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Marie Antoinette

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

DVD Features:
Other:1938 MGM Shorts: Another Romance of Celluloid Hollywood Goes to Town Vintage Short Another Romance of Celluloid Goes Behind the Scenes on This and Other Studio Productions That Year
Theatrical Trailer

The lavish, overstuffed house style of MGM in the 1930s gets a fluffy showcase in Marie Antoinette, a preposterous epic about the pampered Queen. One of MGM's longtime queens, Norma Shearer (who had been married to head of production/wonder boy Irving Thalberg until his death in 1936), plays the young Austrian girl imported to marry the man who would become Louis XVI of France. The film covers Marie's girly youth at court, through an affair with suave Tyrone Power (then in his early, dewy prime) and finally to the dark days of the Revolution. Like Sofia Coppola's 2006 version of the Queen's life, this film emphasizes glitz, and leaves the Royals mostly innocent of blame for what happens to the starving peasants. Unlike the Coppola picture, this one takes Marie and diffident husband Louis (Robert Morley, his film debut) through their imprisonment and all the way to the guillotine. The parade of enormous sets and opulent gowns contributes to the general sense of stodginess, even if one might pause to note the rather continental attitude toward Marie's extramarital needs. John Barrymore plays the declining Louis XV, but it's the childlike Morley that steals the show. Shearer's glamorous star turn might leave some viewers puzzled as to her appeal, although the very ordinariness of her personality actually works in concert with Marie's out-of-her-depth character. The project had been a pet of Thalberg's, and MGM went ahead with the film after his death, but it marked the end of Shearer's period of major stardom. The opposite of this film's highbrow literary approach can be found in Josef von Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress, with Marlene Dietrich, a delirious and cinematic treatment of a Queen abroad. (This DVD includes overture and entr'acte music.) --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Vintage short Another Romance of Celluloid goes behind the scenes on this and other studio productions that year, and "Hollywood Goes to Town"
  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power, John Barrymore, Robert Morley, Anita Louise
  • Directors: Herman Hoffman, Julien Duvivier, W.S. Van Dyke
  • Writers: Bruno Frank, Carey Wilson, Claudine West, Donald Ogden Stewart, Ernest Vajda
  • Format: Full Screen, Closed-captioned, Dolby, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 10, 2006
  • Run Time: 157 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,029 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Marie Antoinette" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

This film is a masterpiece in every way.
a viewer
Robert Morley makes a stunning film debut as Louis 16th and is amazingly accurate in his appearance and performance as the husband of Marie Antoinette.
Simon Davis
When Marie Antoinette's mother, Austrian Empress Marie Theresa, arranges a marriage with the Dauphin of France, Marie Antoinette is elated.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Benoit Racine on December 23, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
10. The script (dialogues)

The main scriptwriter on this movie is F. Scott Fitzgerald of "Great Gatsby" fame. The love scenes are extremely elaborate and exquisitely structured. They also introduce a few innovations that have since become clichés and the hallmark of "women's pictures" everywhere.

9. The actors

John Barrymore is unforgettable as the supremely elegant and regally cranky Louis XV. Robert Morley gives one of his best interpretations. Joseph Schildkraut plays the best two-faced villain of his entire body of work. As for Tyrone Power... remember the anecdote about the reporter asking romance-writer Barbara Cartland (Lady Di's stepmother) how she could possibly have written so many romance novels before she was even married and while she was still a virgin? Her answer was: 'Oh! We didn't have sex in those days. We had Tyrone Power.'

8. The director

W.S. Van Dyke was an expert at handling and keeping track of large crowds, a myriad details, heavy production calendars, big budgets, big stars, tyrannical producers and acts of God. His directing style was a compromise between time-efficiency and giving the stars leeway as long as they respected the general style of the piece. This 'honour system' seems to have encouraged the actors to do their homework and present a
credible, coherent performance every time. Both W.S. Van Dyke and
Shearer were fulfilling a legacy to Irving Thalberg and it shows.

7. The sets and costumes (artistic direction)

What can you say about a period film that tackled the challenge of recreating Versailles in the XVIIIth century on the MGM backlot? The production values are staggering. The Gallery of Mirrors is actually longer, higher and wider than the original.
Read more ›
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By a viewer on July 30, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This film is a masterpiece in every way. Stunning in all aspects, especially the constumes and makeup.

Norma Shearer in a tour-de-force performance surpasses anything she did before or since. If anyone deserved the Oscar for 1938, she most certainly did. Instead, it went to Bette Davis, who deserved the nomination for Jezebel, but compared to Shearer's portrayal its like comparing a Baloney Sandwich (Davis) to Filet Mignon (Shearer). But, then, in Hollywood, I suppose there were a lot of people who liked baloney. Nevertheless, her Oscar loss notwithstanding, it is Shearer who makes this film and knowing the tragic outcome makes one sit on the edge of their seat all the more, especially the last hour of the film. The film is long but it seems to fly by in half an hour and the production values are MGM at its finest. Do not miss this will see why Norma Shearer deserved the Oscar of 1938.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By shrinkwrap on June 5, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you are reading these reviews I assume that you are trying to decide whether or not to purchase this film. What I can tell you is this: if my house were on fire, of the over 1100 videos and DVDs therein, this is the one I would rescue. I first saw MA in 1957 and fell in love with Norma Schearer because of it. It was the film that defined my standards for films and started my life-long love affair with the movies. If I were teaching film to students, this would be required viewing because even today, the technical standards remain the finest. It is the apotheosis of the art of film making and should be cherished just for what it is. This is a "prestige" film from MGM, and this type of film was made to increase the prestige of the studio with little regard for the expense, or concern for return on investment. They didn't care if it would be popular. What did happen was film magic, and without computer-generated imagery. It should also be appreciated for the many-layered delineation of the title role by one of Hollywood's most capable actresses--Norma Schearer, who had been in films almost from their very beginnings. This is her tour-de-force performance; she IS Marie Antoinette. I am always amazed that she is more well-known for her role in THE WOMEN, since this is a much more demanding, and riveting endeavor. Near the end of MAYTIME, John Barrymore says to Jeanette MacDonald, "Tonight you surpassed even yourself; they are calling it a 'living emotion'". And that's what happened here. It is rare magic to see such delineation of a character by an actor; at the moment I can only recall Vivien Leigh's Scarlett, and Bette Davis' Charlotte Vale (NOW VOYAGER) for being as textured and defined.Read more ›
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By "scotsladdie" on July 31, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Hollywood no longer turns out such lush, opulent productions such as MARIE ANTOINETTE. The high level of quality of this long (160 minute) historical pageant is astonishing (it's extreme length is probably why it's rather underrated and rarely shown on televison.) It cost MGM nearly 2 million dollars to film this in 1938 and every cent shows in the magnificent ballrooms, royal chambers,courtrooms and palace halls as well as speaking roles for 152 actors plus thousands of "extras". The property department built an incredible 98 sets including a replica of the Grand Ballroom at Versailles - which was several feet longer than the original. Adrian designed 1250 splendiferous gowns and the make-up department sewed genuine human hair into 5,000 wigs! In the title role, Norma Shearer at 38, gave what many to believe her finest performance; her portrayal of Marie, based on the biography by Stefan Zweig, is the perhaps the most sympathetic one since that lovely lady was be-headed over 200 years ago! John Barrymore was personally declining but he still was a powerful actor with presence; he's the dying old Louis XV. Robert Morley is effective as the ineffectual, dim-witted Louis XVI and Joseph Schildkraut is hammy though good as the duplicitous Duke of Orleans. Perhaps Gladys George's interpretation of DuBarry is somewhat lacking - but she's appropriately sharp-tongued! Nominations for the film included: Cedric Gibbons,(art direction), Robert Morley for Best Supporting Actor and Shearer (She lost the Best Actress AA to Bette Davis for her near-legendary Julie Marsden in JEZEBEL.
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Norma Shearer Flims
plus The Divorcee ,A Free Soul
Jun 13, 2012 by Mason von Mason |  See all 2 posts
Roadshow version..
I believe it is. I have the DVD and it has what you mentioned.
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