from hell who go murdering through France and dissolve the corpses of their victims in sulfuric acid. This lurid satire, with arguably Ennio Morricone’s funniest musical composition, was the scandal film of 1974.” (vivasvanpictures.wordpress.com)

“The film is a drastic delight, akin to the big grub. Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider and Mascha Gonska, who took the role originally planned for Uschi Glas, visibly had fun with this farce.” (verfuehrungzumfilm.wixsite.com)

“It is primarily the personalities of the actors that make Trio Infernal a success. The material itself tends toward the guignol, but even the most horrific scenes gain a certain detachment from the style Piccoli and Schneider give them.” (rogerebert.com)

“This in parts starkly naturalistic horror piece is far from parody or satire: an icily staged game of blood and disgust, violence and multiple perversions that only begins to be a serious reflection of modern life and social mechanisms.” (Dictionary of International Film)

“Through incisive character sketches, directorial debutant Francis Girod (“The Banker’s Wife”) manages a furious tightrope walk between macabre realism and bitterly wicked irony with his magnificently appointed horror piece. Alongside the irresistible Michel Piccoli, a disinhibited and unleashed Romy Schneider shines in the role of the unscrupulous, life-hungry luxury woman, who here finally clears up her “Sissi” image, shocked “Sissi” fans and was celebrated by the French press as the “charming monster”.” (prisma-online)

Alternative posters und covers

On 27 May 2022, UCM.ONE and moviemax will release “The Infernal Trio“, the bizarre story of a murderous tercet, brilliantly cast with Michel Piccoli, Romy Schneider and Mascha Gonska by French director Francis Girod and produced by Wolfdieter von Stein, Raymond Danon and Jacques Dorfmann, both as a limited media book and on Blu-Ray and DVD in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Available formats and features

Limited Mediabook (Blu-Ray + DVD):

Theatrical version re-scanned for the first time in 4K and restored in Full-HD + long version restored in Full-HD

Blu-Ray aspect ratio: WS 1.66:1 / 1080p 24; DVD aspect ratio: WS 1.66:1 (anamorphic) | total running time Blu-Ray 101 min (German theatrical version) & 105 min (long version); total running time DVD 101 min (long version)

Sound formats Blu-Ray: German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (mono), French DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (mono); Sound formats DVD: German DD 2.0 (mono); French DD 2.0 (mono) | Subtitles: German

Bonus material: German SUPER 8 version, 32-page booklet with texts by publicist & media scientist Stefan Jung, theatre scientist Lars Johansen, director, editor and acting lecturer Andreas Ullrich, original trailer, German trailer, artwork gallery, etc.

Rating: FSK 18

Blu-Ray:

Theatrical version rescanned for the first time in 4K and restored in Full-HD + long version restored in Full-HD

Picture format: WS 1.66:1 / 1080p 24 | Total running time: 101 min (German theatrical version) & 105 min (long version)

Sound formats: German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (mono), French DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (mono)

Subtitles: German

Bonus material: German SUPER 8 version, original trailer, German trailer, artwork gallery

Rating: FSK 18

DVD:

Re-scanned in 4K for the first time and restored in Full HD.

Aspect ratio: WS 1.66:1 / 1080p 24 | Total running time 101 Min

Sound formats: German DD 2.0 (mono), French DD 2.0 (mono)

Subtitles: German

Bonus material: German SUPER 8 version, Original Trailer, German Trailer, Artwork Gallery

Rating: FSK 18

News

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The film “The Infernal Trio” by director Francis Girod is available from today in the new 4K-scanned and Full HD-restored version as part of the Édition ParaSol Videothèque on the label Artkeim² by UCM.ONE in cooperation with moviemax. Romy Schneider, whose death anniversary will be the 40th on 29 May 2022, proved with “The Infernal…

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The new limited mediabook of the film “The Infernal Trio” (German title: “Trio Infernal”) by director Francis Girod with the German theatrical version, which has been rescanned in 4K and restored in full HD for the first time, is currently available for pre-order. It will be released as part of the Édition ParaSol Videothèque on UCM.ONE’s…

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May 29, 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of Romy Schneider’s tragic death. UCM.ONE is taking this in cooperation with moviemax as an occasion to release three cinematic masterpieces at the Édition ParaSol Videothèque from the mid-1970s with which Romy Schneider rose irrevocably to the Olympus of the Grandes Dames of French cinema. They are newly scanned…

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