July 18, 2012 |
Society can turn cruel and bloodthirsty toward those at the top. Julius Caesar, Mary Queen of Scots, Mahatma Gandhi, Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy … the list is so long, we can't be expected to remember every victim. But why do certain deaths emerge as iconic, always fascinating to new generations? Are we eager to see the greatest possible distance one soul can travel from a life of unimaginable glamour to an end in utter pain and humiliation? That might explain why no story remains more magnetic than the downfall of Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, roi de France.
February 2, 1988 |
"Marie Antoinette" (1938), which screens tonight at 8 at the County Museum of Art's Bing Theater as part of its "Hollywood and History: Costume Design in Film" series, is a revelation. It offers a superb studio re-creation of the grandeur and decadence of the court of Versailles and remarkably shaded portrayals by Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette--frustrated, frivolous but finally gallant and brave--and Robert Morley as the homely, pathologically shy Louis XVI.
April 10, 2003 |
"Let them eat cake!" She never said it. The 18th century queen of France, Marie Antoinette, has been credited with that callous remark -- which, according to legend, so outraged the masses that it set off the French Revolution -- for more than 200 years. Of course, the Austrian-born Marie had her faults. But of politics, she knew little and cared less. Tonight's "Biography" (8 p.m., A&E) explores the misconduct myths that dogged the ill-fated queen from the beginning of her reign.
February 11, 2007 |
MADE nearly 30 years apart, the psychedelic London psychodrama "Performance" and the sugary Versailles romp "Marie Antoinette" -- both out on DVD this week -- have a surprising amount in common. Both concern role-playing games and identity formation. Both are sensual pinnacles of high-aesthete decadence. Both inject rock-star glamour into incongruous genres: the gangster film and the costume drama. And both were perceived as easy targets for a critical drubbing.
May 24, 2006 |
WHEN you are the third generation of a celebrated Hollywood family, when your father's an eminent director, people tend to underestimate you. It's been happening to Sofia Coppola all her life, and, frankly, it's fine by her. "I think it's an advantage," she says, smiling. "If people don't expect much, even though you have to work harder to prove you're not a spoiled brat, if you just do OK it's considered good. I like being under the radar.
October 21, 2001 |
On the day that 14-year-old Maria Antonia of Austria became Marie Antoinette of France, she arrived at a small island in the Rhine River on the border of those two countries. The island, neither French nor Austrian, seemed a fitting spot for the ceremony at hand.