Fedora (1978)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  13 September 1978 (France)
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Reviews: 19 user | 27 critic

Down-on-his-luck Hollywood producer Barry 'Dutch' Detweiler attempts to lure Fedora, a famous but reclusive film actress out of retirement.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Doctor Vando
Miss Balfour
Mario Adorf ...
Corfu Hotel Manager
Young Barry
President of the Academy
Himself (as Micheal York)
Count Sobryanski
Jacques Maury ...
Head Usher
Christine Mueller ...
Young Antonia
Ellen Schwiers ...


The former successful and famous Polish actress Fedora commits suicide at the Mortcerf Station, jumping off in front of a train. The broken Hollywood producer Barry 'Dutch' Detweiler attends the funeral at her house in Paris and recalls that he might have caused her death. Two weeks ago, Dutch traveled to Greece Island of Corfu seeking Fedora out in the Vila Calypso, located in an isolated island owned by the bitter Countess Sobryanski. Fedora has been living an unsocial reclusive life for the last years in the villa with the countess, the plastic surgeon Doctor Vando and her assistant Miss Balfour, since she abandoned the set of a film that she was shooting in London with Michael York. Dutch brings the screenplay with a version of "Anna Karenina" to offer to Fedora, with the promise that investors would finance the film if Fedora accepts the lead role. Fedora, who is impressively young, is receptive to the offer, but the countess and the doctor tell that she is mentally unstable and ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Youth had been a habit of hers for so long that she could not part with it.


Drama | Romance


PG | See all certifications »





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Release Date:

13 September 1978 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Den gådefulde Fedora  »

Box Office


$6,727,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film had its World Premiere on 30 May 1978 exhibited as part of a retrospective programme of the director Billy Wilder's work held at the Cannes Film Festival. See more »


When Doctor Vando and Dutch meet in the bar at approximately 30 minutes into the film, there is a closeup of Vando's earring. At the end of the scene as Doctor Vando leaves the bar (approximately 34 minutes), Vando points at his earring. This time, the earring is considerably thinner and smaller. See more »


Barry 'Dutch' Detweiler: [Last lines] Six weeks later the woman who called herself the Countess Sobryanski died peacefully on the island of Corfu. The news rated one short paragraph in the local paper. The electric blanket I sent her came back undelivered.
See more »


References Love (1927) See more »


C'est si bon
Music by Henri Betti
French lyrics by André Hornez
English lyrics by Jerry Seelen
Performed by Marthe Keller
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User Reviews

As Norma Desmond said, "The Pictures Got Small
29 August 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

William Holden made his fourth and final film for Billy Wilder who he always considered his lucky director. With such films as Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, and Sabrina to their credit who wouldn't consider that lucky? Fedora doesn't quite belong in the same category as those others from the golden years of Wilder and Holden. Still it's an interesting film to watch and you can never make a visually bad film in the Grecian Isles.

Holden plays Barry Detweiler an interesting older variation on Joe Gillis from Sunset Boulevard. Imagine if Gillis had avoided Norma Desmond's bullets and had gone on to a great film career and you have Barry Detweiler.

But the digs that Norma Desmond had in Sunset Boulevard compare badly to the splendor of the regal exile that movie legend Fedora has on the Grecian isle of Korfu. It's been a mystery how Fedora has managed to appear eternally young.

Back in the day Holden had a fling with Fedora and he's played here as a young man by Stephen Collins. Hoping to cash in on a quick roll on the beach from the Fifties, Holden has a script for a new version of Anna Karenina. After much scheming he does get into see Fedora, played by young Marte Keller.

Unfortunately some intriguing things keep bringing Holden back and in the end he does uncover the secret of Fedora's eternal youth. Let's say it was something not available to Norma Desmond.

Best performance in the film for me is Jose Ferrer, a quack plastic surgeon who has attached himself to Fedora as part of her entourage. Ferrer steals every scene he's in, that man was never bad in anything he did.

Maybe Fedora would have been a classic if Marlene Dietrich had come back to play the part of the old countess that Hildegard Knef did and Faye Dunaway had played Fedora. Personally I think the part of the countess was too close to home for Dietrich, but Wilder definitely wanted her.

What a film that would have been.

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