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Gregory La Cava
According to a 1934 newspaper article, Constance Bennett wore 20 costumes in the film. Weighed together, they amounted to 1,000 pounds of wardrobe; The heaviest of Bennett's costumes was 44 pounds, while the rest averaged about 30. See more »
Constance Bennett was born to play a Medici. Her combination of hauteur and ooh-la-la makes this role a perfect fit. Frank Morgan, as her dithering husband, is amusing but less plausible.
Fredric March, as the title character, is good. He was always good. Possibly not the heartthrob he needs to be, he is nevertheless both cocky and handsome. Fay Wray is excellent as a commoner whose tastes are too prosaic for the dastardly lover Cellini. She looks beautiful (as does Bennett.) This is certainly atypical Gregory La Cava. It is probably not very accurate historically. But as costume pieces go, it's very compelling. A few years later, another studio made one that is more famous. That was "Marie Antoinette." It was better researched and is still somewhat well known. But it is really dull.
The costumes here are gorgeous. Now and then the music is appropriate to the time. A theme that seems distinctly 19th Century Romantic runs through, though.
The supporting cast is up to the task. It's hard to imagine what people sitting down in a theater in 1934 made of this. Bennett was still a big star so maybe they were happy to see her. It's an oddity, no doubt about it. But it's very good.
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