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Marie Antoinette (1938)

Passed | | Biography, Drama, History | 26 August 1938 (USA)
The tragic life of Marie Antoinette, who became queen of France in her late teens.

Directors:

W.S. Van Dyke (as W.S. Van Dyke II), Julien Duvivier (uncredited)

Writers:

Claudine West (screen play), Donald Ogden Stewart (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Norma Shearer ... Marie Antoinette
Tyrone Power ... Count Axel de Fersen
John Barrymore ... King Louis XV
Robert Morley ... King Louis XVI
Anita Louise ... Princesse de Lamballe
Joseph Schildkraut ... Duke d'Orléans
Gladys George ... Mme. du Barry
Henry Stephenson ... Count de Mercey
Cora Witherspoon ... Countess de Noailles
Barnett Parker ... Prince de Rohan
Reginald Gardiner ... Comte d'Artois
Henry Daniell ... La Motte
Leonard Penn ... Toulan
Albert Dekker ... Comte de Provence (as Albert Van Dekker)
Alma Kruger ... Empress Maria Theresa
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Storyline

The life of Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) from betrothal and marriage in 1770 to her beheading. At first, she's a Hapsburg teenager isolated in France, living a virgin's life in the household of the Dauphin, a shy solitary man who would like to be a locksmith. Marie discovers high society, with the help of Orleans and her brothers-in-law. Her foolishness is at its height when she meets a Swedish count, Axel de Fersen. He helps her see her fecklessness. In the second half of the film, she avoids an annulment, becomes queen, bears children, and is a responsible ruler. The affair of the necklace and the general poverty of France feed revolution. She faces death with dignity. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 August 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

María Antonieta See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,926,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original road show print including entry, intermission and exit music)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM's recreation of the ballroom at Versailles was twice as large as the original. See more »

Goofs

When Marie and Louis first wedding anniversary is announced, the bells are heard change-ringing. This requires the bells to completely be rotated by a rope wound on a wheel, and was until the 19th century a strictly English way of ringing bells. The bells shown are swinging from trunnions, in the normal French manner. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Marie Antoinette: What can Mama want at this time of night? I was nearly asleep. Is it something I've done, do you think? What did she say? Did she look cross?
Mme. 'Feldy' de Lerchenfeld: Solemn, I thought.
Marie Antoinette: Oh, dear, what can it be? What have I done? She can't say much to me anyway. I'm a grown woman.
See more »

Alternate Versions

"Unrestored" film has now been restored and is available on DVD. When the film played the Carthay Circle in Los Angeles and the Astor Theatre in New York as a reserved seat "road show" attraction, the print ran eleven minutes longer than the generally available 149 minute Turner Library print. These eleven minutes contained an overture, entr'acte, and exit music, with an intermission immediately following Antoinette's emotional farewell to Fersen on the steps of Versailles. These remnants of the "road show" presentation have now been restored to the new Warner Bros. Home Video DVD, which runs a little over 157 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Dance of the Furies
(uncredited)
from "Orpheus and Euridice" (1762)
Written by Christoph Willibald Gluck
[Heard as background score during the masked ball sequence.]
See more »

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User Reviews

Empathy defined
20 January 2003 | by ayokumSee all my reviews

It never ceases to amaze me at how completely I might be suddenly drawn into the emotional moment of a film by the power of the actor. Usually the strongest ones come suddenly, and without warning, giving you no time to put up defenses. Brando's eruptions of moods when talking to his dead wife in Last Tango in Paris is probably the most dramatic example of this. (His greatest scene ever, that I have witnessed) But before that, Norma Shearer's panic and utter emotional breakdown when the guards come to take her son from her in the prison, is overwhelming and complete. Anyone who is not genuinely moved to the core by this incredible performance, either sleeps or does not possess those human sensitivities that are torn by the loss of a child. For it is not sympathy that is evoked, but an empathy called forth by the raw, human agony of the suffering before you. Years later when I visited the actual site in Paris where that tragedy would have taken place, I experienced a time of respect and reflection such as I have never had in any other place in the world that I have visited.

This is one of the truly great films. If you want to find out how deeply someone can feel, show it to them and observe. Norma Shearer set a standard I fear has been forgotten, as evidenced by the way tinsel town hands out awards today for mediocre work pushed onto the modern consciousness by glitzy ad campaigns and self-serving accolades.


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