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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Marie Antoinette (1956)

The Queen of France (Michele Morgan) embarks on a (mostly) platonic romance with a Swedish Count (Richard Todd) while married to King Louis XVI (Jacques Morel). Incredibly dull. At its two hour running time, it seems more bloated than the 1938 MGM 2 1/2 roadshow with Norma Shearer as the Queen and Tyrone Power as her Swedish lover. It looks quite handsome with Pierre Montazel's Technicolor cinematography, Rene Renoux's luxurious production design and George K. Benda's sumptuous costume design but it's a tedious affair. Morgan still had her looks but she's far too old at this stage of her career to have played the young Queen. To the film's credit, it doesn't attempt a revisionist portrait of Marie Antoinette. She's more or less portrayed as a self centered, pleasure loving aristocrat more interested in new gowns than the welfare of her citizens. But how are we to sympathize with such a creature? The romance between the Queen and the Swede doesn't give off any sparks so we don't even get the pleasure of an old fashioned movie romance. Directed by Jean Delannoy. With Michel Piccoli, Jacques Bergerac and Marina Berti.  

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