Sea-faring saga of two brothers (Robert Taylor, Stewart Granger) and the woman they both love. Set against South Pacific islands, this love triangle pits the good brother against the bad as... See full summary »
Sir William Hamilton, a widower of mature years, is British ambassador to the Court of Naples. Emma who comes for a visit with her mother wouldn't cut the grade with London society but she ... See full summary »
Chronicles the life of queen Elizabeth I, before she became the queen of England. Apart from taking part in the court intrigues, she is unhappily in love with admiral Thomas Seymour, and ... See full summary »
Soldier Joe Allen is on a two-day leave in New York, and there he meets Alice. She agrees to show him the sights and they spend the day together. In this short time they find themselves ... See full summary »
Police detective Joe Warner investigates the shooting of womanizing composer Keith Vincent. Evidence points to suicide and that is the official verdict, but Joe doesn't buy it and ... See full summary »
Johnny Riggs, a con man on the lam, finds himself in a Latin-American country named Patria. There, he overhears a convent-bred rich girl praying to her guardian angel for help in managing ... See full summary »
French author Gustave Flaubert is on trial for writing the "indecent" novel "Madame Bovary." To prove that he wrote a moral tale, Flaubert narrates the story of beautiful Emma Bovary, an adulteress who destroyed the lives of everyone she came in contact with. Written by
Daniel Bubbeo <email@example.com>
The Breen Office opposed the film, saying that it had too many controversies and innuendo; everything from the make-up to the kissing scenes had to be slightly toned down to appease the censors. See more »
Jennifer Jones is "Madame Bovary" in this 1949 adaptation of Flaubert's novel, directed by Vincente Minnelli and also starring Van Heflin, James Mason, Louis Jourdan, Gene Lockhart, Alf Kjellin and Ellen Corby. The film starts with Flaubert, on trial for indecency. As he defends the book, he tells the story of Emma Bovary, a delusional young woman living on a farm who, from romantic novels, has unrealistic ideas about love and happiness. She nabs a simple country doctor (Van Heflin) and proceeds to buy herself an incredible wardrobe and live as a rich woman, even though she and her husband are not wealthy. She has a little girl whom she ignores, leaving her to the nurse (Corby). Emma soon becomes bored and attempts to seduce a young man (Kjellin), but his mother (Gladys Cooper) catches on and sends him to Paris. Then she meets Boulanger (Jourdan) at a party, becomes his lover and plans to run away with him to Italy - but he sees what high maintenance she is and takes off without her. In an attempt to make her husband more prominent, she attempts to talk him into performing a new surgery, but he refuses (in the book, however, he's ambitious as well and does the surgery, which is a failure). Meanwhile, unbeknownst to her husband, she owes a fortune, and if she doesn't find a way out, the family is due to lose their home and furnishings.
"Madame Bovary" is one of the most stunning films ever made, with a captivating performance by Jones who makes Emma pathetic, desperate, frantic and sympathetic. As one of the comments on the board pointed out, it's easy to make Emma unlikable. With Jones' natural charm making her likable and somewhat sweet, we can see ourselves in Emma. She has great backup from Heflin as her cowed husband. Jourdan is handsome and arrogant - he sees his future with Emma, and he doesn't like it.
Minnelli handles every detail beautifully in this film. Not enough can be said about the waltz at the party, its dizzying effects making it one of the most thrilling scenes on film. When Emma later puts on the same gown and looks in the mirror and remembers that night, we know for her it was the ultimate dream evening, when she become one with the heroines of the novels she read. The gowns - well, there have been beautiful gowns in films - the 1938 Marie Antoinette comes to mind - and, as in that film, these gowns are works of art, particularly the white ball gown. When Boulanger returns from Italy, and Emma goes to see him, she actually looks different - tired and older - the subtlety of the makeup is spectacular.
Though set in France in the mid-1800s, Madame Bovary is a classic because it deals with an ordinary person so dazzled by illusion that she cannot accept anything about her life as it exists. How apropos for today, when the media bludgeons us with multimillion dollar homes, heiresses who go to parties every night, size zero, red carpet premieres - it's hard to be happy when you're a housewife in sweats paying $4 a gallon for gas. Even before films, television, the tabloids and the Internet, people weren't satisfied with their lives because they were told to compare their inside with someone else's outside and found themselves not measuring up.
"Madame Bovary" isn't an immorality tale, it's a morality tale and, of course, Flaubert was acquitted. It's considered one of the two greatest novels ever written, along with Anna Karenina, and it's perfectly adapted for film in the 1949 version - the story of a woman who thinks that shopping on credit till she drops is the way to real happiness. Like many in the 20th and 21st centuries have found, she was wrong.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?