IMDb > Cousin Bette (1998)
Cousin Bette
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Cousin Bette (1998) More at IMDbPro »

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Cousin Bette -- Open-ended Trailer from 20th Century Fox


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Up 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Honoré de Balzac (novel)
Lynn Siefert (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Cousin Bette on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
12 June 1998 (USA) See more »
Who knew deception, treachery and revenge could be this much fun...
Cousin Bette is a poor and lonely seamstress, who, after the death of her prominent and wealthy sister... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
(9 articles)
Toronto Film Review: ‘Therese’
 (From Variety - Film News. 9 September 2013, 10:25 AM, PDT)

Tiff Brody French Cinema Day: 'Apres Mai.' 'Therese Desqueyroux,' 'A Few Hours of Spring'
 (From Thompson on Hollywood. 9 September 2012, 9:37 AM, PDT)

Bel Ami | Review
 (From ioncinema. 6 June 2012, 9:35 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Love is the Master, You are the Slave See more (27 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Directed by
Des McAnuff 
Writing credits
Honoré de Balzac (novel)

Lynn Siefert (screenplay) &
Susan Tarr (screenplay)

Produced by
Philippe Guez .... co-producer
Sarah Radclyffe .... producer
Rob Scheidlinger .... executive producer
Lynn Siefert .... executive producer
Susan Tarr .... executive producer
Neris Thomas .... associate producer
Original Music by
Simon Boswell 
Cinematography by
Andrzej Sekula 
Film Editing by
Tariq Anwar 
Barry Alexander Brown 
Casting by
Karen Margiotta 
Mary Margiotta 
Liora Reich 
Production Design by
Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski 
Art Direction by
Richard Bridgland 
Bertrand Clercq-Roques  (as Bertrand Clerq-Roques)
Didier Naert (supervising art director)
Set Decoration by
Robert Le Corre 
Costume Design by
Gabriella Pescucci 
Makeup Department
Jean-Charles Bachelier .... hair stylist
Catherine Damiani .... makeup artist
Linda De Andrea .... hair stylist: Ms. Lange
Romaine de Micas .... makeup assistant (as Romaine De Micas)
Marie-Pierre Hattabi .... assistant hair stylist
Maureen Hetherington .... additional makeup artist (as Maureen Heatherington)
Desne J. Holland .... hair stylist: Ms. Shue (as Desne Holland)
Desne J. Holland .... makeup artist: Ms. Shue (as Desne Holland)
Paul Huntley .... wigs: Ms. Lange
Terry Jarvis .... wig maker
Dorothy J. Pearl .... makeup artist: Ms. Lange (as Dorothy Pearl)
Lisa Pickering .... additional makeup assistant
Ivana Primorac .... hair stylist
Ivana Primorac .... makeup artist
Jenny Shircore .... hair designer
Jenny Shircore .... makeup designer
Christine Whitney .... additional makeup assistant
Production Management
Jean-Jacques Damiani .... unit manager
Josceline Genest .... post-production supervisor: Montreal
Daniel Szuster .... production manager
Florent Valentin .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Eric Bartonio .... first assistant director
Barry Alexander Brown .... second unit director
Daisie De Gueltzl-Paradis .... trainee assistant director (as Daisy Degueltzl)
Amadou Faye .... third assistant director
Frédéric Garson .... second assistant director (as Frederic Garson)
Judy Minor .... assistant director: theatre scenes
Aminta Townshend .... third assistant director
Art Department
Jean-Claude Alei .... carpenter
Yves Allemand .... carpenter
Herve Babald .... plasterer
Serge Barberousse .... swing gang
Brigitte Baudet .... supervising sculptor
Stephane Beauverger .... carpenter
Frédéric Betaillole .... art department assistant (as Frederic Bataillole)
Karen Boetschi .... plasterer
Daniel Borgnon .... carpenter/tracer
Philippe Boucheron .... carpenter
George Boudic .... carpenter/tracer
Eric Boulain .... plasterer
Eric Bourges .... construction coordinator
Paul Nicolas Boutier .... carpenter
Philippe Boutille .... sculptor
Jean Pierre Cartier .... carpenter
Eric Charbeau .... assistant art director
Bernard Chedin .... prop buyer
Jean-Pierre Chevalier .... swing gang
Bernard Coispel .... carpenter
Giovanni Coppola .... scenic artist
Bruno Coucoureux .... carpenter/tracer
Daniel Crociati .... painter
Jean-Noël Delalande .... painter
Jean-Pierre Delettre .... carpenter/tracer
Jean-Marc Depond .... swing gang
Joris Dijkmeijer .... plasterer
Christian Dossat .... supervising painter
Patrick Dufau .... lead man
Olivier Dugue .... carpenter
Laurent Duquenne .... carpenter
Richard Fitzgerald .... storyboard artist
Marc Flouquet .... prop buyer
Jean Garat .... carpenter
Emmanuelle Garcia .... painter
Vincent Gazier .... sculptor
Samantha Giblin .... art department assistant
Jane Gifford .... scenic artist
Jane Gifford .... sketch artist
Stephane Girard .... swing gang
Federica Glaretta .... painter
Franz Goelzer .... painter
Gil Grollier .... dressing props
Isabelle Gruand .... assistant draper
Marie-France Harribey .... assistant draper
Jean-Francois Huchet .... carpenter
Bernard Husquin .... supervising carpenter
Joel Kieffer .... painter
Nathalie Larcher .... trainee painter
Remi Laureau .... carpenter
Isabelle Le Cudennec .... trainee sculptor
Gwendal Le Goarnig .... carpenter/tracer
Jean-Sebastien Lhersi .... carpenter
Claude Locussol .... carpenter
Delphine Mabed .... assistant art director
Catherine Mananes .... painter
Magali Manotte .... painter
Philippe Margottin .... stand-by props
Franz Merckling .... carpenter (as Franck Merckling)
Jacques Mizrahi .... carpenter/tracer
Georges Mougine .... draper
Nour-Eddine Oitahar .... painter
Bruno Oliver .... prop food supplier: Cafe Gourmand
Jean-Philippe Petit Robert .... carpenter
Tom Pleydell-Pearce .... stand-by props
Amanda Ponsa .... painter
Quentin Prévost .... carpenter (as Quentin Prevost)
Laurence Raphael .... plasterer
Christophe Ribereau-Gayon .... sculptor
Theophile Robert .... painter
Bernard Rolland .... prop buyer
Patrick Schmitt .... construction buyer
Vincent Sentis .... carpenter
Jean Pierre Tonnelier .... carpenter/tracer
Marc Valladon .... carpenter
Marc Valladon .... construction assistant
Anne Ventura .... assistant art director
Philippe Vermeille .... supervising carpenter
Thomas Vichy .... machinist
Jean-Loup Walraet .... supervising carpenter
Jean-Pierre Waterlot .... chargehand painter
Claire Worthington .... prop buyer
Sound Department
Jérôme Ayasse .... boom operator (as Jerome Ayasse)
Peter Dansie .... dialogue editor
Geoff Foster .... sound mixing engineer
Geoff Foster .... sound recording engineer
Mathew Harmer .... playback sound (as Matthew Harmer)
Michael Harris .... playback sound (as Mike Harris)
Dean Humphreys .... re-recording mixer
Luke Jones .... assistant dialogue editor
Drew Kunin .... production sound mixer
Keith Mason .... assistant sound editor
Michael Redfern .... adr editor
Jupiter Sen .... sound designer
Derek Trigg .... sound editor
Nick Wollage .... assistant sound mixing engineer
Special Effects by
Peter Ch. Arnold .... special effects technician (as Peter Arnold)
Alexander Gunn .... special effects technician (as Alex Gunn)
Geoff Hood .... special effects technician
Graham Longhurst .... special effects supervisor
Visual Effects by
Zoe Cain .... scanning and recording: The Film Factory at VTR
Alan Church .... digital effects producer: The Film Factory at VTR
Sally Clayton .... effects compositor: The Film Factory at VTR
Tim Davies .... effects compositor: The Film Factory at VTR
Paul Round .... effects compositor: The Film Factory at VTR
Bill Scanlon .... visual effects producer: The Film Factory at VTR
Peter Talbot .... scanning and recording: The Film Factory at VTR
Matthew Twyford .... effects compositor: The Film Factory at VTR
Trevor Young .... scanning and recording: The Film Factory at VTR
David Sewell .... visual effects artist (uncredited)
John Swinnerton .... motion control cameraman (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Pierre Abraham .... gaffer
Thierry Alais .... dolly grip
Melissa Byers .... camera trainee
François Coignard .... electrician (as Francois Coignard)
Serge Croisy .... generator operator
Zoran Djordjevic .... director of photography: second unit
Roland Dondin .... electrician
Nadia Doueiri .... clapper loader
Ziad Doueiri .... focus puller
Nathalie Ermont .... second assistant camera
Jasper Fforde .... assistant camera: second unit
Gilles Floquet .... dolly grip
David Koskas .... still photographer
Jonathan Lambert .... assistant camera: second unit
Pascal Lombardo .... best boy electric
Jean-Pierre Mas .... key grip
Philippe Peyraud .... electrician
John Ward .... Steadicam operator
David Campbell .... crane operator: Technocrane (uncredited)
Animation Department
Daniel Borgnon .... tracer
George Boudic .... tracer
Bruno Coucoureux .... tracer
Jean-Pierre Delettre .... tracer
Gwendal Le Goarnig .... tracer
Jacques Mizrahi .... tracer
Jean Pierre Tonnelier .... tracer
Casting Department
Frederic Bourgade .... extras casting assistant
Jean Philippe Bourgade .... extras casting
Nathalie Cheron .... casting: France
Marie-Laure Ducombs .... extras casting assistant
Olivier Thomas .... extras casting assistant
Ghislaine Victor .... extras casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Flora Brancatella .... assistant costume designer
Anne Brault .... assistant costume designer
Lorianne Chenel .... tailor (as Laurianne Chenel)
Mario Davignon .... wardrobe supervisor
Azmin Jaffer .... dresser
Antoinette Laparade .... dresser
Marie-Christine Lenormand .... dresser
Claudette Lilly .... assistant to costume designer
Annie Paris .... dresser
Editorial Department
Hermione Byrt .... first assistant editor
Christophe Combes .... third assistant editor
Paul Ensby .... grader
Nathalie Ermont .... editing department trainee
Katherine Grimond .... post-production assistant
Mark Harris .... first assistant editor
Catherine Jardine .... post-production coordinator
Lucky Smith .... second assistant editor
Aminta Townshend .... post-production assistant
Rona Buchanan .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Lucy Smith .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Location Management
Eric Belassen .... location manager: Paris
Pierre D'Hoffelize .... location manager
Bill Darby .... location scout
Jean-Daniel Gilvestre .... assistant location manager: Paris
Laurent Grenaud .... assistant location manager
Astride Kimpflen .... assistant location manager
Jordane LaFourcade .... location assistant (as Jordane Lafourcade)
Christophe Roux .... location assistant
Gilles Saulnier .... assistant location manager
Florent Valentin .... assistant location manager
Music Department
Becky Bentham .... music coordinator: Air-Edel Associates Ltd.
Rachel Bolt .... viola
Simon Boswell .... music arranger
Simon Boswell .... music producer
Terry Davies .... conductor
Terry Davies .... orchestrator
Pablo de Sarasate .... composer: song "Zapateado" from "Opus 23" (as Pablo Sarasate)
Isobel Griffiths .... orchestral contractor
Alex Heffes .... assistant to composer
Kevin Lane .... music editor
Des McAnuff .... music adaptor
Maya Megub .... musician: violin
Ottokar Novácek .... composer: song "Perpetuum Mobile"
Giovanni Palestrina .... composer: song "Kyrie Eleison"
Colin Rae .... music copyist
Maggie Rodford .... music coordinator: Air-Edel Associates Ltd.
Danny Troob .... music adaptor
Danny Troob .... music arranger: songs
Danny Troob .... musician: piano
Danny Troob .... orchestrator
Nick Wollage .... assistant recording engineer
Mark Berrow .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Christopher Ross .... musician: piano solo (uncredited)
Matt Walker .... music executive (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Alain 'Manu' Baumgarten .... transportation captain
Mike Bleackley .... driver: winnebago
Philippe Dechaloup .... unit driver
Laurent Delpit .... unit driver
Gerry Gore .... driver: Ms. Lange
Johan Graslin .... driver: winnebago
Mike Henley .... vehicle supplier: Location Facilities
Rodolphe Lanaro .... unit driver
Bruce Lignerat .... driver: costume department
Vincent Merienne .... unit driver
Olivier 'Diabolo' Paltsou .... unit driver
Jean-Jacques Pauchey .... driver: honeywagon
Ray Redrup .... vehicle supplier: Location Facilities
Roger Samson .... unit driver
Albert Smith .... driver: winnebago
Bob Valles .... driver: winnebago (as Bob Vallas)
Other crew
Christophe Antonin .... unit assistant
Janine Barrientos .... production accountant
Pierre Bimes .... flowers supplier
Florence Bonichon .... assistant to production manager
Jean Bourne .... script supervisor
Early Boyd .... assistant to director: New York
Sarah Briggs .... banking services: Lloyds Bank, Witney
Sabine Chaloupy .... assistant to co-producer
Sylvain Chatenoud .... catering assistant
Philip Clark .... assistant: Ms. Shue
Sophie Coulaud .... liaison: Bordeaux
Shaun Coyne .... adjuster: Crawford - THG
Stavros Crouzel .... catering assistant
Claude Dallet .... production accountant
Marc Dauber .... flowers supplier
Esther Douglas .... assistant to producer (sarah radclyffe )
Esther Douglas .... assistant to producer
Penny Dyer .... adr dialogue coach
John Ensby .... laboratory contact
Mike Fidduch .... chef: Set Meals (as Michael Fiddock)
Lynn Gaskin .... contact: London
Jane Gibson .... choreographer
Jane Gibson .... movement consultant
Isabelle Giese .... production secretary
Simon Giles .... title designer: main and end titles
Philippe Giraudeau .... assistant to choreographer
Bill Godfrey .... financial controller
Katherine Grimond .... assistant: Ms. Lange
Pat Harding .... production accountant: UK
Emmanuelle Hardolin .... assistant to production manager
Keith Hayley .... production accountant: UK
Olivia Herrantz .... secretary to co-producer
Billy Hinshelwood .... legal services: Marriott Harrison
Andrew Jack .... dialogue coach
Wolf Kroeger .... visual consultant
Thomas Lascar .... projectionist
Anne-Marie Lefèvre .... production office runner (as Anne Marie Lefevre)
Rodney Liber .... production consultant (as Rod Liber)
Dixie Linder .... production associate
Fenella Maguire .... key accountant
Chantal Malrat .... production accountant
David Marsan .... on-set medic
Agnes Marty .... assistant to co-producer
Sirish Maude .... tax and financial consultant: Maude & Co.
Alison McHale .... adjuster: Crawford - THG
Patrick Monsec .... unit assistant
Sinead O'Keeffe .... assistant to director: London
Kevin O'Shea .... insurance services: Aon/Albert G. Ruben
Camille Panonacle .... stand-in: Ms. Lange
Sammy Pasha .... assistant: Mr. Hoskins
Marion Peterson .... script translator
Patricia Reid-Douglas .... production coordinator
Melissa Rosenbaum .... production coordinator
Phil Rymer .... legal services: Marriott Harrison
Jean-Guy Sirac .... unit assistant
Chad Sylvain .... researcher
Adrian Tanner .... rushes runner
Olivier Thomas .... stand-in: Mr. Laurie
Ollie Timberlake .... catering manager: Set Meals
Olivia Trench .... assistant to director: Bordeaux
Ghislaine Victor .... stand-in: Ms. Shue
Patrick Vignasse .... cashier
Dan Walker .... legal services
Lizzie Would .... cordon bleu assistant
Mark Cooper .... special thanks
Bob Crowdey .... special thanks
Robbie Robertson .... special thanks
Louise Seymour .... special thanks
John Spirit .... special thanks
Hugh Whittaker .... special thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for sexuality
108 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Canada:14A (Alberta) | Canada:PG (British Columbia) | Canada:PA (Manitoba) | Canada:14 (Nova Scotia) | Canada:AA (Ontario) | Iceland:LH | Singapore:M18 | Spain:13 | Sweden:7 | UK:15 | USA:R
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Melanie Lynskey was considered for the role of Hortense Hulot.See more »
Vauvinet, the Moneylender:It's the not about the money, you understand...
Victorin Hulot:I understand.
Vauvinet, the Moneylender:...It's the principle.
Victorin Hulot:I understand.
Vauvinet, the Moneylender:So if you don't repay us, we kill you, your wife and children and throw your bodies into the Seine.
Victorin Hulot:I understand.
See more »
Spera O'MarinarSee more »


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24 out of 27 people found the following review useful.
Love is the Master, You are the Slave, 17 December 2004
Author: JamesHitchcock from Tunbridge Wells, England

The words 'adapted from a novel by Honore de Balzac' would suggest to most cinema-goers an example of French heritage cinema, like the excellent version of his 'Le Colonel Chabert' made with Gerard Depardieu in the early nineties. Although Balzac is often claimed by the French as their greatest novelist, he has not captured the imagination of the Anglo-Saxon reading or cinema-going public in the same way as some of his compatriots such as Hugo, Verne, Flaubert or Dumas. Apart from 'Cousin Bette', I am not aware of any other English-language feature films based on his works.

The story is set in the Paris of the 1840s. Bette Fischer is a middle-aged spinster who works as a theatrical costumer. She is not well-off financially and lives in a sparsely-furnished apartment, although she has more elevated social connections; her cousin Adeline, who dies at the beginning of the film, was married to the influential Baron Hulot. Bette, however, had little love for Adeline, as she was jealous of her cousin's beauty and of her marriage to a successful man. She falls in love with Count Wenceslas Steinbock, a young Polish sculptor who lives in the same apartment block, but loses her sweetheart to Adeline's pretty young daughter Hortense. Bette's dislike of the Hulot family now turns to hatred, and she plots her revenge. She forms an alliance with Jenny Cadine, an opera singer-cum-courtesan and a former mistress of the Baron, who has given her up in accordance with his wife's dying wishes. Jenny, with Bette's encouragement, tries to ruin the happiness of the young couple by seducing Wenceslas away from Hortense.

Those who are familiar with Balzac's novel will realise from the above summary that the film does not stick closely to its plot. Adeline, for example, dies at the very end of the novel, not at the beginning. The real villainess of the novel is not Jenny (who plays only a minor part) or even Bette (who is portrayed as pitiable as well as spiteful), but Valerie Marneffe, the scheming, hypocritical, gold-digging and thoroughly corrupt middle-class housewife who becomes the mistress of Hulot, Wenceslas and several other men. Valerie does not appear in the film at all; nor do Hulot's other mistresses. The film concentrates on the relationships between Bette, Wenceslas, Hortense and Jenny; Hulot, a major figure in the book, becomes less important in the film. The ending of the film, in particular, seems unsatisfactory. There is a confused attempt to tie the story of the Hulot family in with the revolution of 1848, an event that had not even taken place when the novel was written in 1846. This was probably inspired by the standard school textbook idea that the French Revolution represented a corrupt aristocracy getting its just deserts, but this interpretation seems to confuse the events of 1848 with those of 1789, and it is not one that is likely to have appealed to the conservative monarchist Balzac. The replacement of the constitutional monarchy of the amiable 'Roi Citoyen' Louis-Philippe with the regime of the unscrupulous adventurer Napoleon III was not the most glorious episode in French history.

Like some other reviewers, I felt that some of the roles were miscast. Jessica Lange, even in her late forties, was far too attractive for the role of the dried-up, embittered spinster Bette. (Balzac chose the name because of its similarity to the French word 'bete', meaning 'beast'). Bette's driving force is sexual jealousy of the beauty of other women, particularly of Adeline and Hortense, but Miss Lange's character is not a woman who would need to feel jealous of anyone. Kelly Macdonald's Hortense seemed too insipid. Hugh Laurie, in his late thirties at the time the film was made, was far too young for the role of Hulot. The character envisaged by Balzac was probably in his sixties and the father of two adult children. (Hortense has an elder brother, Victorin). Laurie, better known in Britain as a comedian than as an actor, plays Hulot as a largely comic figure, whereas in the novel he is a tragic one, a distinguished public servant ruined by his sexual passions and his financial improvidence.

The book forms part of the sequence of novels which Balzac intended as a close examination of French society and to which he gave the title of 'La Comedy Humaine'. Despite this title, most of the individual novels, 'La Cousine Bette' among them, are deeply serious rather than humorous, but the filmmakers here seem to treat the story as a black comedy. On the whole, in fact, this approach works well. The story moves along at a brisk pace, helped on its way by some witty songs. The title of one of these, 'Love is the Master, You are the Slave', is perhaps the best encapsulation one could wish for of the film in a single phrase; most of the characters are enslaved by their sexual desires. Jessica Lange may be physically wrong for the part, but she nevertheless throws herself into her role with gusto and makes a splendidly hissable pantomime villainess. Elisabeth Shue's singing voice is not really strong enough to make her convincing as an opera singer, but she is well able to convey Jenny's seductive charms. Unlike some, I found no difficulty with the fact that Bette and Jenny had American accents; both, after all, were originally peasant girls from Alsace-Lorraine (Bette's surname implies that her native language is probably German rather than French) and would not have spoken French with the Parisian accents of the other characters. There are some good performances in minor roles; Toby Stephens makes a suitably dull and priggish Victorin, a man who is the complete antithesis of his father, and Bob Hoskins is in superb form as the greasy businessman Crevel. The name is derived from 'crever', meaning to burst, and Hoskins's Crevel is a man positively bursting with his own self-importance. The film may take liberties with Balzac, but on the whole it is an enjoyable one which works reasonably well in its own right. 6/10

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