Writer and philosopher Voltaire, loyal to his king, Louis XV of France, nonetheless writes scathingly of the king's disdain for the rights and needs of his people. Louis admires Voltaire ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Mme. Pompadour
...
Nanette
...
...
Theodore Newton ...
Francois
Gordon Westcott ...
The Captain
David Torrence ...
Dr. Tronchin
Murray Kinnell ...
Emile - Voltaire's Servant
Doris Lloyd ...
Mme. Clairon - Actress
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Storyline

Writer and philosopher Voltaire, loyal to his king, Louis XV of France, nonetheless writes scathingly of the king's disdain for the rights and needs of his people. Louis admires Voltaire but is increasingly influenced against him by his minister, the Count de Sarnac. Louis's mistress, the courtesan Madame de Pompadour, is Voltaire's protector and advocate, but even she has difficulty preserving his welfare when Voltaire publicly excoriates the king for the wrongful execution of one of his subjects, Calas. Voltaire gives refuge to Calas's daughter and endeavors to show the king the error of his ways. But the Count de Sarnac, with an agenda of intrigue and disloyalty, determines to do away with the troublesome Voltaire. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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THE GREATEST ROLE ANY ACTOR EVER PLAYED...PLAYED BY THE GREATEST ACTOR OF THEM ALL! (original ad - all caps) See more »


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TV-G | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

5 August 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Affairs of Voltaire  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the onscreen source of the movie is a novel, it was never published. But modern sources say George Gibbs and E. Lawrence Dudley wrote a play for George Arliss, and it was the source adapted for the movie. The play also was never published or even produced. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Upperworld (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(1792) (uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Played as part of the score at the end
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User Reviews

 
Arliss's Voltaire energetic and giddily courageous.
11 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Those looking for a full biography on the life of the great French philosopher and satirist will be disappointed with this historical take but the impish charm of George Arliss's Voltaire provides for an interesting enough look at the tenuous state of the monarchy and France prior to the reign of terror.

Friend and confidant of King Louis XV Voltaire is not averse to openly criticizing the King for his treatment of the lower classes or hurling accusations at members of his corrupt administration. When Voltaire comes to the defense of a slandered loyal subject his enemies in the court try to get him tossed into the Bastille. Luckily for Voltaire he has the ear of Madame Pompador who has the attention of the King. Count De Sarnac however is a formidable foe and the whim of the King remains in doubt when weighing Voltaire's broadsides and friendship.

Arliss does a deft balancing act of combining eloquence and silliness to address the sober issues at hand in his attempt to vanquish the execrable and duplicitous De Sarnac (played with relish by Alan Mowbray). Along with Paul Muni, Arliss cornered the market for historical bios (Disraeli, Alexander Hamilton, Cardinal Richelieu) in the first decade of sound but unlike the over the top Muni displayed a lot more subtlety and restraint in such portrayals and in Voltaire Arliss gives not only a mellifluous voice to the author of Candide but also the child like glee of a great man serving his passion.


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