Marie Antoinette (1938 film)


Marie Antoinette (1938 film)
Marie Antoinette

DVD cover
Directed by W. S. Van Dyke
Produced by Hunt Stromberg
Written by Donald Ogden Stewart
Ernest Vajda
Claudine West
Stefan Zweig (biography)

F. Scott Fitzgerald (uncredited)
Talbot Jennings (uncredited dialogue)
Starring Norma Shearer
Tyrone Power
John Barrymore
Robert Morley
Anita Louise
Joseph Schildkraut
Gladys George
Henry Stephenson
Music by Herbert Stothart
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Editing by Robert Kern
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) July 8, 1938 (1938-07-08)
Running time 149 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Marie Antoinette is a 1938 film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.[1][2] It was directed by W. S. Van Dyke and starred Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette, Tyrone Power, John Barrymore, Robert Morley, Anita Louise, Joseph Schildkraut, Gladys George, and Henry Stephenson. Based upon the 1933 biography of the ill-fated Queen of France by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, it had its Los Angeles premiere at the legendary Carthay Circle Theatre, where the landscaping was specially decorated for the event.

The film was the last project of Irving Thalberg who died in 1936 while it was in the planning stage. His widow Norma Shearer remained committed to the project even while her enthusiasm for her film career in general was waning following his death.

With a budget close to two million dollars, it was one of the most expensive films of the 1930s, but also one of the biggest successes. Apart from the opulent Hollywood sets, it featured scenes filmed on location at the Palace of Versailles, near Paris; this was reported to have been the first time a film crew was allowed to film in the grounds of the palace.

Contents

Plot

In Vienna, 15-year-old Marie-Antoinette was informed by her mother that she is to marry the future king of France. The young princess has to learn to navigate the treacherous environment of the court at Versailles. As queen, she is transformed into a charitable but somewhat out-of-touch humanitarian. The final part of the movie follows Zweig's theory that Marie Antoinette "achieved greatness" in the final years of her life, with an emotional scene showing the final supper of the royal family before King Louis's execution, the separation of the queen from her young son and the savage murder of her closest friend. The final scene shows Marie Antoinette going to the guillotine, where the audience hears the voice of the sweet-natured young princess who was so excited to be going to France. Shearer refused any complimentary make-up for this scene, and chose to look as haggard and exhausted as the real queen in her final moments.

Cast

Background

William Randolph Hearst originally planned this film as a vehicle for Marion Davies as early as 1933. However, a clash with Louis B. Mayer after the failure of her film Operator 13 led to the couple switching to neighboring Warner Brothers.

Norma Shearer was the wife of MGM studio head Irving Thalberg when this project was greenlighted sometime before his death in 1936. This was reportedly Shearer's favorite role.

Originally to be directed by Sidney Franklin, the job was given to W.S. Van Dyke. Irving Thalberg originally planned for Charles Laughton to play the role of Louis XVI, but Laughton, after lengthy deliberations, finally declined.

Costumes and set designs

The movie had thousands of costumes and lavish set designs. Gilbert Adrian visited France and Austria in 1937 researching the period. He stated that the 18th century was the most opulent in history and the costumes would reflect this. He studied the paintings of Marie Antoinette, even using a microscope on them so that the embroidery and fabric could be identical. Fabrics were specially woven and embroidered with stitches sometimes too fine to be seen with the naked eye. The attention to detail was extreme, from the framework to hair. Some gowns became extremely heavy due to the amount of embroidery, flounces and precious stones used. Some gowns still survive, such as the rocket dress, now privately owned, which features star bursts done in sequins. Ms. Shearer's gowns alone had the combined weight of over 1,768 pounds, the heaviest being the wedding dress. Originally slated to be shot in color, many of the gowns were specially dyed. The fur trim on one of Ms. Shearer's capes was therefore sent out to be dyed the exact shade of her eyes.[4].Some of the costumes used in the film were auctioned from the Debbie Reynolds collection on June 18, 2011 at profiles in history auctioneers.

The ballroom at Versailles was built to be twice as large as the original. The budget was a then-enormous 2.9 million dollars, and plans to render it in color were scrapped because of concerns it would cost even more to add Technicolor.[5] One set of Ms. Shearer's dress and wigs was later worn by Jean Hagen during Singin' in the Rain, in the scene when she complains about how heavy they were.

Home media

Sofia Coppola released her 2006 film version of the life of the queen at Versailles, causing Warner Brothers to release its 1938 vault version of Marie Antoinette on DVD. Extras are sparse, with only two vintage shorts included on the disc. "Hollywood Goes to Town" provides a glimpse of the elaborate premiere for the movie, while a trailer is also included.[5]

Academy Award nominations

References

  1. ^ Variety film review; July 13, 1938, page 15.
  2. ^ Harrison's Reports film review; August 27, 1938, page 138.
  3. ^ Marie Antoinette (1938) - Full cast and crew
  4. ^ The Costumes of Marie Antoinette | The Movies and the Woman
  5. ^ a b DVD Verdict Review - Marie Antoinette (1938)

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Marie-Antoinette (1938) — Marie Antoinette (film, 1938) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette est un film américain, réalisé en 1938 par Woodbridge S. Van Dyke. Il développe les rapports difficiles entre le roi Loui …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marie-antoinette (1938) — Marie Antoinette (film, 1938) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette est un film américain, réalisé en 1938 par Woodbridge S. Van Dyke. Il développe les rapports difficiles entre le roi Loui …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marie-Antoinette (1938) — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Marie Antoinette Originaltitel Marie Antoinette …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Marie Antoinette (disambiguation) — Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793) was an Archduchess of Austria and the Queen of France. Marie Antoinette may also refer to: People Marie Antoinette Petersén (1771 1855), Marie Antoinette Murat (1793 1847) Marie Antoinette Lix (1839–1909) Sibylle… …   Wikipedia

  • Marie Antoinette (film) — Marie Antoinette may refer to either of two films:*Marie Antoinette (1938 film) *Marie Antoinette (2006 film) …   Wikipedia

  • Marie Antoinette in popular culture — Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, is best remembered for her legendary extravagance and for her death: she was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror at the height of the French Revolution in 1793 for the crime of treason. Her life… …   Wikipedia

  • Marie Antoinette (Begriffsklärung) — Marie Antoinette bezeichnet: Marie Antoinette (1755–1793), Erzherzogin von Österreich Marie Antoinette (Musical) Marie Antoinette (1938), einen Film Marie Antoinette (2006), einen Film Diese Seite is …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Marie Antoinette (film, 1938) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette est un film américain, réalisé en 1938 par Woodbridge S. Van Dyke. Il développe les rapports difficiles entre le roi Loui …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marie-Antoinette D'Autriche — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette, par Mme Vigée Lebrun en 1783 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marie-Antoinette de France — Marie Antoinette d Autriche Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marie Antoinette. Marie Antoinette, par Mme Vigée Lebrun en 1783 …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.