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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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(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

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Language:

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Release Date:

8 October 1975 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Story of Adele H  »

Filming Locations:

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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

Initially planned as a grand-scale spectacular drama with Jeanne Moreau to play the lead, then Catherine Deneuve (then having an affair with François Truffaut) was considered for the role. The film took 7 years to be made, and finally Truffaut decided on Isabelle Adjani whom he noticed on a TV broadcast of the Comédie Française: 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

Referenced in Sneak Previews: The Best and Worst Films of 1976 (1977) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A quietly haunting film with a staggering performance from Adjani
28 November 2012 | by See all my reviews

"I'm still young and yet it sometimes seems to me that I've reached the autumn of my life." This tragic statement, taken from the diaries of Adele Hugo, daughter of Victor, is both the doomed statement of a young girl driven mad by love, and an ironic testament to the performance of a then 20 year old Isabelle Adjani. Francois Truffaut takes us back to 1863, with the American Civil War in full swing, and France and Great Britain still undecided in participation. Young Adele Hugo arrives at a camp in Nova Scotia seeking out her great love Lieutenant Pinson (Bruce Robinson), who she had embarked on a love affair with and whose potential marriage had been frowned upon.

What may have become a rather frustrating depiction of a desperate woman in love, Truffaut takes special care to create an air of Greek tragedy, as we witness the emotional deterioration of our protagonist, and her desperate pursuit of the unwilling Lieutenant Pinson. Adjani, simply unnervingly beautiful (seriously, how do the French keep doing it?), gives everything to the role. Adele herself, as depicted in the picture, is a time-bomb of emotions, giving every ounce of her strength into the tidal wave of pure love she feels - possibly a result of her father's grand romantic poems and novels - so anything less from Adjani wouldn't haven't done Adele justice.

This is a different kind of work to what I've previously seen from Truffaut - I'm more familiar with his New Wave productions. Adele H. is filmed in dark lighting, acting almost like a character itself signifying the darkness clouding in Adele's emotional torment. Victor Hugo's presence can be felt throughout the film, although he is never seen. Adele's story was taken from her diaries and the frequent letters she wrote to her parents, both of whom were concerned for her well- being. She attempts to keep her identity a secret, but friends are shocked when they uncover her secret, and the film works almost as a testament to Victor Hugo, a bow to his sheer immensity. But whether this is an ode to tragic intellectualism, or a human story that grabbed Truffaut's heart, I'll never know, but this is a gently haunting tale, and one that will make you want to personally open the eyes of Adele to the possibilities that are all around her, were she not so swept away by madness and love.

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