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'Valmont' vs 'Dangerous Liaisons'

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"It was a director's nightmare. Two film versions of the same story were being made at the same time. Both came from Les Liaisons Dangereuses, an 18th century novel of sexual intrigue. This was not good news for Milos Forman, whose version was not based on the modern theatrical success, did not have a screenplay written by the playwright of the stage hit and did not star such big names as Glenn Close and Michele Pfeiffer.

The Warner Bros./Lorimar version, directed by Stephen Frears and named "Dangerous Liaisons," would be the first one into theaters, in December, 1988. Despite its star cast, it was made for the relatively modest budget of about $15 million. Forman's Orion Pictures version, named "Valmont," would cost $35 million - with the extra money mostly going for elaborate sets, costumes and location shooting. It would not be ready for another year. Would it be canceled?

"We were in the middle of our script already when they announced their version, based on the play," Milos Forman was remembering.....

Forman's "Valmont" is a much different film from Frears' "Dangerous Liaisons," which was nominated as one of last year's best pictures. The Frears version is cerebral and claustrophobic, an exercise in sexual mindplay.

Forman's is more physical. In "Dangerous Liaisons," the characters seem turned on by the idea of seducing the innocent....

As Forman explained his theories of women, love and romance, I was reminded that I was, after all, speaking with a European. It's possible that Americans are more idealistic on romantic subjects, or like to pretend they are. His views, which I found cynical, he found merely realistic. If there is a basic difference in sensibility between Americans and Europeans, and in many ways there probably is ........

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I'm not a fan of any version of this story. Needless sensationalism.

Instead, "La Nuit De Varennes" finds favor with me. Or better yet, "The Duellists".

Also enjoy the Salkinds' "Three Musketeers"

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Gosh, I don't believe it, somebody has mentioned one of my favorite movies of all time, in fact at some time in the past I named it as my very favorite of all. La Nuit de Varennes (1983). To my knowledge it is still not available on DVD. This movie has so many great moments, it would take forever. No one ever mentions it. It should never be forgotten and it should dammit be on DVD by now. Grrrr.

But I did like Dangerous Liaisons (1986) very, very much. Valmont does not pierce the walls of my memory banks that well although I know I saw it once upon a time. Annette Benning was playing the (whatever her title was, can't remember) and I would guess she would handle it quite well.

Thank you, Sergeant !

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