Monday, September 7, 2015

Marie Antoinette (1938)

From Anna Gibson:
In addition to changing the nature of Marie Antoinette's character, the revisions to the film resulted in the almost complete removal of two characters from the script: the duchesse de Polignac and Gamin, the locksmith. The duchesse de Polignac, shown only in the background and offhandedly mentioned by name in the gambling party scene, originally had a much larger role in the story. She was the contrast played against the princesse de Lamballe--whereas Polignac ditched the queen at the first sign of trouble, it was Lamballe who stayed behind, remarking poignantly that her "place was here." Gamin, again only mentioned in the final version of the film, had several scenes establishing his unique friendship with Louis XVI--who he ultimately sacrifices his life for during the scene where the mob invades the palace.

The revisions--cuts, reshoots, and added scenes--did not cease until the film was given a wide release in the fall of 1938. The first finished version of Marie Antoinette premiered in the spring of 1938 and had a running time of 170 minutes. This early screening was well received by test audiences; one comment card called the early cut "the most beautiful production that has ever come out of Hollywood." After this early screening, about 10 minutes were removed from the film and several scenes were reshot. (Read more.)

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

It's too bad that this gorgeous film was not shot in tecnicolor, as the makers originally intended. The costumes were so beautifully detailed and the settings were spectacular. The film would probably even have out-grossed Gone With the Wind, and displaced it as the most popular film ever made in this country.

The performers were all wonderful, especially Shearer in the title role. That was a very beautiful and versatile actress.