A wealthy eccentric Italian gentleman believes himself to be 11th-century Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV.



(play), (adaptation)

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Episode credited cast:
Richard Purdy ...
Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV
Catherine Willard ...
Lady Matilda Spina
Baron Tito Belcredi
Virginia McMahon ...
Frieda Spina
Herself - Commercial Spokeswoman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Paul Brinson ...
Announcer (voice)


A wealthy eccentric Italian gentleman believes himself to be 11th-century Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV.

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Release Date:

5 December 1949 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Introduction from "Le Coq d' Or"
Music by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
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User Reviews

Interesting take on too seldom seen Pirandello
8 October 2011 | by (Bolton, Ct./Jersey City, NJ; United States) – See all my reviews

This 13th Episode from the Second Season (5 Dec. 1949) of CBS TV's prestige anthology (33rd of 467 ep.) was Maurice Valency's adaptation of Luigi (1837-1936) Pirandello's ENRICO IV (1922), aka THE LIVING MASK and THE EMPEROR HENRY IV. Translated by many, including Tom Stoppard, it was on Broadway in 1924 and 1973 (with Rex Harrison). This cast is not quite that lofty, but the translation by the man who would go on to create the primary English language translation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's 1956 THE VISIT is not bad. The story is of a wealthy man who believes himself to be the medieval Emperor Enrico IV following a head injury and whose sister creates an entire environment to cater to that fantasy - and what happens when the man regains his sanity. Most interesting, the play may have a devastating subtext from Pirandello's later life when, after catering to and being promoted by the rising Fascist movement which would control his native Italy for the remainder of his life, the playwright became disenchanted with them. Any serious limitations in our enjoyment of this drama are probably OURS - if one goes in knowing it's PIRANDELLO and not Shakespeare (Studio One's mistake in calling it by the bare English translation of the Italian title as neither of the Broadway productions did), it is a fascinating layered drama, and this production (available on Archive.org) a better than average representation.

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