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Classic Review: Orpheus (1950)

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Orpheus, like many French films at the time is a confusing, wonderful, fantastical ride in which the plot seems to go everywhere and no where at the same time.

Orphee a poet, witnesses a death of a fellow poet at the hands of two bikers. At the command of a princess, he goes along with the body to answer questions. Little does he know that the woman is actually death, and his ride takes him to a place between the worlds. In typically French fashion, he is put into a love triangle between himself, his wife Eurydice, and death personified. For 95 minutes we cross over again and again, listen to bizarre radio transmissions, and are generally dumbfounded at what is going on.

While I wasn’t blown away from the plot, the real gem from Orpheus is the special effects. It may no longer be cutting edge now, but for its time, the use of reversing the film, slow motion, and other effects give it a other worldly feel necessary to the film. The going through mirrors (how they pass through worlds) is especially great, and was apparently used by having a hand go through mercury. For anyone who is a fan of early special effects, Orpheus is a must watch, and not a bad film to watch to catch up on your French film history.

My Rating: C+


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