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The Case of Poisons (1955)

L'affaire des poisons (original title)
Madame de Montespan, the Maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XIV, has been in disgrace since the King set eyes on a younger beauty, Marie-Angélique Scorailles. Having had enough of the situation, ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (dialogue) | 3 more credits »
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Director: Henri Decoin
Stars: Danielle Darrieux, Michel Auclair, Corinne Calvet
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Françoise Athénaïs de Montespan
... Catherine Deshayes dite La Voisin
... L'abbé Etienne Guibourg
... Hermine Des Oeillets
... Le capitaine François Desgrez
François Patrice ... Monsieur de Lignières
... Marie-Angélique de Fontanges (as Christine Carrère)
Roldano Lupi ... L'alchimiste Lesage
... Le bourreau Guillaume
Luisa Rossi ... Madame Gobet
Renaud Mary ... Henri de Montespan
Maurice Teynac ... Nicolas de la Reynie
Pierre Allan
... L'aveugle (as Armontel)
Florence Arnaud
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Storyline

Madame de Montespan, the Maîtresse-en-titre of Louis XIV, has been in disgrace since the King set eyes on a younger beauty, Marie-Angélique Scorailles. Having had enough of the situation, the rejected mistress decides to visit La Voisin, a woman known as a fortune teller, a doctor, a midwife and who is also said to arrange black masses and sell poisons. Some time later Marie-Angélique, now Duchess of Fontanges, dies mysteriously aged only twenty... Written by Guy Bellinger

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france | 1600s | See All (2) »

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Crime | Drama | History

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Release Date:

4 November 1955 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Hangman and the Witch  »

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(Technicolor)

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1.37 : 1
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Poisons and black masses.
16 August 2003 | by See all my reviews

Before the cast and credits ,a warning appears on the screen,insisting that the movie was made from M. De La Reynie 's archives,and another "cultural" insert comes back at the end of the movie.

History is given a rough ride though:in the movie,Mademoiselle de Fontanges is poisoned by Madame de Montespan.But now,let's see what a modern historian,Mrs Simone Bertière ,writes in her recent book"les femmes du roi soleil":the autopsy proved that the unfortunate Angélique did not need any poison to go to her grave :she had TB!Then to sweeten the screenplay,Madame de Montespan is asked to leave the court after the affair;this is untrue:although in disgrace ,she lived in Versailles for more than ten years afterward.The king could not chase her out of

his court:he would have admitted she was guilty.Opinions differ about Madame de Montespan's culpability:historian Simone Bertière does not rule out the fact that the marquise was fond of magic potions and fortune-tellers ,but she does not think she might have taken part in one of those carnivalesque black masses.

Henri Decoin 's metier was film noir.And the poisons affair was tailor made for him:it's really a film noir in costume.He gathered a perfect cast:his favorite actress,Danielle Darrieux,as Montespan,Vivianne Romance ,who played bitch parts in Duvivier's works (panique,la belle équipe),as La Voisin,Paul Meurisse (who had just made Clouzot's "les diaboliques:it was an extraordinary choice),Anne Vernon as La Desoeillets,LA Montespan's tool.He created a misty demonic atmosphere,using skillful lights.Oddly ,King Louis XIV is only a figure. Shot in color,at a time when only a few French movies were,it has a passé charm,that of yellowed photos.


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