When lovely and virtuous governess Henriette Deluzy comes to educate the children of the debonair Duc de Praslin, a royal subject to King Louis-Philippe and the husband of the volatile and ...
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Olivia de Havilland,
When lovely and virtuous governess Henriette Deluzy comes to educate the children of the debonair Duc de Praslin, a royal subject to King Louis-Philippe and the husband of the volatile and obsessive Duchesse de Praslin, she instantly incurs the wrath of her mistress, who is insanely jealous of anyone who comes near her estranged husband. Though she saves the duchess's little son from a near-death illness and warms herself to all the children, she is nevertheless dismissed by the vengeful duchess. Meanwhile, the attraction between the duke and Henriette continues to grow, eventually leading to tragedy. Written by
Reportedly it took 40 minutes to dress Bette Davis each day in her historically accurate costumes with several layers of undergarments and corsets to help her maintain the correct posture and movement See more »
An error, not in the film itself, but in the Warner DVD commentary on the film, may confuse IMDb readers who consult the credits list. In his commentary, at about 14:45, Daniel Bubbeo identifies the actor playing the household priest (Abbe Gallard) as Walter Hampden, but this is an error. Walter Hampden plays Pasquier, the King's chief minister who leads the murder prosecution in the second part of the film. The actor playing Abbe Gallard is Fritz Leiber. Possibly Bubbeo was misled by a superficial resemblance between the two actors -- both being tall men with prominent noses. But in any case, the IMDb cast list is correct, and Bubbeo is in error. (For another prominent role of Walter Hampden, see his rendering of the Archdeacon in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a year earlier.) See more »
Duc de Praslin:
May I have Pierre come for your luggage?
Duchesse de Praslin:
Theo, last night I poured my heart out to you in a letter. I crept to your doorway which I am foridden to enter and stooped in humility and pushed it under the seal!
Duc de Praslin:
I received it, Frances.
Duchesse de Praslin:
But look! You didn't even open it! Oh Theo, do you suppose this empty pretense is what I hoped for?Lastnight I begged for you to come to me! I hoped we might start this journey today united as we once were! Theo, Theo! Have you completely forgotten the life we once ...
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Director Anatole Litvak does an exceedingly good job with this romantic period piece, as do each of the actors involved. Bette Davis plays Henriette Deluzy-Desportes, a governess in 19th Century France, who lands a position working for Theo, Duc De Praslin (Charles Boyer) and his family. The childern adore the new, spirited governess, but Boyer's psycho bitch wife, the Duchesse (Barbara O'Neil), is resentful of Henriette's intrusion into the family. The new addition to the family works her magic on everyone but the Duchesse. Theo and Henriette, predictably, begin to fall in love, which further complicates things, sending the crazy wife into even more rages of insanity. All of this builds momentum until a climactic crime of passion takes a life.
Davis is a kick to watch as she struts her stuff with an excellent French accent. Boyer is awesome in this dark, brooding, but romantic role. And O'Neil deservedly got an Oscar-nomination for her role, full of anger and energy. But the real stand-out, interestingly enough, is Richard Nicols as Boyer's so-adorable-you-just-wanna-squeeze-him son Reynald.
Overall, this dark, dreary film is a highly-satisfying experience, slightly off-put by the preachy, silly final scene in the classroom.
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