The Name of the Rose (1986)

The Name of the Rose (1986)

Taglines: Who, in the name of God, is getting away with murder?

1327: after a mysterious death in a Benedictine Abbey, the monks are convinced that the apocalypse is coming. With the Abbey to play host to a council on the Franciscan’s Order’s belief that the Church should rid itself of wealth, William of Baskerville, a respected Franciscan friar, is asked to assist in determining the cause of the untimely death.

Alas, more deaths occur as the investigation draws closer to uncovering the secret the Abbey wants hidden, and there is finally no stopping the Holy Inquisition from taking an active hand in the process. William and his young novice must race against time to prove the innocence of the unjustly accused and avoid the wrath of Holy Inquisitor Bernardo Gui.

The Name of the Rose is a 1986 Italian-French-German drama mystery film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on the book of the same name by Umberto Eco. Sean Connery stars as the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and Christian Slater is his apprentice Adso of Melk, who are called upon to solve a deadly mystery in a medieval abbey.

The Name of the Rose (1986)

About the Story

As an old man, Adso, son of the Baron of Melk recounts how, as a young novice in 1327, he joined his mentor, Franciscan friar William of Baskerville on a journey to a Benedictine abbey in Northern Italy where the Franciscans were to debate with Papal emissaries the poverty of Christ. The abbey also boasts a famed scriptorium where scribes copy, translate or illuminate books.

The suspicious recent death of the monk Adelmo of Otranto —a young but famous manuscript illuminator— has stirred fears among the abbey’s inhabitants. The Abbot seeks help from William, known for his deductive powers. Adelmo’s death cannot be a suicide because his body was found below a tower with only a window which cannot be opened. William is reluctant, but also drawn by the intellectual challenge and his desire to disprove fears of a demonic culprit. William also fears the abbot will summon officials of the Inquisition if the mystery remains unsolved.

William soon concludes that Adelmo’s death was indeed suicide; he fell from a different tower. Nevertheless, Venantius, a Greek translator —and the last to speak with Adelmo— is found dead in a vat filled with the blood of slaughtered pigs. The translator’s corpse bears a black stain on a finger and his tongue. At a loss, William insists that Adelmo killed himself and that the translator’s death can be reasonably explained. The other monks suspect a supernatural cause, fears reinforced when the saintly Fransciscan monk Ubertino of Casale warns that the deaths resemble signs mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

The Name of the Rose (1986)

In the scriptorium, William inspects Adelmo’s desk, but is blocked by Brother Berengar, the assistant librarian. Brother Malachia, Head Librarian, denies William access to the rest of the building. William encounters Salvatore, a demented hunchback, and his protector, Remigio da Varagine, the cellarer. William deduces that both are former Dulcinites, members of a heretical sect which believed that clergy should be impoverished.

William does not suspect Salvatore and Remigio of murder since Dulcinites targeted wealthy Bishops, not poor monks. Nevertheless, Remigio’s past gives William leverage in learning the abbey’s secrets. Salvatore tells William that Adelmo had crossed paths with Venantius on the night that Adelmo died. Meanwhile, Adso encounters a beautiful semi-feral peasant girl who has apparently sneaked into the abbey to trade sexual favours for food; she seduces him, and he falls in love with her.

Returning that night to Venantius’s desk, William finds a book in Greek, and also a parchment bearing both Greek writing and smudges of a color blended by Adelmo for illuminating books, suggesting another link between Venantius and Adelmo. The parchment also bears cryptic symbols written by a left-handed man using invisible ink. Brother Berengar, having sneaked into the darkened library, distracts William and steals the book and a pair of magnifying glasses that William had been using to read it.

The Name of the Rose Movie Poster (1986)

The Name of the Rose (1986)

Directed by: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Starring: Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger, Elya Baskin, Michael Lonsdale, Volker Prechtel, William Hickey, Valentina Vargas, Leopoldo Trieste
Screenplay by: Umberto Eco, Andrew Birkin
Production Design by: Dante Ferretti
Cinematography by: Tonino Delli Colli
Film Editing by: Gianni Arduini, Dominique Besnehard, Celestia Fox, David Rubin, Sabine Schroth
Costume Design by: Gabriella Pescucci
Set Decoration by: Francesca Lo Schiavo
Art Direction by: Giorgio Giovannini, Rainer Schaper
Music by: James Horner
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox (USA & Canada), Columbia Pictures
Release Date: September 24, 1986