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L'idiot (1946)

Muichkine, a young Russian prince, returns home to St. Petersburg from a mental institution, determined to spread decency and kindness in the harsh and cruel world. He becomes betrothed to ... See full summary »



(novel) (as Dostoievsky), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Nastasia Philipovna
Lucien Coëdel ...
Totsky (as Debucourt)
Madame Ivolvine
Le prince Muichkine (as Gérard Philippe)
Nathalie Nattier ...
Aglaé Epantchine
Naria (as Jeanne Marken)
Maurice Chambreuil ...
Le général Epantchine (as Chambreuil sociétaire de le Comédie Française)
Michel André ...
Gania Ivolvine
Elisabeth Hardy ...
Sophie Ivolvine
Louliane Timofeievitch Lebediev l'ivrogne (as Armontel)
Mathilde Casadesus ...
Adélaïde Epantchine
Janine Viénot ...
Alexandra Epantchine
Tramel ...
Marguerite Moreno ...
La générale Elisabeth Prokovievna Epantchine


Muichkine, a young Russian prince, returns home to St. Petersburg from a mental institution, determined to spread decency and kindness in the harsh and cruel world. He becomes betrothed to an innocent young girl while trying to save a less-innocent woman from her own travail, but jealousy and his own naivete conjoin to bring about unimaginable tragedy. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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based on novel | See All (1) »




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Release Date:

4 February 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Idiot  »

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Version of L'amour braque (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

A romantic masterpiece - More French than Russian...

Gérard Philipe, in his first screen role, plays an impoverished Russian aristocrat with an angelic face and a kind heart who is condemned to tell the truth in a tsarist society whose corruption won't allow it. He is a saintly figure. Unfortunately, far from performing miracles, his innate frankness tends to make things worse for everyone around him after confronting them with their inner failures. This film boasts incredible production values (costumes by Escoffier, sets by Bakst) and some of the finest dialog of any French movie (by Charles Spaak). Even Maurice Thiriet's idiosyncratic music manages to sound Russian at times. The film's elliptical retelling of the Dostoeivski novel (in 91 compact minutes) cannot be outdone for sheer intelligent and elegant movie-making. The actors, down to the last bit part (Marguerite Moreno, Sylvie, Debucourt, Chambreuil), are superb and would have made a retelling of "The Three Little Pigs" just as fascinating: Philipe as an unstoppable El Cid figure out of his element is halfway between Don Quichotte and Paphnuce (in Anatole France's "Thaïs") and already reveals his genius; Edwige Feuillère has never been more expressive, magical and mysterious; Lucien Coëdel and Nathalie Nattier might as well have been born for their respective parts since this is one of their too few screen appearances. I just saw this film again on Ontario's French channel, TFO, tonight. It deserves to be restored and made generally available on DVD. If only to show the world what actors there were on this planet before Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio took over.

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