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Elizabeth Lee Miller,
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good, though Cocteau's later works are even better
This movie was written by Jean Cocteau and it's pretty obvious due to the odd plot twists, romantic tone and mythological roots to the plot. Just a few years later, he was to BOTH write and direct Beauty and the Beast and Orpheus. These two are better films than The Eternal Return, though this movie is still worth watching--particularly as it shows and evolution of Cocteau's ideas. So, this movie is sort of like and unpolished version of these two later movies in many ways--particularly Orpheus. Absent from this film are the odd camera tricks but the story elements are all here.
The love between the two main characters is best described as a combination of the tragic stories of Orpheus and Eurydice along with Romeo and Juliet, but I have recently been informed that the story is ACTUALLY a reworking of the story of Tristan and Isolde. Thrown in for good measure are a malevolent dwarf, the dwarf's detestable parents and a lot of cool plot twists.
However, there were a few things that just didn't work out well in the movie. First, when it was obvious that the crazed dwarf had tried to kill the lovers by offering them what he thought was poison, nothing was done to punish him or place him in an institute for the criminally insane. This is pretty prudent considering what the dwarf does LATER in the story! Second, I hate movies that feature ladies fainting. Unless there is a blow to the head or they've gone without eating for a very extended period of time, people DON'T just faint. This is such a stupid cliché and I'm a little surprised that anyone as innovative and intelligent as Cocteau would resort to this device.
Other than that, it's a nice film.
FYI--An IMPORTANT warning: The video I watched was from The International Collection from Nelson Entertainment. If there are any OTHER companies that make this video, try them first!!!! The captioning was absolutely horrible!! Often, much of the dialog was not subtitled or very long statements were boiled down to one or two words!!! They showed very little respect for the integrity of the movie!
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