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The Affair of the Necklace (2001)

In pre-Revolutionary France, a young aristocratic woman left penniless by the political unrest in the country, must avenge her family's fall from grace by scheming to steal a priceless necklace.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Minister of Titles
Monsieur Bassenge
Frank McCusker ...
Abel Duphot
Simon Shackleton ...
Hermione Gulliford ...
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
President D'Aligre


Paris, 1786: a woman in court. The Crown murdered her father for his views about the poor, now Jeanne wants her home and good name back. She believes all can be set right if she can talk to the Queen, whose House Minister rebuffs her. With the help of a courtside gigolo, she learns to use what others desire to get what she wants. She needs a patron: with forged letters, she convinces Cardinal de Rohan she is the Queen's confidante and can help him regain royal favor. Jeanne conspires to have the Cardinal purchase a fabulous diamond necklace for the Queen. He delivers it to Jeanne for Marie Antoinette. If the scheme breaks down, what then? Might this affair spark revolution? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

queen | woman | necklace | france | desire | See All (158) »


Her Birthright Was Stolen. Her Dignity Taken. Her Rights Denied. Deception Was The Only Option. See more »


Drama | History | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 December 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Farlig intrig  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$125,523 (USA) (30 November 2001)


$430,313 (USA) (11 January 2002)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Hilary Swank, Christopher Walken, and Adrien Brody. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Napoleon wrote that military blunders and domestic catastrophes fanned the flames of the French Revolution. But the cu-de-gras was a curious palace scandal involving woman of nobility denied, a member of the royal family, and the most magnificent string of jewels in all of Europe. This notorious intrigue came to be known as, L'affaire du Collier.
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Referenced in The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards (2009) See more »


Turkish Lute
Written by Francis Fumiere
Courtesy of Promusic, Inc.
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User Reviews

A well known tale ...and a redeemed Comtesse de la Motte!
28 April 2004 | by See all my reviews

This storylike true story had already been filmed by Marcel Lherbier in 1946,with Vivianne Romance -famous for her bitchy parts-,a more than adequate comtesse de la Motte.

This is the first mistake of this "remake":Hilary Swank portrays a genuine heroine,whose properties have been stolen by an unfair monarchy,whose father was some kind of Robin Hood who protected the poor against the cruelty of times.She appears most of the time as a victim,a noble adventuress,with a romantic love affair with her sidekick,but it's the ending in London that takes the biscuit,when she reads her memoirs to old posh sobbing ladies "oh poor thing!oh poor dear!" Les "memoires de madame de la Motte" -which were published in France during the revolution are obnoxious,trash stuff..Historian Jean Chalon quotes this line in that notorious book "the voluptuous princess -she's speaking of Marie-Antoinette- was waiting for me in her bed ,and I must say she took advantage of her husband's absence..."Actually Marie-Antoinette never met madame de la Motte and the scene under the snow when the queen accuses la comtesse of ruining the monarchy is pure fiction.

The scenarists are as naive as the cardinal de Rohan,and as the people of Paris in 1786,who thought Madame de la Motte's punishment was unfair.La Motte wouldn't stay long in la Salpetriere anyway,and some say she was helped to escape.As for cardinal de Rohan ,he was far from being a saint,but he was naiveté itself.how could he believe that Marie Antoinette ,who had always despised her and never spoke to him,could use him as an emissary?

The film is entertaining and a lot of scenes are more historically accurate -such as the grove of Venus and the trial:that's was the queen's mistake:the king did not need the parlament to judge somebody-. Walken is ideally cast as comte de Cagliostro ,as Brody as Nicolas de la Motte.But the Queen's execution (1793) comes at the most awkward moment ,and La Motte was dead (in 1791) when it occurred anyway.The scenarists suggest her death might have been a crime :never an earnest French historian made a hint at that.At the time,the royal family had more important problems to solve .

The scenarists say that the affair of the necklace was the direct cause for the French revolution,which is a narrow-minded view.It might have been the straw that broke the camel's back but the reasons were much more complex and the students should take a better look at it.

The movie does not tell that after his exile,Rohan was restored to favor during the revolution ,became part of the Etats-Généraux" in 1789 ,and died in Germany in 1803,the last of the dramatis personae

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