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Beaumarchais the Scoundrel (1996)

Beaumarchais l'insolent (original title)
The life story of the titular Beaumarchais (Fabrice Luchini), playwright and adventurer, who gets himself into numerous different scrapes and romantic encounters in 18th Century France.

Director:

Édouard Molinaro

Writers:

Sacha Guitry (inspired: Librement inspiré de l'oeuvre inédite de), Édouard Molinaro (scenario, adaptation and dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fabrice Luchini ... Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
Sandrine Kiberlain ... Marie-Thérèse
Manuel Blanc ... Gudin
Michel Aumont ... Baron de Breteuil
Jean-François Balmer ... Sartine
Jean-Claude Brialy ... Abbot
Patrick Bouchitey ... Monsieur Lejay
Evelyne Bouix Evelyne Bouix ... Madame Vigee Lebrun
Isabelle Carré ... Rosine
José Garcia ... Figaro
Alain Chabat ... Le courtisan à Versailles
Pierre Gérard Pierre Gérard ... Comte de Provence
Judith Godrèche ... Marie-Antoinette (as Judith Godreche)
Murray Head ... Lord Rochford
Axelle Laffont Axelle Laffont ... Mariette Lejay
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Storyline

The life story of the titular Beaumarchais (Fabrice Luchini), playwright and adventurer, who gets himself into numerous different scrapes and romantic encounters in 18th Century France. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A most remarkable true story of love affairs, scandals and espionage.


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

17 October 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beaumarchais the Scoundrel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

FRF 95,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,216, 26 October 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$630,269, 14 December 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Daniel Auteuil was first considered for the title role. See more »

Quotes

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais: By "we", I mean France.
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User Reviews

 
Where is the Sacha Guitry wit?
1 July 2010 | by benoit-3See all my reviews

It's easy to understand why Guitry would write a play about Beaumarchais, a man of action, a wit and a man of the theatre he would have obviously admired. What is not as clear is how much of his original intention was wasted in this dreary production. The characters are charmless, witless and move in and out much too quickly for any of the cameo players to make any distinct impression.

Worst of all, the actors give in to the worst temptation they could have felt, which is to play in an unconvincing pedantic, precious and yet anachronistic manner, something Guitry would never have allowed in one of his plays. The worst offender is Fabrice Luchini, who doesn't look anything like the original Beaumarchais and has to be most prissy and effeminate heterosexual alive today. His "moues", "oeillades", "plissements de lèvres", egg-sucking and neck-twisting mannerisms succeed in nothing more than a rather good impression of Eric Idle playing an upper-class frump in drag.

The script doesn't spend a single minute pondering the gravity of the title character's situation as the man who wrote the play that arguably brought about the French Revolution. His motivation is never explained apart from the fact that he was left holding the bag of the expenses he incurred helping the American Revolution. In that sense, the film is extremely superficial and potentially libellous.

Its only qualities lie in its original locations (including creaky floors that should have been corrected with a little Foley work), its magnificent score by Jean-Claude Petit (Cyrano de Bergerac, 1990) and its costumes. It is unfortunate that the latter most often end up wearing the players rather than the other way around.

In short, this film is a discredit to both Beaumarchais and Guitry.


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