paralysis

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Five-Pick Two-The Ninth Gate 1999

Posted on

Novis Portis Book IMDb & Amazon Image
Umbrarum Regni Novem Portis
The Nine Doors (or Gates) to the Kingdom of Shadows
Aristide Torchia, Venice, 1666
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.

Category: Foreign/Silent
Film: The Ninth Gate

A French/Spanish Roman Polanksi vehicle (director & producer), he co-wrote the screenplay with John Brownjohn and Enrique Urbizu. Loosely based on the 1993 book El Club Dumas, a Spanish language novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez, the Polanski/Brownjohn script removed a sub-plot, changed the two main characters’ names and altered the finale. Filmed in France, Portugal and Spain, it stars Johnny Depp (Corso), Frank Langella (Balkan), Lena Olin, Barbara Jefford and, Emmanuelle Seigner (mysterious woman & Polanski’s wife). Actor Allen Garfield suffered a stroke prior to filming and Polanski incorporated Garfield’s paralysis as part of the character. Released August 25, 1999, in Belgium, France and Spain (premiere), and November 1999 at the Stockholm International Film Festival, it wasn’t released, widely, in the US until March 10, 2000.

I would have to describe the movie like this…:

[It] is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…

Winston Churchill
October 1, 1939

Dean Corso is a bit of a sleazy rare book dealer from New York with questionable ethics. Boris Balkan, a wealthy collector, hires Corso to determine if a book he owns (the book to the left/above) is authentic. The author, supposedly, wrote the book with help from the Devil and only three copies of the book are known to exist after the author was burned at the stake during the Inquisition, along with his works. Corso must find the other two to complete his investigation. Balkan believes that the owner of the book would have the power to summon said Devil. As the skeptical Corso travels and searches, he is followed by a mysterious woman. He eventually becomes obsessed with his task and desires the complete truth. The movie twists and turns to it’s bizarre ending. Depp is a strange cat but, he makes really interesting movies. Visually, Polanski intended for Corso to resemble Philip Marlowe. ~Vic

Additional Reading:
The Ninth Gate (Roger Ebert)
The Ninth Gate Opens (Philip Coppens Web Archive)