La caméra explore le temps: Season 1, Episode 7

La mort de Marie-Antoinette (19 Oct. 1958)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Alain Saury ...
Louis Arbessier ...
Patrick Roussef ...
Annie Ducaux ...
Jean Bertho ...
Manouchka ...
Philippe Mareuil ...
Émile Genevois ...
Alain Nobis ...
François Maistre ...
Claude Richard ...
Le greffier
François Chaumette ...
Raymond Pélissier ...


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Release Date:

19 October 1958 (France)  »

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I'm appealing to all the mothers.
21 September 2014 | by See all my reviews

A well known moment of French history which was often transferred to the screen,often in a Hollywoodian way (remember the 1937 van Dyke movie in which the queen met Fersen in her dungeon!).

"La Camera Explore Le Temps" is a collaboration between two very popular historians ,Alain Decaux and André Castelot ,and a director,Stello Lorenzi ;they were able ,even in 1958 ,to give a fly-on-the-wall account of the last days of the unfortunate "Autrichienne" as the French named her ,adding insult to injury.All the lines you hear in the movie are based on historical documents ,some of them went down in history:"nothing can hurt me now" "I'm appealing to all the mothers" and many more ,including the last letter Marie-Antoinette sent to her sister-in-law ,which is read by the actress in voice-over as she 's walking to the tumbrel.The execution is not shown.

That was the travesty of a trial:no evidences ,and the accused had never seen the "witnesses " before .Since,documents were found in the Austrian archives ,which proved that she communicated informations to France 's enemy .But ,at the time,nothing:that's why the prosecutors had to invent infamous details ,concerning the queen's son (whose fate was even more horrible than hers),much to Robespierre's disapproval.

Annie Ducaux ,De La Comédie Française ,portrays the frail fallen queen with dignity.Michel Bouquet is well cast as the ruthless Robespierre,whose purpose was to save the Republic:the Terror,which really began in those day was explainable by the plight of the country : enemies at the borders ,and enemies inside the country .He knew from the start that the queen had to die ,even if it were only to content the populace .The brilliant cast also includes François Maistre as Fouquier-Tainville and a Young Jean Rochefort as the accused's counsel.

The life in the Conciergerie dungeon is depicted down to the smallest detail :the queen's "tapestry" ,the little kind-hearted Rosalie Lamorinière,the two gendarmes playing cards and never leaving their prisoner .Nothing like serialized novel,the "carnation conspiracy " did really happen and failed because an accomplice chickened out.

To be recommended to people interested in accurate French history.

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