4

I have watched the movie "The Ninth Gate" several times.

I am stumped on one of the three books Corso mentions when he is evaluating the Manhattan collection of the poor man in the wheelchair. His daughter and son-in-law are wanting quick cash for his collection.

Anyway, Corso mentions three books and it is the first one I am not familiar with and am wondering if anyone knows what it is. I have searched and everyone tends to skip the first book. It is the one he tells them to keep because it is a good investment. It sounds like he says "PUR-SEE-LEES". The other two are Don Quixote by Ibarra (the one he buys) and the Hypnerotamachia Poliphili. What is the first one?. For convenience, here is the scene in a short clip. The book in question is at the 29-30 second mark:

5
  • 2
    Welcome to Movies.SE! The video you have tried to include in your answer is showing as unavailable.
    – F1Krazy
    Apr 30 at 16:18
  • 2
    That's funny. It plays fine on my page. Apr 30 at 21:06
  • Maybe it's region-restricted, then.
    – F1Krazy
    Apr 30 at 21:22
  • I just found a short clip of the scene on YouTube. I searched "Ninth Gate Unscrupulous" and it came up May 1 at 17:27
  • FEA: I have SKIPped VtC as I have the accepted answer.
    – CGCampbell
    May 10 at 14:52
7

Well now, one of my all-time favorite movies, The Ninth Gate (1999), and the short novel it is based on, The Club Dumas.

Anyway, according to this site, the transcript shows thusly:

YOU HAVE SOME VERY RARE EDITIONS HERE.

ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO SELL THEM ALL?

THEY'RE NO USE TO FATHER, NOT ANYMORE...

NOT SINCE HE'S BEEN THIS WAY.

HIS LIBRARY WAS HIS WHOLE WORLD.

NOW IT'S JUST A PAINFUL MEMORY.

UNBEARABLY PAINFUL.

I UNDERSTAND.

WELL, AT A ROUGH PRELIMINARY ESTIMATE...

YOU HAVE A COLLECTION HERE... WORTH AROUND $600,000.

600,000...

YES, OR THEREABOUTS.

I'VE PICKED OUT ONE OR TWO VOLUMES THAT MERIT SPECIAL ATTENTION.

THIS "PERSILES", FOR EXAMPLE, IS IMPORTANT. I'D HANG ON TO THAT.

IT WILL NEVER DEPRECIATE. IT'S A GOOD INVESTMENT.

So, from there I ended up in the Wikipedia entry for The Club Dumas, which is a 1993 novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. It is also the novel that Roman Polanski used to base the screenplay for this movie on.

Down the entry there is a section called Literary References, Real Books, Other works mentioned, which includes:

Here is an English translation of this book. The book itself, was completed three days before de Cervantes died.

As it turns out, Miguel de Cervantes also wrote Don Quixote, which is the four book set Dean Corso actually buys from Telfer's son and daughter-in-law. So it would make sense that the Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda would be in the same personal library of the ailing (deceased, in the novel) Andrew Telfer.

My only issue here, is that none of the scripts I can find online include that line. So, either Polanski added ad-hoc, Depp adlibbed it, or it's in the final script, which I can't locate.

But, I think that is what is being referred to here.

2
  • I originally wrote this up at work, where we can't watch youtube. My original write was mostly based on the book, and the screenplay's as written, which were fairly different than the original film. For instance, in the novel, Corso doesn't start out in Taillefer's library, while in the screenplays he does, but Telfer committed suicide. In the final cut of the movie it appears Telfer suffered a major stroke.
    – CGCampbell
    Apr 30 at 19:44
  • Thank you very much. I had not heard of that book and was not sure how to spell it. Thanks again. Good answer. Apr 30 at 21:04
1
  • Don Quixote

The four book set bought for 4200 is the: Ibarra’s 1780 Don Quixote 4 volume set. According to the website below

"This edition was produced by Joaquín Ibarra in 1780 under the direction of The Royal Academy of Madrid. Their aims were two-fold: to produce a definitive text (which had diverged since it’s first appearence in 1605 and 1615), and to produce an unparalleled deluxe edition. To this end they employed the finest artists and engravers to provide 32 illustrations; cartographers produced the first map of Don Quixote’s journey; and high quality paper was made to receive a specially comissioned new typeface. It is a masterpiece of printing and design."

This website goes on to say that copies can be had for around 17,000 Euro, but when you click on the link, that is for a rough looking set, and it is currently selling for 20k USD. One set listed on a for sale website has it also being listed at as high as 87,895.23 USD

If he is able to sell this four volume set, he should easily make 10K plus USD, even if it is in poor condition, and he is practically "giving it away".

  • Poliphili

The website below also states that the other book, the important one that will never depreciate is indeed the "Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda & Hypnerotomachia Poliphili". It goes on to say the following about the book, it's price, and it's place in the film:

"The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili is a peculiar book, a melange of courtly love and cryptic allusions, first published in 1499 by the legendary Venetian printer Aldus Manutius. This edition was published by his sons in 1545 and is identical. We don’t learn much about the Persiles but in the book it is said to be a first edition and bound by the French binder Hardy in red morocco. These are two scarce and desirable books. Corso is very specific, don’t let them go for less than $100000 (£125000 today). Perhaps this is too much for the trade to pay… but not so over the top to make Corso seem daft, just enough to queer their pitch."

On a link provide on the site below, it has a very good copy asking as much as 263,140.96 USD

  • My Conclusion

In conclusion, it would seem that Dean Corso's (Johnny Depp) scheme is to come in high enough that no one else will get hired to move the books but him, no doubt slowly tamping down their expectations as he sells them off more slowly then they really want, while also making at the very least, a quick score on the Don Quixote set. Like any good magician, he uses the Poliphili to divert their attention from what is really going on. Him wanting to buy the Quixote set for a fraction of it's real value.

Book lists and prices

1
  • Wow...thank you all very much for the wealth of information. Aug 6 at 18:38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .