With Fed ora based on a tale from Tom Tryon's bestseller, Crowned Heads, Billy Wilder goes serenely back to Hollywood treatment of itself as legend, illusion and dreams rather than reality.

With Fed ora based on a tale from Tom Tryon’s bestseller, Crowned Heads, Billy Wilder goes serenely back to Hollywood treatment of itself as legend, illusion and dreams rather than reality.

In his more successful, acerbic look at an over-the-hill star, Sunset Blvd. [1950], the star was a real oldtimer, Gloria Swanson. Neither Marthe Keller, as the once great star Fedora, or Hildegard Knef as a crusty Polish countess and the star’s keeper, have that allusive, self absorbed but camera-loving look that stars possessed, though they are good.

William Holden tells most of the tale, as he did in Boulevard. But here he is an indie producer down on his luck trying desperately to get a script to the amazingly still youthful star, at 67, Fedora, in a hideaway on a Greek island. It appears she is being held captive by a quack doctor, once famed for keeping personalities youthful, well mimed by Jose Ferrer.

Wilder’s directorial flair, the fine production dress, Holden’s solid presence and Michael York playing himself as a narcissistic actor and Henry Fonda, also as himself as head of the Academy who delivers a belated Oscar to Fedora, add some flavor to this bittersweet bow to the old star system.

Fedora

W. Germany - France

Production

Geria/Bavaria. Director Billy Wilder; Producer Billy Wilder; Screenplay I.A.L. Diamond, Billy Wilder; Camera Gerry Fisher; Editor Stefan Arsten; Music Miklos Rozsa; Art Director Alexandre Trauner

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1978. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

William Holden Marthe Keller Jose Ferrer Hildegard Knef Frances Sternhagen Mario Adorf
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