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 ... See full summary »
Spinster poetess Susan Grieve lives in a Manahattan apartment where naval hero Slick Novak comes with her for a nightcap. Next morning they visit her Connecticut farm where Novak tells her ... See full summary »
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
The budget for this film was ridiculously high for a Warner Brothers production; Warner Brothers was famed for releasing films with low production costs. Jack Warner wanted a film that would be similar to "Gone with the Wind" and spared no expense in trying to achieve his goal. See more »
The Duchess of Praslin is seen licking envelopes in which she has placed letters to her husband, the Duc de Praslin. This film is set in the 1840s; gummed envelopes would not be invented for another 100 years. Correspondence in the 1840s would not be placed in a #10 business envelope anyway as seen in the film. The letters would be be placed in another sheet of paper and then sealed over with a wax seal or simply folded over and sealed with a wax seal, sometimes a ribbon set in the wax as well. See more »
Duc de Praslin:
Why are you smiling? May I share whatever pleases you so?
You will think I am very silly I'm afraid, but standing here like this with the snow falling reminds of something I used to know. Do you remember a little round glass globe that...
Duc de Praslin:
Oh yes, I know, with a snow scene inside. We had a paper weight on a desk at home like that. You shook it and the snow whirled around out from nowhere in a blinding storm.
Yes, that's exactly what I mean.
Duc de Praslin:
And if you looked closely enough the whole world seemed...
See more »
Based upon the popular 1937 novel written by Henriette Duluzy Desporte's grandneice, one Rachel Field, this movie was a prime vehicle for Bette Davis. This was considered Warners big "prestige" picture for 194O, and it shows: no expense in the production costs were spared, it's an exceptionally finely crafted motion picture. Based upon factual incidents, the story tells of how the notorious 1847 murder of the Dutchess (played with venomous relish by the tall & stately Barbara O'Neil) made Henriette the most notoriously suspicious and despised woman in Europe for a time. Originally, O'Neil's interpretation of the horrendously neurotic Dutchess was played looking a disheveled, unkempt mess physically. The producers thought her appearance would be a bit too uncooth for viewers to endure, but that decision robbed O'Neil of a far more effective characterization. As Henriette, Davis is much more subdued than normal, and her performance is genuinely affecting: another victorious portrait added to her quickly growing gallery of unforgettable heroines and vixens. Charles Boyer is fine as the Duc; he and Davis have a most interesting, classy chemistry between them. The children include Richard Nichols (as the adorable Raynald), Virginia Weidler and June Lockhart. Anatole Litvak's direction keeps this 14O minute saga flowing: the result is a handsome period piece which is done in old Hollywood's best style.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?