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The King of Piedmont is introduced to Jeanne, the beautiful young wife of one of his courtiers, with whom he falls madly in love the moment he sets eyes on her. Jeanne, very much in love with her own husband and wishing to be faithful to him, is disturbed by the king's advances and resists him. The king is obsessed with his desire for her and neglects his duties and his kingdom, until the entire court, including his wife and even Jeanne's own husband and his family, put pressure on Jeanne to give in to the king's wishes and become his mistress in order to save the king and the country. When her husband tells her it is her duty to serve the king and give in to his wishes, she goes to the king, but makes it very clear that she despises him and doesn't return his love for her. The king's passion for Jeanne never subsides and eventually goes so far that he loses a war when he returns home to nurse her through a near fatal illness instead of remaining with his troops and leading them in ...
I enjoyed this movie but it did fall short of the great film that it should have been. Main strengths were the stunning visual aspects and Timothy Dalton's mesmerising performance. Surely he has to be the most underrated actors of our time. His portrayal of psychological complexity in his characters in unmatched. Weak points are the jumpy plot, erratic editing (apparently a lot of scenes were cut) and lack of bodice ripping scenes. There is plenty of emotion but the steaminess is mostly implied. Still worth seeing, particularly for Dalton fans or for lovers of historical costume drama.
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