In 1923, Gregory Vance, a widower with two children, is a former scholar who has turned from book-to-bottle. He works, slightly, as a night-watchman and his children, who know him for what ... See full summary »
An elderly Miss Morrison recounts her life as the once young and beautiful opera singer Marcia Morney-then the toast of Napoleon III's Paris. One evening, she encounters an American voice ... See full summary »
Robert Z. Leonard
A charming and very daring thief known as Arsene Lupin is terrorizing the wealthy of Paris, he even goes so far as to threaten the Mona Lisa. But the police, led by the great Guerchard, ... See full summary »
The life of Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) from betrothal and marriage in 1770 to her beheading. At first, she's a Hapsburg teenager isolated in France, living a virgin's life in the household of the Dauphin, a shy solitary man who would like to be a locksmith. Marie discovers high society, with the help of Orleans and her brothers-in-law. Her foolishness is at its height when she meets a Swedish count, Axel de Fersen. He helps her see her fecklessness. In the second half of the film, she avoids an annulment, becomes queen, bears children, and is a responsible ruler. The affair of the necklace and the general poverty of France feed revolution. She faces death with dignity. Written by
This film received its initial television presentation in Philadelphia Friday 5 July 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); in San Francisco it first aired 25 May 1958 on KGO (Channel 7), followed by New York City 13 September 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2), and by Los Angeles 1 February 1959 on KTTV (Channel 11). See more »
In the lavish ball sequence at Versailles that appears to take place in the famous Hall of Mirrors, King Louis XV (and later, Mme du Pompadour) arrives by descending a huge flight of stairs. Yet the real Hall of Mirrors has no stairs, at either end. See more »
King Louis XV:
[presenting Marie to Louis the Dauphin on their wedding night]
Louis, I cast this pearl before you.
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MGM's lavish look at the French Revolution...a Shearer triumph...
MGM's lavishly budgeted look at the French Revolution during the reign of King Louis and his famously selfish MARIE ANTOINETTE spares no expense in detailing the grim background of court conspiracies and the people's unrest that led to their downfall.
Too bad none of this eye-popping splendor wasn't captured in Technicolor, as originally planned--but with a budget well over 1.5 million it was decided to film it in glorious B&W. No matter, it's still a spectacle for sore eyes.
There can be no doubt about NORMA SHEARER's triumph in the title role nor is any of the acting in the large cast below standard. ROBERT MORLEY as the weak and indecisive Louis is immensely touching and effective as he realizes the gravity of their predicament. JOHN BARRYMORE is fine and Joseph SCHILDKRAUT is wonderful as an aristocratic fop. TYRONE POWER lends his romantic presence to a role that requires little more than his good looks. He and Shearer make a physically appealing romantic team.
It's interesting that Irving Thalberg died before production began on the film. One wonders whether his influence on it might have made it an even stronger production. There are definite lulls in the telling but it builds dramatically to all of the final scenes. It's the kind of film that leads one to read more about the actual events and that's always a good thing.
Summing up: Sumptuously produced, well acted and well directed--what more could you want for an interesting glimpse of a life of royalty among a time of social upheaval? Shearer's triumphant return to the screen after a two-year absence.
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