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The Case of Poisons More at IMDbPro »L'affaire des poisons (original title)

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Poisons and black masses.

6/10
Author: dbdumonteil
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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