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Marie Antoinette
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Marie Antoinette (1938) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Claudine West (screen play) &
Donald Ogden Stewart (screen play) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Marie Antoinette on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
26 August 1938 (USA) See more »
Plot:
The tragic life of Marie Antoinette, who became queen of France in her late teens. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Top Ten Reasons why "Marie Antoinette" is quite possibly the best movie ever made in Hollywood See more (60 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Norma Shearer ... Marie Antoinette

Tyrone Power ... Count Axel de Fersen

John Barrymore ... King Louis XV

Robert Morley ... King Louis XVI

Anita Louise ... Princesse de Lamballe

Joseph Schildkraut ... Duke d'Orléans

Gladys George ... Mme. du Barry
Henry Stephenson ... Count de Mercey
Cora Witherspoon ... Countess de Noailles
Barnett Parker ... Prince de Rohan
Reginald Gardiner ... Comte d'Artois

Henry Daniell ... La Motte
Leonard Penn ... Toulan

Albert Dekker ... Comte de Provence (as Albert Van Dekker)
Alma Kruger ... Empress Maria Theresa

Joseph Calleia ... Drouet
George Meeker ... Robespierre
Scotty Beckett ... The Dauphin

Marilyn Knowlden ... Princesse Thérèse
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Erville Alderson ... Passport Official (uncredited)
Richard Alexander ... Man with Pike (uncredited)
Sam Ash ... Rabblerouser (uncredited)
Bonnie Bannon ... Girl (uncredited)
Trevor Bardette ... Municipal Taking the Young Dauphin (uncredited)
Robert Barrat ... Citizen-Officer (uncredited)
Ed Brady ... Townsman at Execution (uncredited)
Thomas Braidon ... Lackey (uncredited)
Al Bridge ... Official in Passport Office (uncredited)

Peter Bull ... Gamin (uncredited)
John Burton ... Lafayette (uncredited)

Mae Busch ... Mme. La Motte (uncredited)
John Butler ... Second Municipal Taking the Young Dauphin (uncredited)
Frank Campeau ... Lemonade Vendor (uncredited)
David Cavendish ... Beauregard (uncredited)
Lane Chandler ... Revolutionary Officer (uncredited)
Dorothy Christy ... Lady in Waiting to Madame Du Barry (uncredited)
Ocean Claypool ... Woman in Gaming House (uncredited)
Roger Converse ... Man in Gaming House (uncredited)
Harry Cording ... Executioner (uncredited)
Earl Covert ... Singer in Death Chant (uncredited)
Wade Crosby ... Danton (uncredited)
Cecil Cunningham ... Mme. 'Feldy' de Lerchenfeld (uncredited)
Guy D'Ennery ... Minister at King's Council (uncredited)
Howard Da Silva ... Toulon (uncredited)

Harry Davenport ... Monsieur de Cosse (uncredited)
Nigel De Brulier ... Archbishop (uncredited)
Vernon Downing ... Man in Gaming House (uncredited)
Claire Du Brey ... Woman Yelling at Rabblerouser (uncredited)
Frank Elliott ... King's Chamberlain (uncredited)
Billy Engle ... Man with Goblet (uncredited)
Harold Entwistle ... Old Aristocrat at Opera (uncredited)
Ann Evers ... Woman in Gaming House (uncredited)
Al Ferguson ... Soldier (uncredited)

Barry Fitzgerald ... Peddler (uncredited)
Neil Fitzgerald ... First Councilor (uncredited)
Jack George ... Orchestra Leader (uncredited)
Maude Turner Gordon ... Dowager (uncredited)
Greta Granstedt ... Woman in Gaming House (uncredited)
Lawrence Grant ... Old Nobleman at Birth of Dauphin (uncredited)
Jack Grey ... Courtesan (uncredited)
Ben Hall ... Young Man Fetching Priest (uncredited)
Ben Hendricks Jr. ... National Guardsman (uncredited)
Holmes Herbert ... Herald (uncredited)
Ramsay Hill ... Major Domo (uncredited)
George Houston ... Marquis De St. Priest (uncredited)
Esther Howard ... Streetwalker (uncredited)
Mary Howard ... Olivia (uncredited)
Hugh Huntley ... Man in Opera Gallery (uncredited)
Arthur Hurni ... Rabblerouser (uncredited)

Ruth Hussey ... Duchess de Polignac (uncredited)
Olaf Hytten ... Monsieur Boehmer - the Jeweler (uncredited)
Frank Jaquet ... Keeper of the Seal (uncredited)
Edward Keane ... General (uncredited)
Victor Kilian ... Guard in Louis' Cell (uncredited)
Claude King ... Choisell (uncredited)
George Kirby ... Priest (uncredited)
Henry Kolker ... Court Aide (uncredited)
Howard Lang ... Franz (uncredited)
Duke R. Lee ... Coach Driver (uncredited)
Harts Lind ... Nurse (uncredited)
Jacques Lory ... French Peasant (uncredited)
Frank McGlynn Jr. ... Soldier with Rude Laugh (uncredited)
Horace McMahon ... Rabblerouser (uncredited)
John Merton ... Soldier Announcing Birth (uncredited)
Helene Millard ... Lady in Waiting to Du Barry (uncredited)
Frances Millen ... Lady in Waiting to Du Barry (uncredited)
M. Morova ... Singer in Death Chant (uncredited)
Corbet Morris ... LaRue (uncredited)
Leonard Mudie ... Man Yelling 'Have You Proof?' (uncredited)
Bea Nigro ... Woman at the Opera (uncredited)
Mimi Olivera ... Lady in Waiting to Du Barry (uncredited)
Moroni Olsen ... Bearded Leader of the People (uncredited)
Rafaela Ottiano ... Louise - Marie's Maid (uncredited)
Claire Owen ... Woman in Gaming House (uncredited)
Inez Palange ... Fish Wife (uncredited)
Billy Platt ... Midget in Student Ball Number (uncredited)
Guy Bates Post ... Convention President (uncredited)
Alonzo Price ... Second Guardsman (uncredited)
Tom Quinn ... Rabblerouser (uncredited)
Herbert Rawlinson ... Goguelot (uncredited)
'Little Billy' Rhodes ... Midget in Student Ball Number (uncredited)
Buddy Roosevelt ... Revolutionary Officer (uncredited)
Lionel Royce ... Guillaume (uncredited)
Tom Rutherford ... St. Clair (uncredited)
Brent Sargent ... St. Pre (uncredited)
Harry Semels ... Townsman at Execution (uncredited)
Allen D. Sewall ... Citizen (uncredited)
Kathryn Sheldon ... Mrs. Tilson - Setting the Table for Four (uncredited)
Ivan F. Simpson ... Sauce (uncredited)
William Steele ... Footman (uncredited)
Carl Stockdale ... National Guardsman Bringing Toy Soldier (uncredited)
Harry Stubbs ... Second Councilor (uncredited)
Frank Arthur Swales ... Chimney Sweep (uncredited)
Phillip Terry ... Man in Gaming House (uncredited)
Zeffie Tilbury ... Dowager at Birth of Dauphin (uncredited)
Dorothy Tuttle ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Theodore von Eltz ... Officer in Entrance Hall (uncredited)
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... King's Confessor (uncredited)
Charles Waldron ... Swedish Ambassador (uncredited)
Walter Walker ... Dr. Benjamin Franklin (uncredited)
Luana Walters ... Woman in Gaming House (uncredited)

Anthony Warde ... Marat (uncredited)
Lyons Wickland ... Laclos (uncredited)
Tudor Williams ... Singer in Death Chant (uncredited)
Eric Wilton ... Juror (uncredited)

Ian Wolfe ... Herbert - the Jailer (uncredited)
George Zucco ... Governor of Conciergerie (uncredited)

Directed by
W.S. Van Dyke  (as W.S. Van Dyke II)
Julien Duvivier (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Claudine West (screen play) &
Donald Ogden Stewart (screen play) and
Ernest Vajda (screen play)

Stefan Zweig (based in part on the book by)

F. Scott Fitzgerald  uncredited
Talbot Jennings  dialogue (uncredited)

Produced by
Hunt Stromberg .... producer
Irving Thalberg .... producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Herbert Stothart 
 
Cinematography by
William H. Daniels (photographed by) (as William Daniels)
George J. Folsey (uncredited)
Leonard Smith (uncredited)
 
Film Editing by
Robert Kern (film editor) (as Robert J. Kern)
 
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
 
Costume Design by
Adrian (gowns)
Gile Steele (costumes: men)
 
Makeup Department
Jack Dawn .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Frank Messenger .... unit manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jacques Tourneur .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
William A. Horning .... associate art director
Edwin B. Willis .... associate art director
 
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
Bill Edmondson .... sound (uncredited)
William Steinkamp .... sound (uncredited)
 
Special Effects by
Slavko Vorkapich .... montage effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Louis Kolb .... electrical engineer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Leo Arnaud .... orchestrator (uncredited)
George Bassman .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Murray Cutter .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Paul Marquardt .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leonid Raab .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Robert W. Stringer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Albertina Rasch .... dances
George Richelavie .... technical advisor
Rebecca Breskin .... researcher (uncredited)
Ray Deichsel .... researcher (uncredited)
Howard Dietz .... press representative (uncredited)
Ralph Faulkner .... fight choreographer (uncredited)
May Huyn .... researcher (uncredited)
Thelma Johnson .... researcher (uncredited)
Elliott Morgan .... researcher (uncredited)
Mary Smith .... researcher (uncredited)
John Wenzel .... researcher (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Sidney Franklin .... grateful acknowledgment: for his contribution of the production preparation
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
149 min | USA:157 min (original road show print including entry, intermission and exit music)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White (Sepiatone)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:G | Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:S | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #4322) | West Germany:12
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The role of Marie Antoinette was reportedly Norma Shearer's favorite of her roles.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: The stately minuet heard at the lavish ball sequence hosted by the Duc D'Orleans at Versailles, is from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, which was composed in 1787. A few moments after the Minuet ends, King Louis XV arrives. He died in 1774 and therefore, this music could not possibly have been played at such an event as it had yet to be written.See more »
Quotes:
Prince de Rohan:Monseigneur, Madame. I have the honor to deliver this charming box.
Marie:A present! Yes, I'm sure it is! Our anniversary, you know! From whom?
Prince de Rohan:Oh, that Madame, I am not at liberty to say. Shall we unfasten the ribbon?
Marie:I shall do it myself! To Louis: Will you help me? It's for you too, you know. What do you suppose it is?
King Louis XVI:From the King perhaps?
Marie:Oh, I do hope so! To the Price de Rohan: Is it from the King?
Prince de Rohan:Madame, you positively must not ask or I shall break my vows, but Madame is warm, if I may so express myself. Madame, is very warm.
Marie:Unwrapping the gift with child-like excitememt, and then a sudden look of confusion: A cradle... uh, an empty cradle. Read from the card attached to the present: Since at least it is quite beyond doubt this cot your unable to fill... go back to your schitzel and krout and leave the job to some baggage who will."
Prince de Rohan:Oh Madame! I assure you! I had no idea! The Countess DuBerry...
Marie:Wll you go, Monsieur?
[...]
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Another Romance of Celluloid (1938)See more »
Soundtrack:
La MarseillaiseSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
22 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
Top Ten Reasons why "Marie Antoinette" is quite possibly the best movie ever made in Hollywood, 23 March 2002
Author: Benoît A. Racine (benoit-3) from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

10. The script

Uncredited as a scriptwriter is novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. His love scenes are extremely elaborate and exquisitely structured. They also introduce innovations that have since become clichés and the hallmark of 'women pictures' everywhere.

9. The actors

Barrymore is unforgettable as the regally cranky Louis XV. Morley gives one of his best interpretations. Schildkraut plays the best two-faced villain of his entire body of work. As for Power... remember the anecdote about the reporter asking romance-writer Barbara Cartland (Lady Di's stepmother) how she could possibly have written so many romance novels before she was even married and while she was still a virgin? Her answer was: 'Oh! We didn't have sex in those days. We had Tyrone Power.'

8. The director

Van Dyke was an expert at handling large crowds and acts of God. His directing style was a compromise between time-efficiency and giving the stars leeway as long as they respected the general style of the piece. This 'honour system' seems to have encouraged the actors to do their homework and present a credible, coherent performance every time. He also got an assist here from uncredited French genius Julien Duvivier.

7. Artistic direction

What can you say about a period film that tackled the challenge of recreating Versailles in the XVIIIth century on the MGM back lot? The production values are staggering. The Gallery of Mirrors is actually longer, higher and wider than the original. The costumes tread a fine line between historical accuracy (covered shoulders and revealed cleavage) and the requirements of the movie code (exposed shoulders were tolerated but bosoms had to be covered) but still manage to convey the era and the fairy-tale quality of Marie's court. The costumes were also specially constructed to shine, glitter and shimmer on black and white film.

6. Historical accuracy

The film's script is based (in part) on Stefan Zweig's groundbreaking biography of the Queen, "Marie Antoinette, Portrait of an Ordinary Woman", which tried to create the first accurate, adult, factual but Freudian-inspired narrative of the Queen's life by using documents and correspondence that had long been overlooked or suppressed. The book was the first to reveal Louis XVI's mechanical sexual problems, which prevented his consummating the marriage during its first seven years (until a slight surgical intervention) and explained in turn the Queen's extravagant spendthrift personality, in Freudian terms, as extreme sexual frustration. This story actually makes it to the screen in a large degree. Compare this to recent biopics like "A Beautiful Mind", whose scriptwriters conveniently 'forget' essential but non-mainstream plot elements like the fact that John Nash's paranoia may have been caused or amplified by the McCarthy era persecution of homosexuals. Some historical events have been telescoped into one another in order to accommodate the general American public's limited understanding of French history and the Orléans character was used to maintain tension by representing the turncoat part of the nobility which exploited MA for their own various agendas.

5. The music

Herbert Stothart may not be a household word but he did win an Oscar for his original score to "The Wizard of Oz", based, of course in part on Harold Arlen's melodies. Besides giving Miss Gulch/the Wicked Witch her immortal theme, he is also one half of the composing team that produced the operetta "Rose Marie". Stothart shines in two respects: the approximate recreation of XVIIIth century dance music in the court scenes, emphasizing the bored grandeur of the proceedings, and the psychological music that accompanies everything from exciting chase scenes to the love scenes between Shearer and Tyrone. Note especially the use of the harpsichord in a rupture scene between Orléans and MA and the use of the viola d'amour in the garden love scene.

4. The cinematography

MA is in 'glorious black and white', but especially in the escape to Varennes sequence which has the most credible - and suspenseful - 'day for night' sequence ever filmed. The marriage scene may have inspired Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. Also notable are the matte paintings, the overwhelming use of cranes to move in on particular characters in a crowd scene and the chiaroscuro of the last meeting with Fersen.

3. Detail and scope

Every scene has something special added to it in characterization, movement, rhythm, lighting, art direction, choreography (and not just in the dance scenes). The costumes could have starred in a picture by themselves.

2. The lost art of story-telling

This film was planned with intelligence and skill and was built around the principle stated by Selznick when filming GWTW: 'The secret of adapting a book to the screen is to give the impression that you are adapting a book to the screen.' Which means that many literary devices are used to give the story many interesting arcs and recurring themes. The story is well balanced in terms of spectacular action, recreation of important historical events (giving the impression of the passage of time) and intimate scenes. It is truly 'the intimate epic' that Mankiewicz's 'Cleopatra' was supposed to be. Need I add I am really dreading the Sofia Coppola version...

1. Norma Shearer

Norma Shearer is an unjustly forgotten star of the first magnitude. MA is permanent testament to her uncanny abilities. In this film she portrays the main character from the age of sixteen to her death as a prematurely aged and debilitated woman of 38, all with perfect verisimilitude, thanks to her magnificent vocal instrument and stage presence. As a fairy-queen, she makes Cate Blanchett as Galadriel (in LOTR) look like Carol Burnett's charwoman. Her virtuosity as the fated widowed Queen is all the more poignant when one realizes that at the time she was Thalberg's widow in her last husband-approved venture and that the Hollywood suits were rapidly closing in on her.

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