Trapped in a humdrum marriage to pathetic Camille (Jacques Duby) and fed up with her mother-in-law's criticism, Therese (Signoret) is a frustrated woman longing for escape. Then a torrid love affair with stocky trucker Laurent (Vallone) kick-starts her engine, and the promise of a better life beckons. However, Therese finds herself unwilling either to run away with Laurent or end their adulterous relationship, a conflict with fateful consequences for them all.
Why we love it
Based on a novel by French novelist Emile Zola, "Raquin" is about a desperate woman in desperate circumstances, and plays a bit like "Madame Bovary" crossed with "The Postman Always Rings Twice." The ever-luminous Signoret pulls her role off beautifully, making Therese a figure of sympathy rather than contempt – an adulteress with a complicated, self-destructive moral viewpoint. Filmed on location in dreary-looking Lyon, "Raquin" is a finely wrought melodrama brimming with sexual tension, all building to a confrontational climax.