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Passion (1919)

Madame DuBarry (original title)
Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Romance | December 1920 (USA)
The story of Madame DuBarry, the mistress of Louis XV of France, and her loves in the time of the French revolution.

Director:

Ernst Lubitsch

Writers:

Norbert Falk (as Fred Orbing), Hanns Kräly
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pola Negri ... Jeanne Vaubernier - later Madame Dubarry
Emil Jannings ... König Louis XV
Harry Liedtke ... Armand De Foix
Eduard von Winterstein Eduard von Winterstein ... Graf Jean Dubarry
Reinhold Schünzel ... Minister Choiseul
Else Berna Else Berna ... Graefin Gramont
Fred Immler Fred Immler ... Richelieu
Gustav Czimeg Gustav Czimeg ... Aiguillon
Karl Platen Karl Platen ... Guillaume Dubarry
Bernhard Goetzke ... Revolutionär
Magnus Stifter Magnus Stifter ... Don Diego
Paul Biensfeldt Paul Biensfeldt ... Lebel
Willy Kaiser-Heyl Willy Kaiser-Heyl ... Oberst der Wache
Alexander Ekert Alexander Ekert ... Paillet (as Alexander Eckert)
Robert Sortsch-Pla Robert Sortsch-Pla
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Storyline

The story of Madame DuBarry, the mistress of Louis XV of France, and her loves in the time of the French revolution.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The meteoric rise and fall of a winsome little French milliner who reaches the zenith of her glory as the ruler of a king and finally arrives at her lowest ebb in the shadow of the hatred of millions of people who had come to regard her as a "vicious creature in skirts." (Print Ad- Newburgh News, ((Newburgh, NY)) 1 September 1927) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although never shown in the film, Jeanne was illegitimate and possibly the daughter of her local priest. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood (1995) See more »

User Reviews

 
The fall of Becu and the rise of Lubitsch
28 August 2016 | by OtobokeSee all my reviews

The Ernst Lubitsch "touch" as it would later be known, was altogether little-known back in 1919 and for the curious looking back into the director's repertoire, Madame DuBarry is often seen a historical curiosity rather than a signpost to later greatness. It is my opinion however that this widely-regarded stance on Lubitsch's first major motion picture has just as much to do with the quality of prints available as it does with the feature's tendency to lean on drama more than comedy. Having recently viewed Eureka's newly- released blu-ray featuring a crisp new print backed up by a dynamic score by William Axt, it's clear that although "the touch" is notably lighter (or darker) than Lubitsch would employ in his films later on in his long career, there remain many scenes during the film's first hour where the director plays with his characters and plot in a manner which explicitly seek to extract laughs rather than varying degrees of pathos.

Writers Norbert Falk and Hanns Kraly tell the infamous story of Jeanne Becu, her rise to power's easily-swayed side, and in the end her ultimate fate at the hands of the Reign of Terror. Although they play loose and casually with the real events that the film is based upon, the writers do well in keeping key points together whilst telling a compelling character drama. Historians may well cry humbug, but the story is gripping, amusing and enlightening in spite of its inaccuracies. Lubitsch himself directs the script's calling for epic moments of drama well, though instils just enough humour and light-heartedness to break it up so as to not become overbearing. Lead star Pola Negri establishes herself in a seminal role here, and often makes a lot out of very little. Also of note is Emil Jannings as King Louis XV, Harry Liedtke as Armand De Foix and Reinhold Schünzel as Minister Choiseul who make scenes devoid of Negri as compelling as possible, even though the ham can get a little chewy at times.

This was my first time viewing Madame DuBarry so have no real reference point to other prints of the film other than having history with other silent-era movies with some terrible public- domain versions which never really do the films any justice and at times render them incomprehensible. It's for this reason that I thoroughly recommend viewing the film on Eureka's blu-ray if you have a means to do so. Not just because the image quality is outstanding, but also largely in part for Axt's score which complements the on-screen action superbly. It might not be as light and airy as Lubitsch fans would hope for going this far back, but there's still plenty here to enjoy and strikes a nice balance between lush historical-costume drama and darkly- amusing character piece.


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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

None | German

Release Date:

December 1920 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Madame DuBarry See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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