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Orpheus (1950)
"Orphée" (original title)

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Orphee is a poet who becomes obsessed with Death (the Princess). They fall in love. Orphee's wife, Eurydice, is killed by the Princess' henchmen and Orphee goes after her into the ... See full summary »

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Title: Orpheus (1950)

Orpheus (1950) on IMDb 8/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
François Périer ...
María Casares ...
The Princess - Death
Marie Déa ...
Henri Crémieux ...
L'éditeur
Juliette Gréco ...
Aglaonice
Roger Blin ...
The Poet
Edouard Dermithe ...
Paul Amiot ...
Judge
René Worms ...
Judge
Raymond Faure
Pierre Bertin ...
Le commissaire
Jacques Varennes ...
Judge
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
André Carnège ...
Judge
Claude Mauriac
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Storyline

Orphee is a poet who becomes obsessed with Death (the Princess). They fall in love. Orphee's wife, Eurydice, is killed by the Princess' henchmen and Orphee goes after her into the Underworld. Although they have become dangerously entangled, the Princess sends Orphee back out of the Underworld, to carry on his life with Eurydice. Written by <P.M.Laws@education.leeds.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

poet | underworld | radio | mirror | death | See All (35) »

Genres:

Fantasy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 November 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Orpheus  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orphee's obsession with deciphering hidden messages contained in random radio noise is a direct nod to the coded messages that the BBC concealed in their wartime transmissions for the French Resistance. See more »

Quotes

Heurtebise: I am letting you into the secret of all secrets, mirrors are gates through which death comes and goes. Moreover if you see your whole life in a mirror you will see death at work as you see bees behind the glass in a hive.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Angels in America (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

A great story with great imagery
20 August 2004 | by (Scottsdale, AZ) – See all my reviews

This is my favorite Cocteau film and the most accessible of the Orpheus trilogy, which includes Blood of the Poet (1930) and The Testament of Orpheus (1960). It tells the story of a poet's love for both his wife and "The Princess", a shadowy figure who conducts humans to the underworld upon their death. Orpheus is obsessed with the figure of Death and, ignoring his pregnant wife, follows her into the underworld. The Princess, in turn, falls in love with Orpheus, conducts Orpheus's wife into the underworld, and is eventually punished for "breaking the rules". The underworld is portrayed as a bureaucracy where drab clerks hold hearings in small drab rooms and bring down the wrath of the "rules" on anyone who does not play out their specified role.

Maria Casares is superb as the Princess but François Périer is my favorite character, Heurtebise, the Princesses assistant who also "breaks the rules" by falling in love with Orpheus' wife. Jean Marais is also excellent as the poet Orpheus. Cocteau comments on the role of the poet in society through the role of Orpheus. The young avant garde crowd has turned against Orpheus and now worships the vacant Cegeste. Orpheus asks his publisher what he must do to regain their admiration and is told to "astonish us". When the police inspector is about to arrest Orpheus and then, upon recognizing him, lets him off and asks for his autograph, you know we're not in Kansas (or anywhere in the US).

Several of the characters (The Princess, Heurtebise and Cegeste), played by the same actors, repeat their roles 10 years later in The Testament of Orpheus, passing judgement on Cocteau himself. Their scenes are the best part of that film.

This is a very beautiful film that I've grown to like more and more upon repeat viewings. 9 out of 10.


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