There have been mixed reviews about director Billy Wilder’s bitter-sweet film about fading glamour in Hollywood, but those who enjoyed his Sunset Boulevard, also starring William Holden playing world-weary, will probably enjoy Fedora too.
This has Marthe Keller as the reclusive Fedora, a famous film beauty who lives in the Villa Calypso on an island off Corfu with a disabled Countess (Hildegard Knef), a doctor (Jose Ferrer), an overbearing PA (Frances Sternhagen) and a violent minder (Gottfried John). The big mystery is that the beautiful Fedora doesn’t seem to be aging as the years advance, along with the mystery of why she throws herself under a train at the start of the film and the fact that always wears long white gloves that she never takes off.
All this intrigue doesn’t stop a washed-up Hollywood producer (William Holden, who stars and narrates) trying to coax her out of her villa to star in a new remake of Anna Karenina and revive both their careers, something that Fedora wants to do but that clearly goes against the wishes of her protective entourage. At her funeral the whole sad story of her life is told in a series of flashbacks and feature Michael York, who she falls in love with, playing himself, and Henry Fonda in a cameo as the President of the Academy who gives her a career achievement award.
Fedora was released at the end of last month in a dual format edition by Eureka Entertainment as part of their Masters of Cinema series, and includes deleted scenes, and a booklet with two new essays