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Marie Antoinette (1938)

Passed | | Biography, Drama, History | 26 August 1938 (USA)
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 »
Reviews

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Comte de Provence (as Albert Van Dekker)
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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

According to Wikipedia, the movie had thousands of costumes and lavish set designs. Adrian visited France and Austria in 1937 researching the period. He studied the paintings of Marie Antoinette, even using a microscope on them so that the embroidery and fabric could be identical. Fabrics were specially woven and embroidered with stitches sometimes too fine to be seen with the naked eye. The attention to detail was extreme, from the framework to hair. Some gowns became extremely heavy due to the embroidery, flounces and precious stones used. Norma Shearer's gowns alone had a combined weight of over 1,768 lb., the heaviest being the wedding dress. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Romance of Celluloid (1937) See more »

Soundtracks

Dance of the Furies
(uncredited)
from "Orpheus and Euridice" (1762)
Written by Christoph Willibald Gluck
[Heard as background score during the masked ball sequence.]
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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