A history of the French Revolution from the decision of the king to convene the Etats-Generaux in 1789 in order to deal with France's debt problem. The first part of the movie tells the ... See full summary »
Richard T. Heffron
Klaus Maria Brandauer,
A witty journey through the history of Paris told to a group of students by Sacha Guitry, from its foundation at the time of Caesar to 1955. Among others you will meet King Charles VII ... See full summary »
The retelling of France's iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen and ultimately the fall of Versailles.
The only way this film can be seen in North-America is, occasionally, on the French-Canadian TV stations, in Quebec and Ontario. It has several advantages over the 1938 Norma Shearer version: It is made by the French; it is more historically - one could say maniacally - accurate in its sequencing of events; it is more intimate, concentrating on Marie's love affair with Fersen without skimping on the recreation of every important watershed in the Revolution; it uses actual locations (Versailles, Trianon, le Hameau and the Tuileries); it is in colour; it has very gripping and unforgettable moments of suspense; and it stars Michèle Morgan, one the most beautiful and naturally aristocratic women on the planet and also a very touching actress. The film excels in discretely recreating the actual look and feel of Marie Antoinette's world (such as her pastoral distractions, the formality of court life and the detailed horror of her treatment by the Revolution). In a cast of hundreds of top-notch actors, English import (and Disney favourite) Richard Todd does a marvelous job as Fersen, besides being a dead-ringer for the real man and having his English accent approximate the original's Swedish accent. The music, art direction, photography and film direction are excellent. The entire package is very well-made with no expense spared even if it runs just a tad too long for the average viewer. But its message, its attention to detail, its story arc and poetry are clear and astounding. One has to wonder what copyright problem can actually bar this masterpiece from rebirth on DVD. To my knowledge it has never been available on VHS, except as a made-from-TV bootleg. (I have one and I'm not trading!) It is actually sad to think that its DVD issue could be tied in with Sofia Coppola's version, which already promises to be the ultimate infantilized and dumbed-down rock-and-roll version...
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