In the film, Richelieu is depicted doting on his cat, Mistigris (the 'Joker' in a pack of cards). By the 18C, his fondness for cats had become an established part of his legend. It has been claimed that he had at least 14 cats at the time of his death in 1642: Gazette, Rubis sur l'Ongle, Pyramus and Thisbe (inseparable), Serpolet (Wild Thyme), Felimare, Soumise, Lucifer, Ludovic le Cruel, Lodoïska, Mimi-Paillon (possibly previously Mademoiselle de Gournay's cat), Mounard le Fougueux, Perruque and Racan (twins, allegedly born in the academician Racan's wig), and Gavroche. The cat which figures in the posters for this film is black, and does not resemble the screen Mistigris, who appears to be a fluffy calico. See more »
It is always interesting,nay funny,to see how Hollywood broaches FRench history.To make Louis XIII a bon vivant fond of young maidens whereas he was misogynous and is known for only having had two (platonic)affairs with women is the contrary of what we learn in history books.On the other hand,the king's homosexuality was never proved :he had favorites but they could possibly have been only good friends.
On the other hand,George Arliss is Richelieu as a French person can imagine it.He is a shrewd adamant man,with a great fondness for cats .He was hated by the queen and the queen mother Marie De Medicis whose regency was a disaster .The movie shows how disinterested he was:he used to work for the king's throne,preparing the absolute monarchy which would come into bloom with the Sun King in 1661.He fought against the nobles -who ,after his death would rebel in the days of "La Fronde"
and against the protestants (the siege of La Rochelle is depicted in
"Les Trois Mousquetaires").
The story is a bit far-fetched -the Cardinal goes as far as to pretend he is dead;the nobles who see his "dead body" take naiveté to new limits-but rather entertaining.
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