L'Idiot (1946)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Drama, Period Film  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - France   |  
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

This is just a casual observation, but it's highly possible that more film adaptations of the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky were made in France than in Russia. In 1946 there appeared a faithful (if by necessity truncated) French version of the Russian novelist's The Idiot. Gerard Philipe plays the title character, Russian prince Myshkin, who returns to St. Petersburg after a stay in a Swiss mental hospital. The Prince is not literally a mental midget; he is considered an idiot because, as an honest and upright person, he cannot keep pace with the evil in the world. He busies himself with the petty problems of his aristocratic friends, which drive him back into the recesses of insanity. Edwige Feuillere costars as Nastasia, the woman of loose morals who turns out to be the only person who truly cares about Myshkin's welfare, while Lucien Coedel plays the nominal villain of the piece, an iconoclastic flour merchant named Rogozhin, whose passion for Nastasia culminates in tragedy. L'Idiot was remade in Japan by Akira Kurosawa in 1951, and in Russia in 1959.



insanity, merchant, prince, mental-institution