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Her eyes shine as brightly as the diamonds at her slender throat or as the countless candles that turn the Palace of Versailles into a light-drenched fantasy world. She is Marie Antoinette, Queen of France: beautiful, imperious, headstrong...and doomed. With an opulence exemplifying Hollywood's Golden Era at its most glamorous, the grandeur and revolutionary fervor of 18th-century France sweeps across the screen in this nominee for 4 Academy Awards. Elegant Best Actress Oscar nominee Norma Shearer stars in the decades-spanning title role, Tyrone Power plays her ardent beloved, John Barrymore is crafty Louis XV and debuting Robert Morley portrays timid Louis XVI. From ballroom to boudoir to guillotine, Marie Antoinette is regal romantic adventure.
With a seven-figure budget and veteran director W.S. Van Dyke at the helm, MARIE ANTOINETTE is one of the most opulent period dramas produced in the golden era of Hollywood. The film chronicles the life of the 18th-century queen, following her emotional transformation from childhood as a young Austrian princess to her last days in the court of Louis XVI before the French Revolution. Led by the talents of Norma Shearer as Marie, John Barrymore as Louis XVI, and Tyrone Power as Marie's childhood friend and aspiring lover, Count Axel de Fersen, the film exposes the power plays and chicaneries of the French court, painting the Duke d'Orleans as the villainous source of Marie's public relations tragedy. With the extravagance of the court matched vociferously by the extravagance of the production, a romantic score by Henry Stothart, and a strong performance from Shearer, MARIE ANTOINETTE is a quality period drama.
This is an opulent production of the life of the 18th-century French queen whose most lasting contribution to history has been a supercilious remark about baked goods. Academy Award Nominations: 4, including Best Actress--Norma Shearer.
Oscar, Robert Morley , Best Actor in a Supporting Role,Oscar, Norma Shearer, Best Actress in a Leading Role,Oscar, Cedric Gibbons, Best Art Direction,Oscar, Herbert Stothart , Best Music, Original Score
Venice Film Festival, Norma Shearer, Best Actress
Venice Film Festival, W.S. Van Dyke, Best Film
Classic Film Guide
Directed by W. S. Van Dyke, with a screenplay written by Donald Ogden Stewart (The Philadelphia Story (1940)), Ernest Vajda, and Claudine West (Mrs. Miniver (1942)), this average historical drama earned Norma Shearer her last (Best Actress) and Robert Morley (in his film debut) his only (Supporting Actor) Oscar nomination(s). Cedric Gibbons's Art Direction, and Herbert Stothart's (The Wizard of Oz (1939)) Score were also nominated (this was Stothart's first of 10 nominations). Said to have been Shearer's husband Irving Thalberg's last project, in the planning stages at the time of his death in 1936, the film suffers more from its length and plodding pace than anything else.
DVD, Pan and Scan (TV Format), Aspect Ratio 1.33:1, English, French, Spanish, Subtitled, No Longer Produced
Warner Home Video
Doug Pratt, DVDLaser.com
...a wonderful, underbilled performance by Robert Morley...
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