MADAME DU BARRY, a wanton, vivacious young woman, catches the eye & the heart of the aging Louis XV and quickly becomes his mistress. Through guile & intelligence, she soon finds herself the most powerful woman in France.
Dolores Del Rio shines in this funny, lavish & sadly neglected film. Her Mexican accent is more than compensated for by her fiery beauty & fine acting. She is perfectly matched by Reginald Owen as Louis, in one of his finest roles, somewhat ribald & ridiculously in love. An odd cinematic couple they may be, but they are never less than entertaining.
An excellent cast supports them: Maynard Holmes & Anita Louise as the childish Dauphin & strong-minded Marie Antoinette; Victor Jory, Osgood Perkins, Verree Teasdale, Henry O'Neill & Ferdinand Gottschalk as sundry court officials & hangers-on; Dorothy Tree, Helen Howell & Joan Wheeler as Louis' spiteful daughters; Halliwell Hobbes as the English Ambassador; and Arthur Treacher as the snooty Master of the Bedchamber.
Movie mavens will spot, in uncredited roles, Doris Lloyd as the madam of the royal brothel; and Robert Greig, as Louis' chef, who shares a hilarious omelet-making scene with Reginald Owen.
Curiously, the film takes great pains in making the Dauphin & Marie Antoinette into sympathetic figures, especially during their bizarre wedding night sequence, only to turn them into villains in the very last scene.
Warner Bros. must have spent a pretty penny on this film - and it shows. Its pre-Production Code status is also very evident from the somewhat salacious content & dialogue.
What really happened to Marie Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse Du Barry, after the death of Louis XV in 1774? She retired to a life of luxury in her private château and kept up a schedule of intrigues & dalliances throughout the reign of Louis XVI. With the outbreak of the Revolution, Du Barry escaped to England in 1793. Foolishly, she returned to France & was arrested on charges of conspiracy against the New Order. Du Barry had her appointment with Madame Guillotine on December 8, 1793. She was 50 years old.
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