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Royal Affairs in Versailles (1954)

Si Versailles m'était conté (original title)
The history of the palace of Versailles from it's founding to the present.

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(scenario and dialogue)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jacques Damiens
...
...
Jeanne Boitel ...
Gilbert Bokanowski ...
Louis XVI (as Gilbert Boka)
...
Un guide du musée de Versailles
...
...
...
Rivarol
...
Nicole Courcel ...
Madame de Chalis
Danièle Delorme ...
Yves Deniaud ...
Le paysan
...
Jean Collinet
...
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Storyline

Witty narration follows the history of Versailles Palace; founded by Louis XIII, enlarged by autocratic Louis XIV, whose personal affairs and amours, and those of his two successors, are followed in more detail to the start of the Revolution, after which the story is brought rapidly up to date. A huge cast plays mainly historical persons who appear briefly. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Affairs of State Waited on the State of Their "Affairs" See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | History

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

8 March 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Affairs in Versailles  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 14399 delivered on 8-2-1954. See more »

Connections

Featured in Sacha Guitry et le cinéma: un amour masqué (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Ça Ira
"
Written by Claude Balbastre (1793), Adapted by Jean Françaix
Performed by Georges Tzipine Et Son Orchestre
Sung by Édith Piaf
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A cast of thousands !
28 April 2002 | by See all my reviews

Often unfairly dismissed as academic ,boring and pretentious this three-hour movie is actually a delight from start to finish.A cast of thousands,including all the who's who of the fifties actors.(the question is not :who plays in this film?but rather who DOESN'T?)They're all here from Jean Marais to Micheline Presles,from Bourvil to Charles Vanel.And if it were not enough,there's also Claudette Colbert as Madame de Montespan and an unrecognizable Orson Welles as Benjamin Franklin.To top it all,famous French chanteuse Edith Piaf sings "ah!ça ira! ça ira!"the revolutionary hymn,perched on the gates of Versailles.And Brigitte Bardot in a cameo(watch out!).

"Si Versailles m'était conté" is an exquisite blend of footnotes of history,sound and light show and theatre de boulevard.At first sight it could be an accumulation of clichés,scenes of traditional royal life as depicted in (not so very)old History books for grade schools .But further acquaintance shows this:Guitry ,with his Madame Tussaud-like characters transcends these clichés with gusto,wit and humor,sometimes à la Billy Wilder.There are lots of tongue-in -cheek dialogues,puns,anachronisms and students jokes.

Sometimes the film verges on absurd humor:gathering Louis XVI,Marie-Antoinette,Robespierre,Chénier the poet,and scientist Lavoisier in the first days of the revolution ,Guitry makes them talk about death penalty."I wouldn't like to die on the scaffold" the king says "neither would I"all his mates answer.A voice over -there's probably the biggest use of voice-over in the history of cinema in this movie- concludes:"And yet,everybody would put his head on the guillotine!".The chevalier d'Eon scene predates "some like it hot" last sequence by five years!Yes it does!

Masterfully constructed,the film ends with an auction sale,and no less than three "please remember the guide " visits!

Comic is sometimes tinged with sadness and a certain nostalgia:Louis the Fourteenth's old age echoes that of the director -who plays the part of the old king-,and the scenes with Madame de Maintenon provide the negative of the bright Montespan era.

Forget history,don't be a highbrow,and you'll enjoy "Si Versailles m'était conté"!


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