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The Immortal Story (1968)

Histoire immortelle (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | TV Movie 18 September 1968
In the Portuguese town of Macao, a wealthy trader named Charles Clay hires two people to recreate a story of a sailor who is paid to impregnate a man's wife.

Director:

Orson Welles

Writers:

Karen Blixen (novel) (as Isak Dinesen), Orson Welles | 1 more credit »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jeanne Moreau ... Virginie Ducrot
Orson Welles ... Mr. Charles Clay
Roger Coggio ... Elishama Levinsky
Norman Eshley ... Paul, the sailor
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Storyline

The Portuguese colony of Macao in the 19th century. Mr. Clay is a very rich merchant and the subject of town gossip. He has spent many years in China and is now quite old. He likes his clerk Levinsky to read the company's accounts to him at night for relaxation. Tonight Mr. Clay recounts a true story he heard years before about a rich man who paid a poor sailor 5 guineas to father a child with his beautiful young wife. Levinsky says that's a popular old sailor's legend and not true. Mr. Clay has no heir for his fortune and no wife either. He resolves to make the story true... Levinsky approaches Virginie, another clerk's mistress, and strikes a bargain for 300 guineas. Now to find the sailor... Written by David Woodfield

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

18 September 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Immortal Story See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print) | (alternate)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orson Welles originally planned for this film to be made as part of an anthology of adaptations of stories by Karen Blixen. Originally made for French TV, it was later released in theaters. This movie is available on DVD from The Criterion Collection. See more »

Goofs

Some of the Chinese signs are upside down or backwards. See more »

Quotes

Elishama Levinsky: Behold, your God shall come with a recompense. Then the eyes of the blind shall be open and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then, shall the lame man leap like a deer and in the wilderness, shall the waters break out.
Mr. Charles Clay: What was all that? Has it happened?
Elishama Levinsky: No.
Mr. Charles Clay: Is is happening now?
Elishama Levinsky: No.
Mr. Charles Clay: Who put that thing together?
Elishama Levinsky: The prophet Isaiah.
Mr. Charles Clay: The prophet. Bah. I don't like prophecies. People should only record things that already happened.
See more »

Alternate Versions

French-language version runs 51 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Arena: The Orson Welles Story - Part 1 (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Gnossienne No. 3
(piano pieces)
Written by Erik Satie
Performed by Jean-Joël Barbier with permission of B.A.M.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Intriguing but slow
21 February 2012 | by cheroldSee all my reviews

A number of people who have reviewed this here have watched this film over and over, but I think once has proved enough for me. While it is only an hour, it moves slowly, and while there is an appealing oddness to the proceedings I was never caught up in it. The basic idea is intriguing (less so if you read the reviews here, many of which give away more than they should) and Moreau is quite affecting, but I find the glowing comments of other viewers downright peculiar.

To me, this feels like an adaptation of a story (by Isaac Dineson) that would probably be better read. A tremendous amount of voice over commentary and soliloquies are threaded through, and my feeling is if you need this many words to tell a story, it is probably not a good film story.

Like everything by Welles, it is worth watching. While it feels cheaply made, it still exhibits his sense of composition and his unique sensibility. But ultimately it's not especially good (at least based on one viewing) and certainly far from Welles' great works.


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