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Vittorio De Sica
In the Kingdom of France from 1640 is the old with his body ailing Cardinal Richelieu, powerful man under Louis XIII, faced with the machinations of his tipped designated successor, the Marquis de Cinq-Mars.
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A sickly king Louis XI, finds himself at the end of his life in a terrible dilemma. His son, Charles, the Dauphin, and male heir to the throne is too young to be legally his successor. Tradition dictates a regent is appointed until he is old enough to assume his role. By all indications, that man should be none other than his son-in-law, Louis, married to his daughter, Jeanne.
As the story begins, king Louis learns from his loyal Guillaume of the arrival of an enigmatic young man whose sole purpose to visit is to warn the monarch about the duplicity of the man supposed to be appointed as regent. What is more, this messenger tells the king of a plot to kill him in the meeting with the heads of the different states under his reign.
King Louis has a great ally in his other daughter, Anne. This woman had been in love with her now brother-in-law. Louis outsmarts all the lords in he group that wanted his death. In a bold movement, Louis does something unheard of, he appoints Anne and her husband to be the regents as he proclaims hi son to be king of France.
Henri Helman directed and co-wrote the material for this historical film. Louis XI had to fight against conspirators that plotted against his life and legacy because they perceived him as weakening because of his age and his illness. The monarch showed he was shrewder than his sworn enemies, dealing them a mortal blow to their expectations.
Jacques Perrin is magnificent as Louis XI. His performance is the glue that binds this excellent production together. M. Perrin gives a nuanced rendition of the ruler besieged by problems as his illness was weakening him. Florence Pernel is fine as Anne, the loyal daughter. Gael Bona, Bruno DeBrandt, and Jean-Pierre Malo contributed to hold one's interest in the drama, which was photographed by Bernard Malaisy in locations that enhance the drama.
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