French filmmaker Max DeRieux was responsible for this well-received adaptation of Honore de Balzac's Cousin Bette. The title character, played by Alice Tissot, is the "poor relation" of a prosperous French family. Hoping to wreak vengeance on the man who jilted her years earlier, Cousin Bette insinuates herself into the family's household, intending to destroy the lives of everyone in her orbit. The moment of truth arrives when Bette nearly succeeds in sabotaging the marriage of her virginal niece. Fans of public television will recall the serialized version of Cousin Bette, which ran on Masterpiece Theater in the spring of 1974; more recently, Jessica Lange played the embittered title character in an R-rated Anglo-American movie version.
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