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 The Duchess 
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Post The Duchess
Has anybody seen this movie yet? I am not sure if it has even come out yet, but I am suprised Marie Antoinette is not in it when she was supposed to be one of the Duchess of Devonshires good friends!

However I hope it won't be another century movie that inevitably distorts history.

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Thu Sep 25, 2008 3:45 am
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Post Re: The Duchess
Jasmine, the Duchess has an Australian release date of 2 October. Some reviews:
http://www.royalty.nu/news/08/09/MocDuch2.html
http://www.filmink.com.au/review/the-duchess-film/

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Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:49 am
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Post Re: The Duchess
I saw this in the cinema. Love the score! and the costumes are incredible. I think the costume designer for this film won an Oscar for her work, rightfully so. The film is a good one. The story is interesting and captivating and the acting is flawless. The DVD has already been released here in the USA. On a historical note, the real Georgiana Spencer Cavendish was a good friend of Marie Antoinette's.


Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:48 am
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Post Re: The Duchess
I agree that this visually speaking, this movie is just gorgeous. Somehow, it left me a little unsatisfied. Perhaps it was because all the promos suggest it's a story about a woman who is breaking the rules and living life on her own terms.. and then as the movie plays out, she is crushed by her husband's power and cruelty. It's not that I dislike movies with unhappy endings...I'm content if the ending fits with what happened in the rest of the story. But I feel like they concocted a "sort-of happy ending" with the last scene where she's gleefully running around with her children. I can understand that she loves her children and is glad to be with them again. But wouldn't she feel some regret at giving up her freedom and a man she was in love with? Perhaps the film could have suggested this.


Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:54 am
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Post Re: The Duchess
victoire wrote:
I agree that this visually speaking, this movie is just gorgeous. Somehow, it left me a little unsatisfied. Perhaps it was because all the promos suggest it's a story about a woman who is breaking the rules and living life on her own terms.. and then as the movie plays out, she is crushed by her husband's power and cruelty. It's not that I dislike movies with unhappy endings...I'm content if the ending fits with what happened in the rest of the story. But I feel like they concocted a "sort-of happy ending" with the last scene where she's gleefully running around with her children. I can understand that she loves her children and is glad to be with them again. But wouldn't she feel some regret at giving up her freedom and a man she was in love with? Perhaps the film could have suggested this.


I think the film did suggest her regret, just not at the end. In the scene where Grey shows up while Georgiana, Bess and the Duke are eating dinner, and she tells him the truth---that she cannot be with him and if she does choose him, she will lose her children---it's easy to see there that she does regret her decision, but it also shows that she feels that is her only option, since she refuses to give up her children. She was itinally forced to choose between people that she obviouly did care about---Grey and Eliza or Hart, Little G and Harriet. She chose the latter three.


Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:51 am
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Post Re: The Duchess
I loved the Duchess, the costumes were Fantastic. My favorite costume was the Tuscan Red Dress she wore with the white turban, its probably one of the first period films I've seen a woman wearing a turban as a fashion statement. I really though the movie portrayed her life as dark, I actually shed a few tears at the end since I did feel bad for the life she lived in the movie.


Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:32 pm
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Post Re: The Duchess
Finally saw this movie. Really liked it. The costumes were lovely. I wanted to her to run off with Grey. Since I didn't like the Duke. (Will have to watch this again when I finish the book.)


Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:18 am
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Post Re: The Duchess
I felt just the opposite. I found myself wishing that she would get a grip on herself and do her duty by her husband and her family.

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Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:15 am
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Post Re: The Duchess
The real life Duchess was less of a pushover I feel. Here's what the Comte de Tilly thought of her, from his mémoires: ( My free translation)

"There was one woman so distinguished that she was in a sense the Queen of London. Beauty, fortune, birth, social standing and consideration, wit and a turn of phrase, posture, everything came together to secure her a place in society that no-one contested. I speak of the Duchess of Devonshire. I had only been in London for two days when I had the honour to dine with her at M. Adhémar's residence; I have to admit that nothing struck me so keenly as her attitude, her turn of phrase, which remained gracious, her way of entering a salon, and that surplus of beauty which seemed somehow to envelop her. She kept us waiting until seven, as is her wont, but I knew her habit and pardoned her as soon as I set my eyes on her. Indeed my heart, her's in an instant, quickly overruled the vain demands of my stomach."

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Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:26 pm
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Post Re: The Duchess
Quote:
I felt just the opposite. I found myself wishing that she would get a grip on herself and do her duty by her husband and her family.

Come now. Surely the kings of France (supposedly devout Catholics) weren't the only ones who got to commit blatant public adultery?

This kind of thing was hardly unusual among the upper classes, even if the French were a bit worse about it. Just as sodomy was known in France as "the handsome vice" since it was pretty well understood that many members of the nobility engaged with impunity in the same activities that got a few commoners burnt at the stake.

Those who call these the "privileged" classes weren't kidding.

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Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:54 pm
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Post Re: The Duchess
jimcheval wrote:
Come now. Surely the kings of France (supposedly devout Catholics) weren't the only ones who got to commit blatant public adultery?


No, and that is not what I meant, though I can see it looks that way. I should have made myself more clear. I was refering to the place in the film where her husband put his foot down and demanded that she give up her lover because of the man's politics (which were opposite those of the Duke), as well as that the affair had gained too much notoriety, and thus had become an embarrassment. I believe earlier in the film the Duke had advised her to exercise discretion, which she had ignored. Thus the Duke, knowing his wife's stubborn nature, got quite ugly in his threats. At that point in the film I found myself sympathizing more with him than her, as she had forced him into an impossible situation with no happy solutions.
I don't know the real story as opposed to the film, as I'm only familiar with Devonshire in reference to her association with M.A.

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This kind of thing was hardly unusual among the upper classes, even if the French were a bit worse about it.


I agree. It was almost a given in the arranged marriages of the upper class that infidelity would take place and be tolerated. However, I don't think it was worse in France than anywhere else in Europe, they just happened to be more open about it.

Quote:
Just as sodomy was known in France as "the handsome vice" since it was pretty well understood that many members of the nobility engaged with impunity in the same activities that got a few commoners burnt at the stake.

Those who call these the "privileged" classes weren't kidding.


I don't agree there. Homosexual activity among the nobility doesn't seem to have been any more or less common than with the lower classes. As far as privileges go, I think (just as it is today, and probably has always been) this had more to do with one's power and wealth than one's title. A country squire or "hare-catcher" with a fine old title, but few connections at court, was just as likely to face prosecution as one of his peasants.

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Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:11 am
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Post Re: The Duchess
Christophe wrote:
Quote:
Just as sodomy was known in France as "the handsome vice" since it was pretty well understood that many members of the nobility engaged with impunity in the same activities that got a few commoners burnt at the stake.

Those who call these the "privileged" classes weren't kidding.


I don't agree there. Homosexual activity among the nobility doesn't seem to have been any more or less common than with the lower classes. As far as privileges go, I think (just as it is today, and probably has always been) this had more to do with one's power and wealth than one's title. A country squire or "hare-catcher" with a fine old title, but few connections at court, was just as likely to face prosecution as one of his peasants.


Fair enough. Perhaps I should have said "among the powerful". I don't know that anyone knows exactly how much homosexuality there was where, but the question is more who could get away with it than who was actually practicing it. There were several notorious cases where commoners were burned at the stake while various lords were named, but ultimately got off pretty lightly - as the public was only too aware. And when two workers - poor shleps, I'm inclined to call them - got caught having sex in public, it was said that they made a handy example since they "had no relations" and so could conveniently be burned.

Certainly the term "handsome vice" was bandied about, and reflected the public's perception, rightly or wrongly, that the period's "cool people" were inclined towards it, just as many people today may expect there to be more gays in the fashion world than in their local working class bar. But one young "sodomite" wore red heels (a sign of nobility, in theory) even though he was of modest family, and part of this perception may have resulted from such pretensions. It's also true that some young men (just like women) found "protectors" who brought them into more privileged worlds (albeit often as valets), so for some the term probably was linked with such aspirations.

Basically, as is still true today, if you wanted to misbehave, it was best to be from the privileged classes. The difference in France at least was that some of those privileges were codified in the statutes, so that your country squire, for instance, would have had certain legal advantages over a well-off commoner, simply because he had a title.

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Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:56 am
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Post Re: The Duchess
Ah, yes, but the well-off commoner could always buy a title. He could buy an estate with title attached, or buy a public office that ennobled him. I was just discussing this today with a friend: there was a great deal of upward mobility in the Ancien Regime. Notice how many of Louis XV and Louis XVI's ranking ministers were only two or three generations removed from their bourgeois origins. I strongly suspect there was a deal of downwards migration as well; as many of the 'old' families were forced to sell their lands and offices by financial constrants, and thus lost their noble status. This would be why, under Louis XVI, there was a lot of fretting about the decline of the 'true' aristocracy, as they were gradually being replaced by new money.

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"One grows accustomed to one's enemy, and by making it familiar one loses the desire to get rid of it...." Marquise de la Tour du Pin, in a letter to her friend Mme. de Duras.


Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:42 am
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