The Eagle with Two Heads (1948)
"L'aigle à deux têtes" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  18 December 1948 (USA)
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Political intrigue and psychological drama run parallel. The queen is in seclusion, veiling her face for the ten years since her husband's assassination, longing to join him in death. ... See full summary »



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Complete credited cast:
Edwige Feuillère ...
Natasha, la Reine
Silvia Monfort ...
Édith de Berg (as Sylvia Monfort)
Felix de Willenstein
Jacques Varennes ...
Comte de Foehn
Ahmed Abdallah ...
Gilles Quéant ...
Maurice Nasil ...
Edward Stirling ...
Yvonne de Bray ...
La présidente


Political intrigue and psychological drama run parallel. The queen is in seclusion, veiling her face for the ten years since her husband's assassination, longing to join him in death. Stanislas, a poet whose pen name is Azrael, is a suicidal anarchist, his imagination haunted into hate by longing for this queen who's drawn apart. He enters her private quarters intent on killing her then himself, but they fall in love, in part because he looks like the king. Stanislas wants her to regain political power by appearing to the public, and she tries to convince him to find hope and escape. All the while, the queen's enemies plot to keep the lovers together but to thwart their plans. Written by <>

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Plot Keywords:

anarchy | number in title | See All (2) »







Release Date:

18 December 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Eagle Has Two Heads  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Has the longest monologue in a dramatic film. Edwige Feuillère (Natasha) gives a 20-minute speech. See more »


Referenced in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

The ghost of Empress Elizabeth.
27 September 2002 | by See all my reviews

This work,which is looked upon as a minor movie in Cocteau's canon deserves to be known by young generations of cinebuffs,would it be only for its frenzied romanticism.

This queen,in her remote castle ,who shuns the Court,has probably been inspired by Empress Elizabeth from Austria,"Sissi".Jean Cocteau was certainly fascinated by this woman,the most beautiful of her time:Feuillère's hairdo,her words,always revolving around fate and death.The husband she's mourning is the equivalent of Sissi's son ,who tragically died in Mayerling.She often alludes to the Archduchess,her mother-in-law.And like Sissi,she's waiting for death.The character also borrows from Ludwig the SEcond,King of Bayern,Sissi's cousin,when the queen says that the only thing she does is building castles

The anarchist (Marais)resembles the late king,and the queen knows that she has met her fate .The double is a Cocteau leitmotiv:in "la belle et la bête",his towering achievement,the Beast turns into Marais who had appeared first as the Beauty's friend;in "Ruy Blas" which was directed by Pierre Billon ,but which bears the Cocteau's touch,Marais plays two parts as well.

The movie is full of strong scenes:the magnificent ball thrown by the queen,but as the guests are coming for the feast,they're told that the queen is not to attend it. Meanwhile she's having supper with her late husband.

Edwige Feuillère and Jean Marais are the embodiment of romanticism:love walks hand in hand with death along the corridors of the baroque castle. See it!It's younger than yesterday even if the reviews you find are somewhat tepid!Cocteau once said -and it is a lesson critics have to pay attention to-"critics judge works and they do not know they are judged by them."

There's another side in Cocteau 's movie:the political one.A character says something like that:a queen 's got to be beautiful ,so that she'll be able to conceal all that's ugly in the country,all the last lonely and wretched ones.The queen portrayed by Feuillère was a sovereign for democrats but she'd been knowing for a long time that power was illusive.All the pump and circumstance that surround her "come back" is some big carnival.The queen was a tragic character from the start,but Stanislas,Marais's character was not.He tries the compromise solution:he will give himself up provided that the queen returns to the world .He did not realize she could not ("you resemble the king,you insult him"),in any way, look back.The marvelous first scene tells it all: "I will not shout my name for fear the mountain may echo another one" That's only when Stanislas understands what love means for the queen that he becomes his equal.Around them,a lot a mediocre persons move:the count of Foen,a puppet in the Archduchess's-whom we never see-hands,as the lady in waiting ("reader")De Berg is.They spend their lives in compromise and lie ,waiting for promotion and begging favors.There's no communication between them and the doomed couple.An eagle with two heads which loses one of them is bound to die.

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