7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Poisons and black masses.
16 August 2003
Before the cast and credits ,a warning appears on the screen,insisting
that the movie was made from M. De La Reynie 's archives,and another
"cultural" insert comes back at the end of the movie.
History is given a rough ride though:in the movie,Mademoiselle de
Fontanges is poisoned by Madame de Montespan.But now,let's see what a
modern historian,Mrs Simone Bertière ,writes in her recent book"les
femmes du roi soleil":the autopsy proved that the unfortunate Angélique
did not need any poison to go to her grave :she had TB!Then to sweeten
the screenplay,Madame de Montespan is asked to leave the court after
the affair;this is untrue:although in disgrace ,she lived in Versailles
for more than ten years afterward.The king could not chase her out of
his court:he would have admitted she was guilty.Opinions differ about
Madame de Montespan's culpability:historian Simone Bertière does not
rule out the fact that the marquise was fond of magic potions and
fortune-tellers ,but she does not think she might have taken part in
one of those carnivalesque black masses.
Henri Decoin 's metier was film noir.And the poisons affair was tailor
made for him:it's really a film noir in costume.He gathered a perfect
cast:his favorite actress,Danielle Darrieux,as Montespan,Vivianne
Romance ,who played bitch parts in Duvivier's works (panique,la belle
équipe),as La Voisin,Paul Meurisse (who had just made Clouzot's "les
diaboliques:it was an extraordinary choice),Anne Vernon as La
Desoeillets,LA Montespan's tool.He created a misty demonic
atmosphere,using skillful lights.Oddly ,King Louis XIV is only a
figure. Shot in color,at a time when only a few French movies were,it
has a passé charm,that of yellowed photos.
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