IMDb > The Eagle with Two Heads (1948)

The Eagle with Two Heads (1948) More at IMDbPro »L'aigle à deux têtes (original title)


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Jean Cocteau (writer)
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Release Date:
18 December 1948 (USA) See more »
Political intrigue and psychological drama run parallel. The queen is in seclusion, veiling her face... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
The ghost of Empress Elizabeth. See more (1 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Edwige Feuillère ... Natasha, la Reine
Silvia Monfort ... Édith de Berg (as Sylvia Monfort)

Jean Marais ... Stanislas

Jean Debucourt ... Felix de Willenstein
Jacques Varennes ... Comte de Foehn
Ahmed Abdallah ... Toni
Gilles Quéant ... Rudy
Maurice Nasil ... Gentz
Edward Stirling ... Adams
Yvonne de Bray ... La présidente
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gisèle Brucker ... Caroline (uncredited)

Capucine ... La dame au buffet (uncredited)
Nora Costes ... Une jeune fille (uncredited)
André Darnay ... (uncredited)
Martine de Breteuil ... Une dame (uncredited)
Marguerite de Morlaye ... Une vieille invitée (uncredited)
Edouard Dermithe ... (uncredited)
Guy Favières ... Le mari de Caroline (uncredited)
Edith Lansac ... Une jeune fille (uncredited)
Germaine Lefebvre ... La dame au buffet (uncredited)
Jacqueline Marbaux ... Un invitée (uncredited)
Yves Massard ... (uncredited)
Claude Serre ... Le fifre (uncredited)
Victor Tabournot ... (uncredited)
Marion Tourès ... Une jeune fille (uncredited)
Roger Vincent ... Un invité (uncredited)
Shannon Watson II ... Un palefrenier (uncredited)
Gilles Watteaux ... Un jeune Chevau-léger (uncredited)

Directed by
Jean Cocteau 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jean Cocteau  writer

Produced by
Georges Dancigers .... producer
Alexandre Mnouchkine .... producer
Original Music by
Georges Auric 
Cinematography by
Christian Matras 
Film Editing by
Claude Ibéria 
Raymond Leboursier 
Production Design by
Georges Wakhévitch 
Art Direction by
Christian Bérard 
Costume Design by
Marcel Escoffier 
Makeup Department
Carmen Brel .... makeup artist
Production Management
Georges Dancigers .... production manager
Maurice Hartwig .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Hervé Bromberger .... assistant director
Sound Department
René Longuet .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Alain Douarinou .... camera operator (as A. Douarinou)
Raymond Voinquel .... still photographer (as R. Voinquel)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"L'aigle à deux têtes" - France (original title)
See more »
93 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Has the longest monologue in a dramatic film. Edwige Feuillère (Natasha) gives a 20-minute speech.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989)See more »


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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
The ghost of Empress Elizabeth., 27 September 2002
Author: dbdumonteil

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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