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The Human Voice (1966)

A monologue of a woman talking on the phone with her longterm lover who is about to marry another girl.

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Storyline

A monologue of a woman talking on the phone with her longterm lover who is about to marry another girl.

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Drama

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Release Date:

4 May 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La voz humana  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 'Flaxman 4924' number that the woman asks the operator to call would have been in Chelsea (London). Later in real life Ingrid Bergman lived and died in Chelsea. See more »

Connections

Version of L'amore (1948) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Human Voice 50 years ago
17 January 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Cocteau's 'The Human Voice' was produced for television by David Susskind who never shied away from the controversial or the unusual. Ingrid Bergman was cast in this one woman production. Hollywood had 'forgiven' Bergman for her adultrous affair with Roberto Rosselini, when she received her Oscar for 'Anastasia' in 1957. And so, without a trace of irony, Bergman plays a woman who is trying to win back a lover who has abandoned her. Since we are on a TV set, the Cocteau's spare decor of a telephone, a desk and chair, has undergone interior decoration: Bergman is in an apartment with bedroom but nothing else seen in the flat. It is disorderly, ashtrays filled with cigarettes and ash, empty bottles, an unmade bed. Every is so arranged to set the tone, create the mood and the psychological mood of this lonely, edgy woman. Bergman brings her talents more as a plea than a declaration of love to revive the embers of a relationship that has gone cold. Cocteau, cleverly constructed the play, so that the telephone is cut and then as the connection is reestablished, Bergman's voice weakens as she tries to put on a brave face. We can imagine that his voice that we never hear is soothingly measured, perhaps not inflected, to soothe her bruised soul, since it is revealed, she has tried to kill herself. And in spurious urgency she realizes he is lying to her and that he telephoning from his new lover's place. And as fights back tears and her extreme desire to maintain contact with him, his lack of interest in her, in the end, defeats her struggle to stretch out conversation with him has reached its limit. And tearfully the human voice rings off. For French speakers, I suggest listening to Simone Signoret. For the opera lover, Francis Poulenc's one act opera.


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