Review: ‘Le Testament D’Orphee’

A great deal of the money for this film was raised from friends and well-wishers. The combo patronage-industry pic allows Jean Cocteau, 70, poet-writer-playwright filmmaker, to try to explain the meaning of a poet's life and, incidentally, his own. Playing himself as an errant poet who roams through the ages, this is distinctly offbeat fare.

A great deal of the money for this film was raised from friends and well-wishers. The combo patronage-industry pic allows Jean Cocteau, 70, poet-writer-playwright filmmaker, to try to explain the meaning of a poet’s life and, incidentally, his own. Playing himself as an errant poet who roams through the ages, this is distinctly offbeat fare.

Cocteau subtitles his pic And Don’t Ask Me Why. He still has a flair for provoking strange moods in ordinary landscapes, as well as utilizing simple trick effects effectively and judiciously. He ribs himself at times but is quite clear in his summation that a poet is rarely recognized in his time.

Popping up throughout are familiar local actors, plus Yul Brynner, Picasso, Serge Lifar, Luis Dominguin and others. This is Cocteau’s final film fling.

Le Testament D'Orphee

France

Production

Editions Cinematographiques. Director Jean Cocteau; Producer Jean Thuillier; Screenplay Jean Cocteau; Camera Roland Pontoiseau; Editor Marie-Josephe Yoyotte; Music Jacques Metehan; Art Director Pierre Guffroy

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1960. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Jean Cocteau Edouard Dermit Henri Cremieux Maria Casares Francois Perier Jean-Pierre Leaud

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