The tragic life of Marie Antoinette, who became queen of France in her late teens.

Directors:

(as W.S. Van Dyke II), (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Henry Stephenson ...
Cora Witherspoon ...
Barnett Parker ...
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Leonard Penn ...
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Comte de Provence (as Albert Van Dekker)
Alma Kruger ...
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 August 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

María Antonieta  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,926,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original road show print including entry, intermission and exit music)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During principal photography, portions of the film were shot on location at the recently completed Hollywood Park Racetrack in Inglewood, CA. The racetrack's facade was decorated to stand-in for the exterior of the Palace at Versailles. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Duke d'Orléans: Bravo, witty & beautiful. Oh most rare lady. To the King:Sire.
Mme. du Barry: Oh, his Grace d'Orleans. I've been waiting.
Duke d'Orléans: I'm desolate.
Mme. du Barry: His grace is late.
Duke d'Orléans: The loss is mine, Madame.
Mme. du Barry: Flatter, I believe you want something.
Duke d'Orléans: Let's see. Why, of course I do. I want to be Grand Admiral of France
Mme. du Barry: Laughing: And can we resist him? He has all the charm of a sailor.
Duke d'Orléans: You're too kind.
Mme. du Barry: Oh, but you have. And I've know lots of sailors. All fancy lads. And all liars.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Anne Frank: The Whole Story (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(1792) (uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Played over the opening credits
Reprised as background music at the start of the French Revolution
Played again at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"They don't make them this way anymore!"
19 July 2000 | by (Newport, Kentucky) – See all my reviews

Often said, and, for better or for worse, just as often true: "Marie Antoinette" is one of THE definitive examples of an MGM prestige picture, 1930s style. Years in planning and preproduction, "Marie Antoinette" was Norma Shearer's first film after Irving Thalberg's death: little expense was spared in making the "First Lady of MGM"'s return to the screen a royal one in every sense.

Technically superb, the film suffers from erratic pacing and a patchwork script. But the supporting cast alone almost compensates for these deficiencies: Robert Morley side-stepping caricature to make Louis XVI touchingly human; John Barrymore and Gladys George contributing brilliant, razor-sharp vignettes as Louis XV and Madame du Barry (indeed, the confrontation between Marie Antoinette and du Barry is one of the film's highlights); and Joseph Schildkraut redefining the term "oily" as the scheming Duke of Orleans. Only Tyrone Power (borrowed from 20th Century-Fox) comes off less well; this, perhaps is due more to an ill-conceived role in the script than to a lack of acting ability as such.

But it is, first and foremost, Shearer's film and she is superb. From the young, light-hearted Austrian Archduchess to the fun-loving, lightheaded Queen to the prematurely aged but proud and defiant widow on her way to the guillotine, Shearer is in full command, giving a splendid display of her artistry (including, in the prison scenes, an outstanding example of silent film technique): it is her finest mature dramatic performance.

Carps, quibbles, and differences of opinion? Yes, every film lover has them, if only out of love for the medium or a specific film. But after viewing a film such as "Marie Antoinette," it can with utmost conviction be stated, "They DON'T make them that way anymore."


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