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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
Handsome, little heralded historical romance has its virtues...
DIANE is probably the least well-known of all LANA TURNER's "big" pictures at MGM--the studio which ironically was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time of this film, but you'd never know it from the opulence of the finished work in gorgeous Technicolor and featuring one of Miklos Rozsa's more subtle scores.
It's interesting for a couple of reasons: mainly, because it appears to be a faithful recreation of that period in costumes and settings, features ROGER MOORE (youthful and handsome before his James Bond adventures), and gives LANA TURNER and MARISA PAVAN some very interesting moments as they oppose each other in a number of well played scenes.
Other than that, it's a stilted costume romance that never quite comes to life despite all the efforts to give it handsome production values. That explains its obscurity among Lana's films. The lady herself is very fetching here, beautifully costumed (mostly in black), thanks to Walter Plunkett's designs, and attractively photographed for maximum glamor effect.
But part of the unreality comes from the excessive glamor given to Turner. Despite this flaw, she does turn in a good performance as Diane de Poitiers, courtesan who stirs envy in the king's wife and is the subject of much court intrigue in medieval France.
Neglected by today's viewers who probably have never had a chance to see it, it deserves a wider audience.
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