Immortal Story, The

2597. THE IMMORTAL STORY (1968-France) COLOR. With JEANNE MOREAU, ORSON WELLES, FERNANDO REY. Directed and written by WELLES. Based on a novel by ISAK DINESEN. Any film by Orson Welles is extra special. Here is one of the last he directed, and it is a rare treat. The setting is the island of Macao in the late 19th century. Years earlier, a prosperous merchant named Mr. Clay (imposingly played by Welles) had broken with his partner. He ended up bankrupting the man, who promptly committed suicide, Mr. Clay is a friendless and lonely cynic. A popular myth exists among sailors that tells about one of their own who seduces the young wife of an old gentleman, “I don’t like prophesies,” Mr. Clay pronounces. “I want it to happen in real life, to real people.” Furthermore, Mr. Clay desires to “demonstrate his omnipotence” by having the myth acted out in his own house and before his very eyes. So he goes about arranging for the story to come true, with his riches allowing him the luxury of hiring individuals to act out the scenario. Ironically, the woman his emissary recruits is none other than Virginie, the now-impoverished daughter of Mr. Clay’s deceased partner. The old man thinks that his money allows him to control the lives of those he hires. “You think you move at your own will,” he declares. “You move at my bidding.” However, as the scenario plays itself out, Mr. Clay is destined to learn that there are certain aspects of human contact and behavior that he cannot ever control. Welles is in total command of his craft in this short and sweet and utterly brilliant drama. 57 minutes. Drama