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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.


François Truffaut


François Truffaut (screenplay), Jean Gruault (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 11 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Isabelle Adjani ... Adèle Hugo
Bruce Robinson ... Lt Albert Pinson
Sylvia Marriott ... Mrs. Saunders
Joseph Blatchley ... Mr. Whistler
Ivry Gitlis Ivry Gitlis ... Hypnotist
Louise Bourdet Louise Bourdet ... Victor Hugo's servant
Cecil De Sausmarez Cecil De Sausmarez ... Mr. Lenoir
Ruben Dorey Ruben Dorey ... Mr. Saunders
Clive Gillingham Clive Gillingham ... Keaton
Roger Martin Roger Martin ... Doctor Murdock
M. White M. White ... Colonel White (as Mr White)
Madame Louise Madame Louise ... Madame Baa
Jean-Pierre Leursse Jean-Pierre Leursse ... Black penpusher


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


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Gitlis (as the hypnotist) dismisses his Chinese assistant so he can discuss in private with Adele. He allegedly talks to her in Chinese, but actually tells her in Hebrew to get lost. See more »


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 »


Adèle Hugo: You are so handsome, Albert. You deserve to have all the women on Earth.
See more »


Referenced in Delight (2013) See more »

User Reviews

Very Good Film About A Talented Writer Who Falls "In Love" W/ a Leiutenant
30 October 2004 | by NirannahSee all my reviews

Summary: A talented writer, Adele Hugo, becomes obsessed with her former lover , the indebted and womanizing Liutenant Pinson. Her love for him consumes her entire life and she eventually goes crazy because he doesn't love her back.

Acting: Except for Adjani's performance, the acting is not very good, but that doesn't matter too much because the only person with a large role is Adjani. The guy who plays Pinson is pretty one dimensional. Anyway though, Adjani gives an Oscar-worthy performance, and balances her character's vigorously muscular and blunt aggression with her character's silky-fine desperation and entrapment. Another actress might have played Adele as being recklessly obsessed, but Adjani doesn't do that. Adjani actually shows us the thoughts and rationality of her character; we first see Adele as an intelligent, innocent young woman who somehow, some way, becomes slimmed down to a stub of passion in Pinson's presence. Cinematography: bland and bleak, which works in a way because that's how Adele views the world in comparison to her own out-of-proportion sadness, but also doesn't work because that's all it does: show us how the world looks like to Adele. I would have preferred if the cinematography actually captured the different emotions Adele was going through in each scene, it would have made the cinematography less one-note. This flaw in the cinematography unfortunately carries over to the overall tone of the film. Script: Good. It definitely conveys how Adele is always trying, with a passion so great it verges on the comical, to form the confusion of her life into a solid piece of truth. Part of this passion seems to be part of her neuroses; part of it seems to be the artist in her at work.

The one flaw in the script was the voice over at the end: it didn't really give you a good idea of the rest of Adele's life, and I bet the writer put it in there because he thought, " Whoa, this script is pretty long. I'd better gloss over the later years of Adele's life." Costume design: Adele's red dress seems appropriately color-coded with the cinematography of the film, which, as I stated above, isn't such a good thing. Nothing else besides that red dress stuck out at me, and the rest of the costume design was pretty mediocre. Camera-work: Very good. I particularly like the slow zoom-in on the picture of Pinson, it was very powerful. Another good camera-work choice was when Pinson realized that Adele had told her father that she and Pinson were getting married. The director filmed this scene with the door blocking half the screen, which made the viewer feel, like Adele, very cut off from Pinson. I really liked the camera-work here, actually. Music: Powerful and fitting. I particularly liked the music when Pinson was walking towards Adele at the end. Overall: Very good film mainly carried by Adjani's excellent performance.

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French | English

Release Date:

8 October 1975 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Story of Adele H See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,206, 25 April 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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