L’histoire d’Adèle H.

I heard that the Rams fired their coach.  I spent the morning grading papers and submitting the grades for one class.  I worked on grading more papers in the afternoon and answered some questions from students for two hours before heading home.  I stopped to get frozen yogurt, and then I sat down at home to watch Truffaut’s “The Story of Adele H.” again.  The years was 1863, and Adele Hugo, the daughter of Victor Hugo, has followed a man to Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She is obsessed with this person, named Lieutenant Pinson.  She writes daily in her journal and lies to her family that she has married him.  She threatens to ruin Pinson’s military career, but then later sends him a prostitute.  I couldn’t see what drove her crazy about this man.  The film made me think of “Fatal Attraction,” but more of the emotion was internally directed.  There are other characters, like the bookseller and the hypnotist, but the focus is on Adele.  Isabelle Adjani was nineteen years old during the filming of this movie, but looking at the biographical information on Adele Hugo, she was 33 years old in 1863.  Truffaut originally wanted to have Jeanne Moreau as Adele.  I almost admire her single-mindedness because it shows her seriousness, though not quite like the Indian women in Jean Renoir’s “The River.”  Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert both gave this film positive reviews.  I don’t put this movie quite in the upper level of Truffaut’s work.  I kept thinking that the Hugo family should have taken stronger action to deal with Adele.  Her mental state deteriorated.  She was finally institutionalized from 1872 until her death in 1915.  Adjani earned an Oscar nomination for this movie, and I thought she was good, but the other nominees were Louise Fletcher, Glenda Jackson, Ann-Margret, and Carol Kane.  Adjani would appear in movies like “Nosferatu,” “One Deadly Summer,” the infamous “Ishtar,” and “Camille Claudel.”  This DVD edition of “The Story of Adele H.” did not look so good.  It would be nice to see it cleaned up and given a Criterion Collection treatment.  The disc had no special features.  I’m not sure that I would have wanted to see Adjani interviewed about this film, anyway.  This film came between “Day for Night” and “Small Change,” two films that had such life to them.  Some critics liked the darkness of this movie.  I found it not quite so compelling.  Nester Almendros was the cinematographer.  I thought the English dialogue didn’t sound right, which made me think that it was just as well that Truffaut didn’t make “Kramer vs. Kramer.”  “Fahrenheit 451” was Truffaut’s only film in English, and it was his first film in color.  I heard about the death of Alan Thicke.  He was playing hockey with his 19-year-old son when he had a heart attack.  Thicke was 69 years old.  If I die at that age, I don’t have too many years left.  Some of the people who died on December 14 include George Washington (1799), Dinah Washington (1963), Roger Maris (1985), Myrna Loy (1993), Norman Fell (1998), Ahmet Ertegun (2006), and Peter O’Toole (2013).  Today is a birthday for Vanessa Hudgens (28).

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