February 29, 1996

Lawsuit Threatened Over Remake of 'Diabolique'

Is there something diabolical in the latest remake of the classic 1955 French thriller "Diabolique?"

Ines Clouzot, the widow of Henri-Georges Clouzot, the director of the original film, announced this week that she planned to sue Morgan Creek, the American producers of the new version, contending that it was done without her permission. The new "Diabolique," starring Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani, is to be released in May at the Cannes International Film Festival.

The original movie was about a woman who plots the murder of her abusive husband with his mistress, only the plan goes awry.

The Times of London quoted Mrs. Clouzot as saying she learned about the film while reading at her hairdresser's. "Nobody warned me," she said. "I am the sole beneficiary of the rights to my husband's work."

In a statement, Linda Goldenberg, the senior vice president for marketing at Morgan Creek, said the company was within its rights in making the movie.

Ms. Goldenberg said Mrs. Clouzot had agreed to a payment, which the company would not disclose, in 1995. But now, she said, Mrs. Clouzot has "unilaterally determined on the eve of the release of our motion picture that the payment previously agreed to was insufficient and is now attempting to extract additional payment."

Ms. Stone said she was "ashamed to be associated with a production which appears to have been carried out in an improper way."

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