The Info List - The Immortal Story

The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
(French: Une histoire immortelle) is a 1968 French film directed by Orson Welles
Orson Welles
and starring Jeanne Moreau. The film was originally broadcast on French television and was later released in theaters. It was based on a short story by the Danish writer Karen Blixen (more widely known by her pen name Isak Dinesen). With a running time of 60 minutes, it is the shortest feature film directed by Welles.


1 Plot 2 Cast 3 Production 4 Release 5 References 6 External links

Plot[edit] In 19th century Macao, Mr. Clay (Orson Welles) is a wealthy merchant at the end of his life. His only constant companion is his bookkeeper, a Polish-Jewish emigrant named Levinsky (Roger Coggio). One evening, Levinsky mentions an apocryphal story of a rich old man who offers a sailor five guineas to impregnate his wife. Clay becomes obsessed in making that legendary tale come true, and Levinsky is dispatched to find a sailor and a young woman who will play the part of Clay’s wife. Levinsky approaches Virginie (Jeanne Moreau), the daughter of Clay’s one-time business partner. Clay’s ruthless dealings drove Virginie’s father to bankruptcy and suicide, and she is eager to participate in this action to get her revenge. The destitute sailor, a young Englishman named Paul (Norman Eshley), is discovered on the street and recruited. Virginie and Paul find an emotional bond in their brief union, but go their separate ways – Virginie is exorcised of her bitterness against Clay while Paul disappears into Macao’s teeming streets. Levinsky goes to inform Clay about what took place, but discovers the old merchant has died.[1] Cast[edit]

Jeanne Moreau
Jeanne Moreau
as Virginie Ducrot Orson Welles
Orson Welles
as Mr. Charles Clay Roger Coggio as Elishama Levinsky Norman Eshley as Paul, the sailor Fernando Rey
Fernando Rey
as Merchant

Production[edit] Orson Welles
Orson Welles
was a self-professed admirer of the writing of Karen Blixen and, at one point, announced plans to create a series of films based on her writing.[2] The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
is a short story first published in Blixen's 1958 short story collection Anecdotes of Destiny. Originally The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
was meant to be half of a two-part anthology film, with the second half based on the Blixen story The Deluge at Nordenay. However, the second film was cancelled when Welles raised concerns about the professionalism of his crew in Budapest, Hungary, where production was to have taken place.[3] Welles received financing from Organisation Radio-Télévision Française to create The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
for premiere presentation on French television, to be followed by theatrical release in France and other countries. As part of the financing, Welles was contractually obligated to shoot the film in color. Welles was not a fan of color cinematography, and in one interview he stated: "Color enhances the set, the scenery, the costumes, but mysteriously enough it only detracts from the actors. Today it is impossible to name one outstanding performance by an actor in a color film." [4] Much of the film was shot in Welles’ home, located outside of Madrid, Spain. Exterior scenes depicting Macao
were shot in Chinchón, a town near Madrid. Welles used Chinese restaurant waiters from Madrid as extras to recreate the setting for Macao.[3] Release[edit] The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
was entered into the 18th Berlin International Film Festival in June 1968.[5] The film had its U.S. premiere at the 1968 New York Film Festival. In February 1969, it had its U.S. theatrical release on a double feature bill with Luis Buñuel's Simon of the Desert.[6] On 30 August 2016, The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the U.S. by the Criterion Collection.[7] In September 2010 Madman Entertainment will release both the English language and shorter French language
French language
versions of the film on a single Region 4 DVD. The film has been recently aired on the Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies
cable television network. The film is now available to view on Hulu
Plus as one of their titles available for streaming in partnership with the Criterion Collection.[8] Criterion has released the film on Blu-ray and DVD on August 30, 2016.[9] References[edit]

^ Cowie, Peter. “The Cinema of Orson Welles.”1978, A.S. Barnes & Co. ^ Film Threat review ^ a b “Orson Welles” by Charles Higham, Google Books ^ Brady, Frank. "Citizen Welles." 1989, Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 0-684-18982-8] ^ "IMDb.com: Awards for The Immortal Story". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2010-03-05.  ^ New York Times review ^ The Criterion Collection
Criterion Collection
website ^ Watch The Film On Hulu ^ "The Immortal Story". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 2016-05-17. 

External links[edit]

The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
on IMDb The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
at the TCM Movie Database The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
at AllMovie

v t e

Orson Welles

Filmography Radio credits Theatre credits Discography Bibliography Awards and nominations

Feature films

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
(1941) The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) The Stranger (1946) The Lady from Shanghai
The Lady from Shanghai
(1947) Macbeth (1948) Othello (1951) Mr. Arkadin
Mr. Arkadin
(1955) Touch of Evil
Touch of Evil
(1958) The Trial (1962) Chimes at Midnight
Chimes at Midnight
(1965) The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
(1968) F for Fake
F for Fake
(1974) Filming Othello
Filming Othello


Twelfth Night (1933) The Hearts of Age (1934) The Green Goddess (lost film) (1939) Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane
trailer (1940) Around the World (lost film) (1946) The Miracle of St. Anne (lost film) (1950) Magic Trick (1953) The Dominici Affair (1955) Portrait of Gina (1958) An Evening with Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(1970) Orson's Bag (1968–69)

incorporating Vienna (1968) The Merchant of Venice (1969) One Man Band, aka London (1968–71)

Moby Dick (1971) Orson Welles' Magic Show (1976–85) The Spirit of Charles Lindbergh (1984)

Unfinished films

Too Much Johnson
Too Much Johnson
(1938) It's All True (1942) Don Quixote (1957–69) The Heroine (lost film) (1967) The Deep (1967–70) The Other Side of the Wind
The Other Side of the Wind
(1970–76) Filming 'The Trial' (1981) The Dreamers (1980–82)


Orson Welles' Sketch Book
Orson Welles' Sketch Book
(1955) Around the World with Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(1955) Orson Welles
Orson Welles
and People (lost) (1956) The Fountain of Youth (1958) In the Land of Don Quixote (1964) The Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Show (1979)


Marching Song (1932) Bright Lucifer Voodoo Macbeth
Voodoo Macbeth
(1936) Horse Eats Hat
Horse Eats Hat
(1936) Caesar (1937–38) Too Much Johnson
Too Much Johnson
(1938) Native Son (1941) The Mercury Wonder Show
The Mercury Wonder Show
(1943) Around the World (musical)
Around the World (musical)
(1946) Othello (1951) The Lady in the Ice (ballet) (1953) Moby Dick—Rehearsed (1955) Rhinoceros (1960)


Les Misérables (1937) The Shadow (1937–38) The Mercury Theatre on the Air
The Mercury Theatre on the Air
(including "The War of the Worlds") (1938) The Campbell Playhouse (1938–40) Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Show (1941–42) Ceiling Unlimited
Ceiling Unlimited
(1942–43) Hello Americans
Hello Americans
(1942–43) The Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Almanac (1944) This Is My Best (1945) Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Commentaries (1945–46) The Mercury Summer Theatre on the Air
The Mercury Summer Theatre on the Air
(1946) The Adventures of Harry Lime (1951–52) The Black Museum
The Black Museum

Spoken-word recordings

The Happy Prince (1946) The Airborne Symphony (1966) The Begatting of the President (1970)


This is Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(1992) Les Bravades
Les Bravades


Mercury Theatre Frozen Peas Orson Welles
Orson Welles
Paul Masson adverts It's All True: Based on an Unfinished Film by Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(1993 documentary) Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(crater) Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles
Orson Welles
(2014 documentary)

v t e

Works by Karen Blixen

Short story collections

Seven Gothic Tales (1934) Last Tales (1957) Anecdotes of Destiny
Anecdotes of Destiny

Other writings

Out of Africa
Out of Africa

Film adaptations

The Immortal Story
The Immortal Story
(1968) Ehrengard (1982) The Dreamers (1982, unfinished) Out of Africa
Out of Africa
(1985) Babette's Feast (1987)


Thomas Dinesen
Thomas Dinesen
(brother) Bror von Blixen-Finecke
Bror von Blixen-Finecke
(husband) Denys Finch Hatt