Review: ‘Orphee’

Pic is a highly personalized, modernistic production, a poetic interpretation of the Orpheus myth transposed to modern times.

Pic is a highly personalized, modernistic production, a poetic interpretation of the Orpheus myth transposed to modern times.

The modern Orpheus is a Left Bank poet (Jean Marais) envied by his fellow writers. He becomes enamored of a strange princess depicted as in reality, Death (Maria Casares). From then on, the plot follows the general Orpheus fable.

Jean Cocteau’s scripting and directing give the film its proper key of unworldliness. Though slow at times, the special effects are expertly handled. Lensing is lucid and editing gives fine rhythm to pic.

Marais etches a fine portrait as the tortured Orpheus, and the enigmatic Casares is perfect as Death. Francois Perier as Heurtebise, and Marie Dea as Eurydice, round out the stellar spots well.

Orphee

France

Production

Palais Royal. Director Jean Cocteau; Producer Andre Paulve; Screenplay Jean Cocteau; Camera Nicolas Hayer; Editor Jacqueline Sadoul; Music Georges Auric; Art Director Jean D'Eaubonne

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1950. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Jean Marais Marie Dea Francois Perier Maria Casares Juliette Greco Edward Dhermitte

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