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The Story of Adele H (1975)

L'histoire d'Adèle H. (original title)
Adèle Hugo's unrequited love for a lieutenant.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Sylvia Marriott ...
Mrs. Saunders
Joseph Blatchley ...
Mr. Whistler
Ivry Gitlis ...
Hypnotist
Louise Bourdet ...
Victor Hugo's servant
Cecil De Sausmarez ...
Mr. Lenoir
Ruben Dorey ...
Mr. Saunders
Clive Gillingham ...
Keaton
Roger Martin ...
Doctor Murdock
M. White ...
Colonel White (as Mr White)
Madame Louise ...
Madame Baa
Jean-Pierre Leursse ...
Black penpusher
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Storyline

Halifax, 1863. A young woman, Miss Lewly, comes to Halifax to search for Lt Pinson, with whom she is madly in love. Actually, she is Adèle Hugo, the second daughter of the great French literary figure and statesman. The Lt Pinson does not answer to her love and makes her understand it is hopeless. But as her obsession grows she keeps chasing and harassing him. This film about passionate yet obsessive love and self-destruction is based upon the real diary of Adèle Hugo. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

8 October 1975 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Story of Adele H  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is based on true facts. See more »

Goofs

The hypnotist has a plant in the audience pretending to be a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which was not set up until a decade after the story's setting of 1863 See more »

Quotes

Adèle Hugo: I'm your wife. Forever. We'll stay together until we die.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 48th Annual Academy Awards (1976) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Truly Extraordinary
12 June 2005 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

Thirty years later it is hard to imagine "The Story of Adele H" without the then twenty-year old Isabelle Adjani as the title character. But at the time Truffaut's decision to cast the young French theatre star was very risky. Not because there was any doubt about Adjani's acting, but because casting someone who was arguably the most beautiful actress in the world as a character driven mad by unrequited love raised a potential credibility issue. Would viewers believe that the advances of a woman so beautiful, passionate, and intelligent were rejected? And could someone like that elicit sympathy from the average viewer.

But Truffaut knew what he was doing because Adjani's Adele Hugo is 100% convincing. And rather than going for audience sympathy they go for audience frustration as the viewer is increasingly exasperated over Adele's self-destructive behavior. Adjani's breathtaking beauty actually is an asset as Truffaut wants us convinced that the world holds open unlimited possibilities for Adele if only see can let go of her obsession. Adjani plays the character with such intensity that you are finally relieved when Adele's madness has reached the stage where she is no longer aware of her own suffering.

Apparently Adele Hugo (Victor Hugo's daughter) had other issues going on well before her obsessive quest for Lt. Pinson's love began. Her sister had drowned and her parents had always strongly favored the sister over Adele. She has recurrent nightmares about drowning and sees marriage to Pinson as the only way to escape from her father. Visually, Truffaut's stays with blacks, browns and blues; with much of each frame filled with shadows; not exactly dreary but consistent with a character who has found little non-fantasy happiness during her life.

The camera loves Adjani, a good thing as she is on screen for over 90% of the film. She was the youngest nominee ever for best actress. It was the best performance of the 1970's, probably no one but Adjani could have conveyed such inner emotional violence. It is that extremely rare visual performance that does not need subtitles or even sound.

As Roger Ebert noted: "Truffaut finds a certain nobility in Adele. He quotes one of the passages in her diaries twice: She writes that she will walk across the ocean to be with her lover. He sees this, not as a declaration of love, but as a statement of a single-mindedness so total that a kind of grandeur creeps into it. Adele was mad, yes, probably - but she lived her life on such a vast and romantic scale that it's just as well Pinson never married her. He would have become a disappointment".


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