Diary of a Madman

Synopsis: Simon Cordier is a well-respected magistrate who visits a condemned prisoner, Louis Girot, just before the man's execution. Girot again pleads his innocence insisting that he has been taken over by a spirit that forced him to commit his crimes. Cordier doesn't believe him and the man suddenly dies. Cordier does however note a rapid change in his personality during their short interview. In the following days, Cordier must face a number of strange occurrences in his home. He begins to wonder if he is sleepwalking but is soon hearing voices and begins to wonder about his sanity. It's recommended to him that he take up sculpting, something he once had an interest in. He develops a relationship with Odette, a gold digger married to a struggling artist, but the evil, invisible spirit soon drives him to murder.
Genre: Horror
Director(s): Reginald Le Borg
Production: United Artists (
96 min


In His infinite wisdom,

the Lord has seen fit

to take from us

a just and courageous friend.

That Simon Cordier

in the prime of his manhood

should have come to his death

as he did,

makes his passing

even a greater shock

to those he has left behind.

As one of France's

most respected magistrates,

Simon Cordier dedicated his life

to the betterment of humanity.

All that Simon Cordier was

can be summed up in these words:

He was a good man.

May God have mercy on his soul.

Make him Eternal...

All those fine words.

I'm glad he's dead.

Mr. D'Arville, Miss Jeanne.

It was Magistrate Cordier's wish

before he died

that we all assemble

after the funeral.

My daughter and I are willing

to respect the wishes of the dead.

More so than if he were living.

We will see you at the gallery, then.


Why Magistrate Cordier

should have entrusted this task

to my daughter and to me,

I do not know.

Our feelings toward him

are no secret.

As Father Borman knows,

this chest and the letter

were given to my daughter

by Magistrate Cordier

the night he died.

The letter written by the Magistrate

says that if he died that night,

then, this chest must not be opened

until immediately after the funeral.

But why would he think

he might die?

Surely, it was an accident.

Father Barman,

my investigation proved

that it was not suicide.

The letter requested

that we be present

when the chest is opened,

since it involved matters

important to all of you.

The chest, Mr. D'Arville, please.

A book?

It seems to be a personal diary.

And a note.

"I speak to you from the grave."

"In the sanctuary of my coffin,

I can state certain facts

which I could not do

while I was alive.

If I had attempted to do so

before my death,

I would have been judged insane,

and my warning to mankind

would have gone unheeded."


What do you know about this?

Nothing, I swear it, Captain.

I did not know the Magistrate

even kept a diary.

That is the truth.

"Do not regard with cynicism

what you learn now.

Once you have heard

the contents of my diary,

the future will be in your hands.

God be with you,

for you will need His help."

Perhaps that is why the Magistrate

wanted you to be here.

Please, Mr. D'Arville, the diary.

September 17, 1886.

The strange events

which occasion me to begin this diary

started three days

before the murderer Louis Girot

was to go to the guillotine.

And police captain Rennedon

came to my chambers at the tribune.

Oh, Captain.

Is Magistrate Cordier busy?

He's just come from the court.

Come in.

Captain Rennedon, sir.

Oh, tell him to come in.

- Well, Robert.

- Simon.

This is a pleasure,

unless, of course,

you've brought me trouble.

I don't think I have,

considering your endless studies

of the criminal mind,

which I'll never understand.

It concerns Louis Girot.

He wants to talk to you.

Oh, does he want to change

the testimony he gave at the trial?

A strange fish, Girot.

It's hard to tell what he wants.

Well, he goes to the guillotine

in three days.

Perhaps it's his conscience.

A confession?

Maybe. It is possible.

As you say, he is a strange fish.

Girot murdered four people,

without motivation.

He didn't know any of them.

He didn't rob them.

He just killed.

Yes, the case is most perplexing.

Which means that you're curious

enough to see him.

To me, a thief is a thief,

a murderer is a murderer.

Life is much simpler that way.

- Shall we go?

- Yes.

There we are.

I'd better go in with you.

No, he might talk more

if we were alone.

All right, I'll wait here.


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Guy de Maupassant

Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant (; French: [ɡid(ə) mopasɑ̃]; 5 August 1850 – 6 July 1893) was a French writer, remembered as a master of the short story form, and as a representative of the naturalist school of writers, who depicted human lives and destinies and social forces in disillusioned and often pessimistic terms. Maupassant was a protégé of Flaubert and his stories are characterized by economy of style and efficient, effortless dénouements (outcomes). Many are set during the Franco-Prussian War of the 1870s, describing the futility of war and the innocent civilians who, caught up in events beyond their control, are permanently changed by their experiences. He wrote some 300 short stories, six novels, three travel books, and one volume of verse. His first published story, "Boule de Suif" ("Ball of Fat", 1880), is often considered his masterpiece. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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