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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Immortal Story (1968)

In 19th century Macao, a wealthy dying merchant (Orson Welles) discovers a story he once heard to be not true. Before he dies, he is determined to make the story come true. To this end, his assistant (Roger Coggio) hires a woman (Jeanne Moreau) and a sailor (Norman Eshley) to act out the story and validate it. Based on a short story by Isak Dinesen (OUT OF AFRICA). In addition to starring in it, Welles also directed and wrote the screenplay. It was originally made for French television but released (barely) theatrically everywhere else. Madrid stands in for Macao but you'd never know it from Willy Kurant's (MASCULIN FEMININ) savory cinematography which gives it an air of authenticity. Running just under an hour, the film plays out like a good short story aided by Welles' narration and he was wise not to pad it out to feature length. Welles brings his usual gravitas to the old merchant and Moreau brings her star presence. Coggio is also good and only Eshley comes across as an amateur. Welles makes excellent use of Erik Satie's music. With Fernando Rey. 

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