Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
Every once in a while I'll run across a movie on cable TV or some such that sounds interesting, but which I haven't seen before. And I'll try to figure out why not. And often, a careful review of the synopsis and accompanying information will inform me about why I haven't seen it before. For example: It's about the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of August 23-24, 1572. It's about the warfare in France between the Catholics and the Huguenots in the late 16th Century. Or the real reason: It's entirely in French. Which means that if it played in theaters on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, it would only have been for a short time in one of the few "art" theaters. And so it is with this month's movie review. I never saw it when it came out in 1994 because it had only a limited theatrical release here in the States, and I get listings to the arts theaters only sporadically, and visit the arts theaters even less than that. The movie is in the vein of an historical drama, and in fact is based on an historical novel which was founded on real characters and events, but of which certain aspects are inconsistent with the historical record; and with which the writers and directors probably took even more departures from actual history. But so it is that this month, Da'ud Bob belatedly reviews for you the 1994 Patrice Chéreau movie of the 1845 Alexandre Dumas novel, released in France under the name La Reine Margot and in the United States as Queen Margot.
Starring Isabelle Adjani as Marguerite de Valois (the Queen Margot of the title), Daniel Auteuil as Henri de Navarre, Jean-Hugues Anglade as King Charles IX, Vincent Perez as La Môle, Virna Lisi as Catherine de' Medici, Dominque Blanc as Henriette de Nevers, Pascal Greggory as Anjou, Miguel Bosé as Guise, Jean-Claude Brialy as Coligny, Jean-Philippe Écoffey as Condé, Asia Argento as Charlotte of Sauve, Julien Rassam as Alençon, and Albano Guaetta as Orthon, the most concise synopsis I found says of this film: "Young Queen Margot finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage amidst a religious war between Catholics and Protestants. She hopes to escape with a new lover, but finds herself imprisoned by her powerful and ruthless family." Which is accurate as far as it goes, but it really doesn't go far enough to explain the surrounding historical events like the succession to the French throne at the time, the machinations of Margot's, and the King's, mother Catherine de' Medici, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, or the huge blood and body count to be found in this movie (specifics below).
Good points: The costuming (which was nominated for an Academy Award, and won Best Costume Design at the César Awards for that year). Using real boar spears on a boar hunt. The library in the Louvre. The horses.
Bad points: Porcelain dishes. (The secrets of creating white paste porcelain were not successfully copied in Europe until the early 1700s.) "I am better with a rifle." (Although rifling does date to the mid-15th century, such weapons were not favored as they were much more prone to problems due to powder fouling the barrel. The stated preference for a rifle in the movie is most likely an anachronism.) The green book cover on the book of hawking and hunting is also of a much later period. It takes a while to get all of the characters in the movie straight in your mind.
Nine breasts. Two willies. 204 dead bodies. Pistol fu. Sword fu. Dagger fu. Musket fu. Fisticuffs. Polearm fu. Spear fu. Poison fu. Poisoned book fu. Heads roll. Waves roll. Gratuitous dirt. Gratuitous wrestling. Gratuitous illicit love. Gratuitous infidelities. Gratuitous foretelling by brain (rather than goat liver or chicken entrails, for example). Gratuitous prophesy. Gratuitous makeup. A 91 on the Vomit Meter. 2½ Stars. Da'ud Bob says, "A romance? Not with that body and blood count. Check it out!"
Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!
|December 4, 2015 limited release in the U.S.||Macbeth. Yet another film of "the Scottish play," this time starring Michael
Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, and David
Thewlis. Macbeth, a duke of Scotland, receives a prophecy from a trio of
witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by
ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and
takes the throne for himself. Filmed in Scotland.
The US trailer is now available to view on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyFAn5IaFS0
|February 26, 2016 in the U.S.||Gods of Egypt. The Egyptian god of darkness, Set (Gerard Butler), has taken
the throne of Egypt for himself. A young thief (Brenton Thwaites), with the
aid of the god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) seeks to defeat him. Brenton
Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, Rufus
No official website (at least not in English) yet.
|February 25, 2016 in Israel; August 12, 2016 in the U.S.||Ben Hur. A falsely accused nobleman survives years of slavery to take
vengeance on his best friend who betrayed him. Jack Huston, Nazanin
Bodiadi, David Walmsley. Based on the novel by Lew Wallace, a remake of
the 1959 classic that starred Charlton Heston in the title role.
No official website yet.
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