At the Café des Poètes in Paris, a fight breaks out between the poet Orphée (Jean Marais) and a group of resentful upstarts. A rival poet, Cègeste (Edouard Dermithe), is killed, and a mysterious princess (María Casarès) insists on taking Orpheus and the body away in her Rolls-Royce. Orphée soon finds himself in the underworld, where the Princess announces that she is, in fact, Death. Orpheus escapes in the car back to the land of the living, only to become obsessed with the car radio.
Jean Cocteau’s update of the Orpheus myth depicts a famous poet (Jean Marais), scorned by the Left Bank youth, and his love for both his wife, Eurydice (Marie Déa), and a mysterious princess (Maria Casarès). Seeking inspiration, the poet follows the princess from the world of the living to the land of the dead, through Cocteau’s famous mirrored portal. Orpheus’s peerless visual poetry and dreamlike storytelling represent the legendary Cocteau at the height of his powers.