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cigarjoe

Marie Antoinette

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Just got finished watching Marie Antoinette, what was Hollywood's MGM's fascination with these despots? Are we supposed to feel sorry, they certainly pulled all the heartstrings in the film.  

Comments From IMDb:

"I had no sympathy for the character and would have gladly chopped off her head myself if it could have somehow shortened the movie! Avoid it--there are much better costume dramas!"

"... the people who take part in the revolution are depicted like some kind of 19th Century newspaper cartoon anarchist. They all have unkempt hair, ragged clothing, dark splotches of charcoal on their faces, and they're all uniformly **** in their behavior. They are like angry children, and the royal family are portrayed as loving parents who can no longer control their charges."

"I don't think I have ever seen such a sympathetic portrait of the French queen. She is truly presented as without flaw, a wonderful, warm woman. This makes her end truly difficult to bear, especially given the highly emotional final scenes of the movie. When they take her son from her, it is hard to hold back the tears.

The truth, of course, was otherwise. This is, therefore, a whitewashing of the historical Marie Antoinette, and it is worth asking why.

In part, it seems to be a conservative's rewrite of history. The revolutionaries are portrayed as uniformly bad, so this is a condemnation of revolution and a positive presentation of absolute monarchy."

 

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Marie has been much maligned over the centuries. (For example, she never said, Let Them Eat Cake). This is a typical Hollywood historical bio,  but a lot of what transpires in the film did happen. I've never been a Norma Shearer fan, so I can't say I'm a fan of the film either. Marie was not the gorgon portrayed by revolutionaries. WHY? Because she was a tragic figure; audiences like a good weeper; and Norma Shearer wanted to play her, so naturally it's going to be sympathetic. (and yes, her son was taken from her among other things)...

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1 hour ago, cigarjoe said:

Just got finished watching Marie Antoinette, what was Hollywood's MGM's fascination with these despots? Are we supposed to feel sorry, they certainly pulled all the heartstrings in the film.  

Comments From IMDb:

"I had no sympathy for the character and would have gladly chopped off her head myself if it could have somehow shortened the movie! Avoid it--there are much better costume dramas!"

"... the people who take part in the revolution are depicted like some kind of 19th Century newspaper cartoon anarchist. They all have unkempt hair, ragged clothing, dark splotches of charcoal on their faces, and they're all uniformly **** in their behavior. They are like angry children, and the royal family are portrayed as loving parents who can no longer control their charges."

"I don't think I have ever seen such a sympathetic portrait of the French queen. She is truly presented as without flaw, a wonderful, warm woman. This makes her end truly difficult to bear, especially given the highly emotional final scenes of the movie. When they take her son from her, it is hard to hold back the tears.

The truth, of course, was otherwise. This is, therefore, a whitewashing of the historical Marie Antoinette, and it is worth asking why.

In part, it seems to be a conservative's rewrite of history. The revolutionaries are portrayed as uniformly bad, so this is a condemnation of revolution and a positive presentation of absolute monarchy."

 

I'm sure if it had not been for the Hollywood portrayal of those sweet Revolutionaries no one would have been bothered by mob trials of innocents, systematic executions, torture of clergy, irrational intellectual coercion, descent into despotism, and then the rise of foreign wars as a means to counter domestic unrest. ...If only...

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I accept Marie Antoinette on its own lavish MGM terms, historical inaccuracies aside.

Not only does the (admittedly overlong) film benefit from extraordinarily handsome costumes and sets, but it has a particularly strong cast, with at least two of them doing outstanding work. Robert Morley is genuinely touching as the simple minded Louis XVI, demonstrating grace and courage in his final minutes, while Norma Shearer, an actress I can usually resist, gives my favourite performance as her's as the title character. The scene in which she claws like a protective alley cat over her children and then pleads for compassion from the Revolutionaries when they are going to take them away from her in prison is perhaps the finest scene in which I've seen the actress play.

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goofy and dated as a lot of films NORMA SHEARER did- there is still a most definite *there* there to her technique and talent, and her work in the final act of MARIE ANTIONETTE is (for me) one of the finest acting moments of the thirties...(and not just because she goes FULL LENTIL-PICKING WASHERWOMAN in the final scenes)

4557174.jpg?1325659479

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Irving Thalberg was always looking for a Prestige vehicle for his movie star wife.

Romeo and Juliet was his idea of prestige and his idea of showing what a great actress his wife was. The only thing she was decades too old for the part.

With Marie Antoinette, Thalberg saw an even better opportunity to showcase his wife not just in a prestige production but in one of gigantic historical proportions in western civilization.

The portrayal had to be sympathetic in order to feature and to give Norma Shearer the best possible audience reaction.

The real situation with the real Marie Antoinette is complicated and more and more difficult for modern-day people to understand who do not really comprehend the Ancien Regime or absolute monarchy in their lifetime.

The massive production called for Technicolor and even a bigger budget than it ended up with. But in the middle of all this expensive pre-production Irving Thalberg finally had his fatal heart attack and was gone.

All this expensive pre-production had to be followed up but they did cancel the Technicolor.

I'm certainly no fan of Norma Shearer, but her last scenes in this film truly are the best work she ever did. And they are historically up to speed and correct.

The only real loser in this film is the gorgeous Tyrone Power who was borrowed from 20th Century Fox to do this walk in and walk out. He's buried in this movie but his beautiful face does appear at least twice. And he did a accompany Norma to the premiere which was very good publicity.

However, Gladys Cooper's tremendous son-in-law, Robert Morley, does virtually steal this movie with his portrayal of the weak Idiot Boy Louis XVI.

I have this DVD and enjoyed the film very much, but in all honesty I got it for a dollar at a public library book sale.

It's a long movie to stick with and I really don't recommend it unless you just absolutely love the wigs and costumes of that period Or you just want to see how she ends up.

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21 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

goofy and dated as a lot of films NORMA SHEARER did- there is still a most definite *there* there to her technique and talent, and her work in the final act of MARIE ANTIONETTE is (for me) one of the finest acting moments of the thirties...(and not just because she goes FULL LENTIL-PICKING WASHERWOMAN in the final scenes)

4557174.jpg?1325659479

I agree. She does a good job in those final scenes, but even then MGM didn't make her look as bad as the real M.A. looked near the end. It's MGM and Norma was a STAR!

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I'm surprised TCM didn't hire that goofy brother and sister"foodie" duo to suggest which type of cake would suitably compliment the viewing of this melodramatic tripe.  :rolleyes:

Sepiatone

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1 hour ago, Roy Cronin said:

Those kooky and krazy Revolutionaries need their side of the tale told. 

Something like Singin in the Reign of Terror

LOL!

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To those familiar with the film/movie:  Do you recall the sequence with various peasants at work and toiling in the fields, accompanied by a voice over.  I have also found this short sequence fascinating, as it's tone is jarringly different from anything else in the film.  I've wondered if it was part of some longer sequence but was edited down because the tone and depiction of the common people contrasted too sharply with the glamour of the rest....

Thoughts?

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23 minutes ago, Roy Cronin said:

To those familiar with the film/movie:

Which one the Shearer version or the Coppola?

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50 minutes ago, Roy Cronin said:

The Norma version.

I dont recall that sequence, but it's been a long time since I've seen the film all the way through. It could've been cut due to length. The film was long enough as it was.

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The Norma version does have an exceptional performance from Robert Morley as Louis XVI (his debut), and Norma's performance is good especially in the latter sequences when she's in prison.

I don't remember too much about the Kirsten Dunst version. Did win an Oscar for the costumes though.

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Marie Antoinette ils ont jugés la Reine 2018 incredibly good film made for tv but probably released in European countries.You discover how the trial was tricked, her lawyers were arrested etc based on newly discovered original period documents.Very good cast if  some viewers understand French or with subtitles if available.I highly recommends.8/10

reine.jpg

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