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Terry O. Morse
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Diane de Poitiers is in a childless marriage with count de Breze. When he is charged with treason, Diane visits king Francis I to successfully plead for her husband's life, something that start a rumor that she has offered her own services in return. Her husband reject her, leading Francis to ask her to come to the royal court to teach prince Henry how to be a gentleman. The prince and Diane fall in love and she becomes the prince's mistress, something that makes his wife Catherine de Medici her enemy. When the prince becomes the king of France, Diane is wielding considerable influence over him. Written by
A big costume drama of medieval France was Lana Turner's farewell to MGM with her leading man Roger Moore. One has to remember that this is based on a historical novel so the inaccuracies are to be expected.
The biggest inaccuracy was that young Prince Henry played here by Roger Moore was only 15 when he was introduced to Diane De Poitiers a married noblewoman to a man some 40 years her senior. Young Prince Henry may have needed some tutoring in the fine arts of court etiquette, but it was obvious Diane had some needs as well and Henry did fill them.
Roger Moore fine actor that he is, is not playing a 15 year old. Lana Turner plays the older Diane and she's fine in the role. Marisa Pavan is best in the film as Catherine DeMedici who marries Prince Henry and has a lot of kids among them three boys who become Kings of France, the last Valois kings as it happens. Pavan perfectly fits my conception of Catherine in her younger years. Pedro Armendariz is fine Francis I.
As is well known in 1559 King Henry II of France dies when he's accidentally struck with a lance in the eye. He lingered for a few days but his wound was mortal and he was in agony. The film and no doubt the book it was based on have a lot of intrigue and the idea being this was no accident.
You're not seeing history, you are watching a romance novel. But it was a decent farewell for Lana Turner. And if the story is ever remade today it would be something like Justin Bieber as Henry and Demi Moore as Diane.
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