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Lafayette (1961)
"La Fayette" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  10 April 1963 (USA)
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At 13 years old, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert Motier inherited from his parents a long name, a fortune bigger then that, and the title of Marquis de La Fayette. Barely past majority,... See full summary »



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Title: Lafayette (1961)

Lafayette (1961) on IMDb 6.2/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pascale Audret ...
Adrienne de La Fayette
Michel Le Royer ...
Folco Lulli ...
Le Boursier
Baron Kalb
Silas Deane
Georges Rivière ...
Comtesse de Simiane
Howard St. John ...
Jacques Castelot ...
Duc d'Ayen
Jean-Roger Caussimon ...
Jean-Jacques Delbo ...


At 13 years old, Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert Motier inherited from his parents a long name, a fortune bigger then that, and the title of Marquis de La Fayette. Barely past majority, he was a brilliant lieutenant and a King Musketeer, and married Adrienne, second daughter of the Duke of Ayen. Educated in the new ideas about religion, science, and humankind, supported by his lovely wife but against his conservative family, he became involved in politics, favouring the faction of Queen Marie Antoinette against that of the King Louis XVI. Therefore, in 1776, he was ready to offer much needed help when Silas Dean, a secret agent from the thirteen Rebel states, contacted him in Paris. In 1784, after years of political and logistical preparation, La Fayette freighted a ship to America, with a handful of men and much needed weapons and money. He became Washington's best friend, taught some military discipline and tactics to the voluntary Rebels, and fought battles alongside them ... Written by Artemis-9

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Release Date:

10 April 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lafayette  »

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Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


Involving 300 actors, 50,000 extras, and 5,000 horsemen, including a number of battle scenes and naval action, it was the most expensive film made until then. See more »

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User Reviews

I'm the marquis de Lafayette !
30 April 2003 | by See all my reviews

..or La Fayette ,the French spelling.The first thing to bear in mind is that ,at the time,it was the biggest budget France had ever spent for a movie:hence the cast which includes Orson Welles as Franklin -a part he had already played in Sacha Guitry's "si Versailles m'était conté"-,Vittorio DeSica ,Jack Hawkins ,Edmund Purdom ,Liselotte Pulver;on the other hand,the French stars are not big names :Pascale Audret and Michel LeRoyer were far from being very famous compared with Bardot,Delon,Belmondo,Ventura or Moreau.Other assets were Claude Renoir's peerless cinematography and a lilting tuneful score .

But the harsh truth is that Dreville's epic is virtually forgotten in today's French collective memory:it has completely disappeared from dictionaries of films even the ones which feature the worst bombs though.And it's certainly unfair.Michel Dreville has never been an unrecognized genius as his earlier works testify:melodrama -the priceless weepie "la cage aux rossignols"-,biographies- "horizons sans fin" about female pilot Hélène Boucher-,Alexandre Dumas -the first version of "la reine Margot ,which ,despite of Jeanne Moreau ,is inferior to Chereau's remake with Isabelle Adjani.As for his comedies ("les sept péchés capitaux"," à pied ,à cheval ou en spoutnik" ),since we cannot say something nice.His best works are probably "copie conforme" ,thanks to Louis Jouvet, an actor so great any movie he makes cannot be bad,and this "Lafayette".

"Lafayette' is not really a biography for Lafayette's story is far from being over after his American adventure:he played a prominent part in the French revolution and even during the Restoration.Michel Le Royer is well cast as the lead:he has youth,panache and enthusiasm going for him and he's credible -it was a hard task because the marquis was barely twenty -:he embodies the end of the courtier,as Louis the Fourteenth wanted the noble to be:the scene with Monsieur ,the king's brother is revealing.Lafayette was ahead of his time, a visionary who had read the philosophers and who felt things were about to change:"now liberty has a home" he says ,on his way back to France.He could have added " and its home is not mine".

First part takes place in France ,after a short prologue which shows Brave New World's plight;the second one makes good use of the cinemascope for the battles scene.The dialogue is above average .Besides,the director displays respect for the audience :the American and English speak English -there are a lot of subtitles-,and the French French,which,at the time was not that much obvious.Even Lafayette tries his hand at English with a funny accent.And unlike "the patriot" ,in Dreville's movie,the English are not sadistic brutes and nasty executioners

Historians are going to say that,for instance, Marie -Antoinette and Lafayette ,were not as thick as thieves ,and that the queen called the New World hero "Monsieur Blondinet" (=fair-haired boy,meant pejoratively).These are minor quibbles."La fayette" is not a masterpiece,but it's pretty entertaining .

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