Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

4.6 5
Director: W.S. Van Dyke

Cast: Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power, John Barrymore

     
 

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M.G.M.'s opulent costume drama Marie Antoinette marked a return to the screen after a two-year absence for reigning Queen of M.G.M. Norma Shearer. Shearer plays the title role of an Austrian princess who is married off to Louis Auguste (Robert Morley), the Dauphin of France. Marie, by becoming the Dauphine, finds herself plopped smack in the middle of FrenchSee more details below

Overview

M.G.M.'s opulent costume drama Marie Antoinette marked a return to the screen after a two-year absence for reigning Queen of M.G.M. Norma Shearer. Shearer plays the title role of an Austrian princess who is married off to Louis Auguste (Robert Morley), the Dauphin of France. Marie, by becoming the Dauphine, finds herself plopped smack in the middle of French palace intrigue between Louis's father King Louis XV (John Barrymore) and his scheming cousin, the Duke of Orleans (Joseph Schildkraut). With Louis unable to consummate his marriage to Marie, she takes to holding elaborate parties and gambling her fortune away. In a casino, she meets the handsome Count Axel de Fersen (Tyrone Power) and they have an affair. But when Louis XV dies and Louis becomes King Louis XVI, Fersen takes his leave, telling her that he could carry on an affair with a dauphine but not the Queen of France. Marie vows to be a great queen and remain loyal to her king. But the Duke of Orleans is plotting against Louis XVI, financing the revolutionary radicals. When the monarchy is overthrown, Louis and Marie are thrown into prison, awaiting execution. But when word gets back to Fersen, he travels back to France in an attempt to rescue Marie.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
Stefan Zweig, on whose popular biography this opulent film was based, had great sympathy for the star-crossed Austrian princess who became queen of France mainly to stabilize relations between two crumbling empires. History has generally not been quite as kind although most sources agree on the lady's final acts of bravery. Noblesse, after all, oblige. Like Marie Antoinette, Norma Shearer was a dethroned queen of sorts, her diminutive, workaholic husband Irving Thalberg having for more than a decade been the true power behind the scenes at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. But Thalberg had died more than a year before production commenced in late December of 1937 and Marie Antoinette was really a final bequest to his widow, a bequest that not even Louis B. Mayer could refuse her. To say that Marie Antoinette is overproduced is merely to state the obvious; was the real Versailles ever really this splendid? But although hundreds of extras mill about ornate sets, the narrative itself remains a bit stuffy. They borrowed Tyrone Power from 20th Century-Fox to play the dashing Von Fersen -- dashing according to Zweig but a description not entirely supported by surviving portraits -- but he is really too young to fill out the character whether in romantic clinches with La Belle Antoinette or as her heroic, if hapless, would-be savior. When all is said and done, neither Shearer nor Power do justice to the age and its decadence. And how could they, existing as they are in a Hollywood Versailles where romance at all times takes precedence over politics. The historic final days of the Bourbons are probably better represented here by the supporting cast: John Barrymore's old roue Louis XV; Joseph Schildkraut's painted and decadent Orleans; Gladys George's scheming but slightly dense Du Barry; and last but far from least, Robert Morley's awkward but well-intentioned Dauphin. The latter's performance remains Marie Antoinette's true tour-de-force and it is one of those Hollywood conundrums that he should lose a best supporting acting Oscar© to Walter Brennan, who won that year for playing Walter Brennan in Kentucky.

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/27/2013
UPC:
0883316860212
Original Release:
1938
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Time:
2:37:00
Sales rank:
3,630

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Norma Shearer Marie Antoinette
Tyrone Power Count Axel de Fersen
John Barrymore Louis XV
Robert Morley Louis XVI
Anita Louise Princess DeLamballe
Joseph Schildkraut Duke of Orleans
Gladys George Mme. DuBarry
Henry Stephenson Count Mercey
Cora Witherspoon Mme. DeNoailles
Barnett Parker Prince DeRohan
Henry Daniell La Motte
Leonard Penn Toulan
Alma Kruger Empress Maria Theresa
Joseph Calleia Drouet
George Meeker Robespierre
Scotty Beckett Dauphin
Erville Alderson Passport Official
Richard Alexander Man with Pike
Trevor Bardette Actor
Robert H. Barrat Citizen-Officer
Al Bridge Official in Passport Office
John Butler Municipal
Lane Chandler Revolutionary Officer
Dorothy Christy Actor
Billy Engle Man with Goblet
Lawrence Grant Old Nobleman
Ben Hall Young Man with Lantern
Ben Hendricks Actor
Holmes Herbert Herald
George Kirby Priest
Henry Kolker Court Aide
Duke Lee Coach Driver
Horace McMahon Rabblerouser
Helene Millard Actor
Corbet Morris La Rue
Inez Palange Fish Wife
Alonzo Price Guardsman
Buddy Roosevelt Actor
William Steele Footman
Harry Stubbs Councilor
Brent Sargent St. Pre
Frank Swales Chimney Sweep
Reginald Gardiner Comte D'Artois
Peter Bull Gamin
Ivan Simpson Sauce
Marilyn Knowlden Princess Theresa
George Zucco Governor of Conciergerie
Ian Wolfe Herbert, the Jailer
John Burton Lafayette
Mae Busch Mme. LaMotte
Cecil Cunningham Mme. De Lerchenfeld
Tom Rutherford St. Clair
Ruth Hussey Mme. Le Polignac
Victor Kilian Guard in Louis' Cell
Walter Walker Benjamin Franklin
Zeffie Tilbury Dowager at Birth of Dauphin
Claude King Choisell
Frank Elliott King's Chamberlain
Herbert Rawlinson Goguelot
Wade Crosby Lanton
George Houston Marquis De St. Priest
Moroni Olsen Bearded Man
Barry Fitzgerald Peddler
Kathrun Sheldon Mme. Tilson
Lionel Royce Guillaume
Lyons Wickland Laclos
Anthony Warde Marat
Olaf Hytten Boehmer, the Jeweler
Rafaela Ottiano Louise, Marie's Maid
Guy Bates Post Convention President
Gustav von Seyffertitz King's Confessor
Nigel de Brulier Archbishop
Mary Howard Olivia
Ramsay Hill Major Domo
Jack George Orchestra Leader
Thomas Braidon Lackey
Denis D'Auburn Beuregaard
Frank Campeau Lemonade Vendor
Theodore Von Eltz Officer in Entrance Hall
Frank Jaquet Keeper of the Seal
Harry Davenport Monsieur de Cosse
Jacques Lory French Peasant
Bea Nigro Woman at the Opera
Hugh Huntley Man in Opera Hall
Harold Entwistle Old Aristocrat at Opera
Guy D'Ennery Minister at King's Council
Edward Keane General
Frank McGlynn Soldier with Rude Laugh
Esther Howard Streetwalker
Albert Dekker Count de Provence
Howard Lang Franz

Technical Credits
W.S. Van Dyke Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
William H. Daniels Cinematographer
Jack Dawn Makeup
Cedric Gibbons Production Designer
William Horning Art Director
Robert J. Kern Editor
Albertina Rasch Choreography
Gile Steele Costumes/Costume Designer
Donald Ogden Stewart Screenwriter
Herbert Stothart Score Composer
Hunt Stromberg Producer
Ernest Vajda Screenwriter
Slavko Vorkapich Special Effects
Claudine West Screenwriter
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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