7.3/10
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5 user 1 critic

The Human Voice (1966)

A monologue of a woman talking on the phone with her longterm lover who is about to marry another girl.

Director:

Ted Kotcheff

Writers:

Jean Cocteau (story), Clive Exton
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Cast

Credited cast:
Ingrid Bergman ... A Woman
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Storyline

A monologue of a woman talking on the phone with her longterm lover who is about to marry another girl.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 May 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La voz humana See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bergman also had recorded an audio LP record version of this play for release on Caedmon in 1960. See more »

Connections

Version of La voix humaine (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Monologue magic
29 August 2018 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Am someone who has always found Jean Cocteau's work very interesting, of which his monodrama 'La Voix Aux Humaine' ('The Human Voice') is one of his most intriguing for its emotional power and realistic depiction of the emotions a final telephone conversation can bring, though heard by one voice. Also have a lot of love for Poulenc's opera of the same name, beautiful music and an emotional roller-coaster, which incidentally Cocteau apparently loved, not surprising.

This 1966 television production is so utterly riveting dramatically, emotionally and in terms of writing that one completely forgets and doesn't care that the camera work is on the static side. It doesn't do anything to hinder the production though and doesn't cheapen the setting, which isn't too fancy or simple. Besides it is not the camera work that most people, including me, see 'The Human Voice' for. It's the dialogue and the acting in the title role that are the most important assets of this piece and both are out of this world.

From start to finish the story compels and draws in without ever letting go, staged in a way that's traditional and wholly respectful. It doesn't try to do too much, nor is it stage-bound or too compact.

Cocteau's writing makes for perhaps the greatest one-sided monologue/monodrama writing there ever was. It is emotionally complex, provokes thought long after, uncompromising in its realism and still has much pertinence today, the pain, the heart-break and the intensity of the situation is perfectly brought out in unflinching fashion. Anybody who has been through this situation or knows what final phone conversations are like will find themselves connecting with it especially. Despite us only seeing and hearing one side of the conversation one does not find it hard imagining or figuring out what would be said on the other side.

Ingrid Bergman is on towering form in the difficult one-woman show role, being the person having to carry the whole thing it was essential for her performance to work and her presence grabs you the minute she appears and for just under an hour one cannot look away. The character calls for a wide range of emotions and every single one needed is brought out intensely and movingly by Bergman.

Overall, sheer magic in every sense. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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