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The Proprietor (1996)

R | | Drama | 9 October 1996 (USA)
2:41 | Trailer
An expatriated French novelist (Jeanne Moreau) returns to Paris when she learns that her childhood home is being placed on the auction block. What she doesn't count on is that she has to ... See full summary »


Ismail Merchant


Jean-Marie Besset (screenplay), George W.S. Trow (screenplay) (as George Trow) | 1 more credit »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jeanne Moreau ... Adrienne Mark
Sean Young ... Virginia Kelly / 'Call me French' - Sally
Sam Waterston ... Harry Bancroft
Christopher Cazenove ... Elliott Spencer
Nell Carter ... Millie Jackson
Jean-Pierre Aumont ... Franz Legendre
Austin Pendleton ... Willy Kunst
Charlotte de Turckheim ... Judith Mark
Pierre Vaneck Pierre Vaneck ... Raymond T.K
Marc Tissot Marc Tissot ... Patrice Legendre
Josh Hamilton ... William O'Hara
Joanna Adler ... New York - F. Freemder
James Naughton ... New York - Texans
J. Smith-Cameron ... New York - Texans
Michael Bergin ... New York - Bobby


An expatriated French novelist (Jeanne Moreau) returns to Paris when she learns that her childhood home is being placed on the auction block. What she doesn't count on is that she has to confront many old issues dating back to her childhood and bringing herself full circle to her present day life. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of changing times, constant relationships, and reconciliation with the past.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Jean-Pierre Aumont's final film appearance. See more »


If I Didn't Care
Written by Jack Lawrence
Performed by Marc Tissot
Arranged by Colin Good
by kind permission of Warner Chappell Music Limited
See more »

User Reviews

Merchant Ivory go French
17 August 2019 | by sjackieveronicaSee all my reviews

This is a beautiful film. Jeanne Moreau, charismatic as ever with her evocative face with its distinctive sensual pout and luminous eyes, dominates the film - as intended - as a rich and famous writer, Adrienne Mark, living in New York with nightmares about her young life during the Second World War. The memories that flood back make her want to buy her mother's apartment in Paris, which has come up for auction. Her story unfolds with neatly nuanced flashbacks seamlessly interlaced with the main movement of the film, but there are several sub-plots adding to the film's complexity and interest. A young American photographer, introduces himself to Adrienne in a New York art gallery and their acquaintance develops into a charming theme whereby he gradually wins her affection. The relationship between Adrienne and her maid/companion of long years standing is delicately portrayed with excellent rapport between Moreau and actress Nell Carter. Adrienne's ex-husband (Christopher Cazenove), still in love with her plays his role in her life with careful consideration. Another, significant, sub-plot is the romance between American film director Virginia Kelly (Sean Young) and Patrice (Marc Tissot), son of the director of the original film version of Adrienne's book, a portrayal which pays tribute to French-style movies as Patrice sings to Kelly as they paddle in the fountains at a chateau (Catherine Deneuve films came to mind).

Moreau steals every scene she is in - of course! I'm sure Ismail Merchant and James Ivory fully intended her to. You can't take her eyes off her. Her costumes are beautiful, her hair stylish, her gestures so individual. But Merchant Ivory are always careful not to over-dominate their stories with a single track. The weaving of all the other players' characters and their own stories into Adrienne's is considered and never overdone.

I loved this film and it was simply glorious to watch one of the 20th century's greatest film actresses in a lovely role which suited her down to the ground. Encore champagne!

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France | UK | USA


English | French

Release Date:

9 October 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Propriet√°ria See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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