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The Eagle with Two Heads (1948)

L'aigle à deux têtes (original title)
Political intrigue and psychological drama run parallel. The queen is in seclusion, veiling her face for the ten years since her husband's assassination, longing to join him in death. ... See full summary »


Jean Cocteau


Jean Cocteau
2 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Edwige Feuillère ... Natasha, la Reine
Silvia Monfort Silvia Monfort ... Édith de Berg (as Sylvia Monfort)
Jean Marais ... Stanislas
Jean Debucourt ... Felix de Willenstein
Jacques Varennes ... Comte de Foehn
Ahmed Abdallah Ahmed Abdallah ... Toni
Gilles Quéant Gilles Quéant ... Rudy
Maurice Nasil Maurice Nasil ... Gentz
W. Edward Stirling W. Edward Stirling ... Adams (as Edward Stirling)
Yvonne de Bray ... La présidente


Political intrigue and psychological drama run parallel. The queen is in seclusion, veiling her face for the ten years since her husband's assassination, longing to join him in death. Stanislas, a poet whose pen name is Azrael, is a suicidal anarchist, his imagination haunted into hate by longing for this queen who's drawn apart. He enters her private quarters intent on killing her then himself, but they fall in love, in part because he looks like the king. Stanislas wants her to regain political power by appearing to the public, and she tries to convince him to find hope and escape. All the while, the queen's enemies plot to keep the lovers together but to thwart their plans. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Plot Keywords:

anarchy | number in title | See All (2) »




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Did You Know?


Has the longest monologue in a dramatic film. Edwige Feuillère (Natasha) gives a 20-minute speech. See more »


Referenced in Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (1989) See more »

User Reviews

An isolated empress deals with the surprise visit of an anarchist intent on assassinating her.
14 February 2020 | by clanciaiSee all my reviews

No matter what you may think of this meticulously over-burdened drama inspired by the personality and fate of the empress Elizabeth of Austria in the 19th century, and set in the romantic environment of her world (like the 'Sissi' films with Romy Schneider), the idea here is ingenious. The empress has been in mourning since ten years after her husband was assassinated, and she lives only for continuing to grieve for him while she never appears in public any more except concealed by a veil, when one night, as she is going to celebrate his memory with a lonesome supper in the company of his imagined ghost, an anarchist breaks in to her castle on a mission to assassinate her, but he is badly wounded. The strange thing is that he looks exactly like her martyred husband. That is the spring of this tale.

The music is fantastic (composed by George Auric), and the most impressing scene is when she gives a ball with grand festive music for all the society, while the anarchist makes his surprise visit in her private quarters, while the ball goes booming on, and his failed mission turns into a drama. The settings are also marvellous with sumptuous decorations and great flamboyant cinematography, while also the dialogue throughout the film is extremely intensive and over-loaded. The drama is by Jean Cocteau himself, and it is a good example of filmed theatre, while at the same time he consistently sticks to perfect realism - all this could have happened. There is much of the Mayerling atmosphere here. The films is perhaps a bit too long, the subplot of the intrigues by the chief of security police goes maybe at bit too far and feels rather unnecessary, while the main theme could have been made more and better of. Anyway, it's a marvellously interesting film for its creative imagination and typically Cocteauan great innovative spirit.

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Release Date:

18 December 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Eagle Has Two Heads See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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