In 1848 NYC, a Frenchwoman visits exiled former French Marshal Thevenet to ask for his financial help in behalf of his French grandson but Thevenet's house staff schemes to kill him and take his fortune.
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In 1848, a young Frenchwoman, Madeline Minot, goes to New York City to see Thevenet, the grandfather of her fiance. Thevenet had been with Napoleon and may be sympathetic to the political aims of his grandson. She finds the old man in very bad spirits, living in a large house with a housekeeper and a butler who are just waiting for him to die (and perhaps helping him along a bit) so they can inherit his fortune. They see Madeline as a threat to their plans. She is aided in her dealings with these strange people by a mysterious man in a cloak.Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
After the first meeting with Madeleine, Charles Theverner addresses his pet raven named Villon, after the French poet François Villon, and quotes from Villon's "Ballade des dames du temps jadis" ("Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past"): "Où sont les neiges d'antant?" ("Oh, where are the snows of yesteryear!"). Later, Dupin quotes the same Ballad in English. He also reads from the book a few lines of Edgar Poe's "The Raven." See more »
Some men leave goodwill. Others just a will.
There are even some that leave two wills.
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A curious film hampered by an overwritten and stagy script, Man With a Cloak starts off looking like it might deserve to be as forgotten as it apparently is. However it recovers nicely when we see its plot unfold. Joseph Cotten plays Dupin, an intellectual, fond of drinking, but without a steady income, who spends much of his time in the local establishment owned by the kindly yet pragmatic Flaherty (Jim Backus). The young French woman Madeline Minot (Leslie Caron) arrives in New York from France with a letter of introduction from her fiancée, now manning the barricades in Paris, to his grandfather, the wealthy but dying Charles Therverner (Louis Calhern) who must spend his last days surrounded by the avaricious staff of the house, who impatiently await his death, in the vain hope that they will somehow get his money. Barbara Stanwick, as the head of the house, and Joe De Santis as the brutish and menacing butler, along with Margaret Wycherly as the housekeeper, have waited years for the old man to die, and are now confronted with the arrival of Madeline Minot, who is also seeking the old man's fortune although for the altruistic purpose of aiding the establishment of a republic in France. While the dialog tends towards the verbose, the story maintains your interest, especially the unlikely romance of sorts between Stanwick and De Santis, a romance based not on any mutual attraction, but on their shameless complicity in hastening along the dying process. Cotten, as Dupin, manages to come between them and in the process infuriates the butler though his anger is played with taut control by De Santis, whose performance is memorable. All in all, it is one of those films, that if you can catch it on TCM, is definitely worth watching.
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