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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
When Marie and Louis first wedding anniversary is announced, the bells are heard change-ringing. This requires the bells to completely be rotated by a rope wound on a wheel, and was until the 19th century a strictly English way of ringing bells. The bells shown are swinging from trunnions, in the normal French manner. See more »
Adrian went all out for this lavish, gorgeous production of "Marie Antoinette" starring Norma Shearer, who is never more beautiful or glamorous than in this epic biography. This Marie is quite the heroine, a woman of the people, generous to a fault, and never says, "Let them eat cake," and would only have said it in reference to her children. History tells us that Marie's downfall was really the "Affair of the Necklace," and she was no different from other aristocrats in being totally out of touch with what was going on with the French people.
This film is jaw dropping in its splendor. Adrian's costumes are totally magnificent, as are the palace settings. Tyrone Power is drop-dead gorgeous as Marie's Swedish lover, who comes to her aid in her time of need. Power was the inspiration for Barbara Cartland to say, when asked how she could write so convincingly about sex while she was a still a virgin, "We didn't need sex. We had Tyrone Power." The rest of the cast is fantastic, including Robert Morley, John Barrymore, Joseph Schildkraut, and Gladys George. As for Norma, she does a great job, giving a vivid, if movie star, performance in one of her last films. The last scenes are very touching and beautifully done.
I had no expectations for this film and as a rule am not crazy about period pieces, but this one swept me away. It does follow history quite closely - for those who commented that the Tyrone Power character was fictional, he was not, and he did try to help her.
Don't miss this one.
**A funny Marie Antionette anecdote: The studio wanted Shearer to use their contract star, Robert Taylor, but Shearer got a look at Power at a dinner, invited him to be part of the film, and got her way. During their first kiss, she held on so long the kiss had to be edited down. Power apparently did not return her affections. She became angry. At a photo shoot, she appeared with gigantic plumes that hid him as he posed behind her and the plumes shot up. The photographer gave Power a box to stand on. As the photographer activated the flash, Power crashed through the box and hit the floor. Though he escorted Shearer to the premier, he snuck out to see his soon to be wife, Annabella.
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