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 Best film version of Marie Antoinette? 
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I am sorry, but this scene in her cell of the conciergerie, with Fersen, is quite ridiculous ! And this image of Fersen crying over the roofs of Paris while she is guillotined is an insult ! He was tranquilly in Brussels, by then ! She cried all alone for months in this stinking cell, and she died alone, like a dog, that's it ! No one to talk to, no help of her religion, nothing but the furious mob shouting at her passing by in this cart !

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Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:14 pm
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Yes, Pim, you are quite right. Oh, I am very contrite. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

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Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:28 pm
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Oh, Therese... we can enjoy a movie, even if not accurate ! As long as we know how far it is inaccurate. And you perfectly do. So, dear, go on loving your film ! :D

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Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:46 pm
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Well I don't agree you are right, Pim.

I think you are off - way off - and that the 1938 film is on target.

I think Fersen cared very deeply for Marie Antoinette, whether or not they were actual physical lovers. Clearly, he risked his life and spent considerably from his own fundes to attempt her rescue in 1791.

But beyond that I don't think he gave up the effort to rescue her.
I believe he worked hard to obtain the Brunswick Manifesto on her behalf in 1792 and that after her imprisonment in Sept 1792 he worked over the next year to interest the courts of Europe especially the Austrians in her exchange or rescue.

Yes, he failed. But that doesn t mean he didnt care. Nor does it mean he didn t try and try hard.

You know an awful lot Pim and you may well know more about what exactly Axel von Fersen did in 1792 and 1793 that you can then share with us. If you can refute what I say, please do, Pim. I am open to learning from you and your amazing store-house of knowledge and the same goes for you Therese. If you know for a fact Fersen did nothing in 1793 then please do post it.

However, until you share more specifics it's my belief that Axel von Fersen did more than any man alive to try to save Marie Antoinette in 1791 and then in 1792 and 1793.

Also, I would add for good measure as you consider those who sat on their *bottoms* while MA died alone in her dungeon (as Carlyle wrote in HER UTTER ABANDONEMENT) we should look at Antoinette's dear relatives at the Austrian court. Perhaps if her brother Leopold had lived it might have been different but he of course died in 1792. Leopold's successor as Austrian Emperor was Francis II who was not a sibling of MA but rather her nephew. I do beleive that the Austrian throne under Francis offered very little and tried still less to gain the former Queen's rescue. My understanding is that since she was no longer queen they placed much less value on MA's life. My understanding is also that Danton for one was quite interested in sending MA back to Austria but Leopold offered so little for her that Danton's idea of an exchange was overruled.

You know how much I like a good discussion so I hope you won't mind but if you dont object I'd like to copy this to my own discussion board and see what reactions we get there as well.

Amicalement
Axel


Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:54 pm
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Axel, of course Fersen tried very hard to save the queen. Pim is objecting to the fact that in the 1938 film he is shown in her prison cell and we know that didn't happen; it is dramatic license. Yes, it would be nice if an old friend had been able to visit her but all she had was Rosalie, the jailer's wife and the priest who gave her absolution from outside the door.

As for the Austrians, they sent an army which if victorious surely would have marched into Paris and rescued Antoinette, which is what the revolutionaries feared. That is why the queen was accused of treason; they said she was passing on military secrets to the Austrians.

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Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:07 pm
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Thank you for really reading my words, Therese, and understand what I was talking about ! This movie, that introduces indeed a dramatic licence... more than one dramatic licence, alas ! :wink:

Ooops, Axel, you don't have to flatter me this way ! Que me vaut ce traitement, très cher ?

But I'll forgive you for being that manipulative, since I undersand you want so passionately to defend your avatar (picture).

Yes, Fersen is among those who tried so hard to save king and queen of France. When the king was executed, his concentrated his efforts on the queen and her children. He visited Mercy, he went to Austria for trying to move the Austrian government. I totally agree with that.

Actually, he was not the only one, and Rougeville or de Batz took even more risks for rescuing Marie-Antoinette. Those anonymous "chevaliers du poignards" or poor "perruquiers" also. They are portrayed an amazing way in Pierre Belaiche-Daninos' recent book "les 76 de Marie-Antoinette à la conciergerie".

What I mean is that is would be unfair to focuse on Fersen only. And it is true he stayed in Brussels, with his mistress Eleonora. His biographer Kermina even wrote that we have the uncomfortable feeling, while reading his diary, that Fersen is impatient about the queen's fate, so that he could more quietly think about the marriage proposals of Eleonora.

Why not considering the two faces of the knight ?

When Marie-Antoinette finally was executed, Fersen wrote to his sister Sophie that he was in despair, for "yes, I never stopped loving her". Don't you find this sentence astonishing ? Does this mean that Fersen could have done anything that could make Sophie think he stopped love the queen of France ? Would it be extraordinarily silly to imagine he wrote this for he felt somewhat guilty ?

Well, Axel, I must admit I tend to think so... and I also guess poor Fersen afterwards fell into neuresthenia and more and more lived into his memories, he idealized for getting on. I am deeply moved, truly.

I am getting too talkative, as usually ! :lol: I'll end it up here, just adding that I don't agree with your analyse of Austrian emperors. Leopold may have been the most pacific of all Habsburgs. His son Francis did not care about his aunt, true, but he was ready to attack.

Do you think it would be interesting to talk about this all one more time ? I wonder... But it's up to you ! If you finally use my messages, would you be so kind as to post the whole discussion entirely, so that we could have the whole context ? Thank you, dear...

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Thu Oct 26, 2006 2:02 pm
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Hi Pim, thanks for your reply, and yes, I will repost in its entirely beginning as I said with your comment on the 1938 movie and its handling of Fersen under the title I suggested.

At some point when I have energy I also intend to post the remainder of the Polignac discussion - however to the point I have posted ALL of it was posted and the same will be true here.

Sorry you feel me manipulative. I do confess to wanting discussion on my board also, and when I see that chance i try to encourage it. So to the extent that manipulative I'm guilty as charged.

But as to the flattery, well, Pim, that was sincere. You know an awful lot, you read much more than me and you read the French, and Therese has written books - BOOKS - on this subject. So I know when I disagree and debate you and Therese I am debating against two people who have deep knowledge. And if I can learn from you, well, as we say, it might be psossible an old dog can learn knew tricks.

Woof!
Axel


Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:50 pm
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... especially from another dog ! Wooffff !!! :lol:

Sorry if I got you wrong, Axel. You know, I always feel uncomfortable when flattered. I wonder what's behind people's minds... :wink:

I also learn very much from all of you, here, and I thank you for that. And my opinions are not so firm, you know... I began, with my French culture, thinking Marie-Antoinette was a rather silly queen (and yet I loved her !), Louis a fat stupid king, Fersen a wonderful hero with bad luck, Polignac an awful demon, Lamballe faith incarnated...

That's slightly Zweig's demonstration, isn't it ?

Now, how interesting it is to see those people changing with my readings ! When I first fell upon Antoinette's replies on trial, I immediately thought "no, this lady coudn't be silly !"

When I read her letters to Mme de Polignac, I saw how deep their friendship actually was.

And, with regards to Fersen, I keep questioning the books, testimonies and sources. There is something wrong with this "tragical love" so many films and writers offered us. I am studying this man's psychology the best I can, with my restreined means... And I can tell you that all I find is more interesting than this image of the perfect hero ! For it is far more human...

I now tend to think that count Fersen ended up his life a desparate man, who lived with idealized memories and spent his time seeking for posthume signs. And, yes... for the first time, I am now touched by this character.

Of course, I may be wrong ! However, this vision matters to me, since I am now moved.

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Last edited by Pimprenelle on Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:41 pm
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Sorry to offer yet another compliment, Pim, but what you describe to me was just such an an honest scholarly journey in search of truth. I commend you for your integrity in that journey.

Sincerely,
Axel


Thu Oct 26, 2006 7:49 pm
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Thank you, Axel. I appreciate your compliment.

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Thu Oct 26, 2006 8:14 pm
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Therese wrote:
As for the Austrians, they sent an army which if victorious surely would have marched into Paris and rescued Antoinette, which is what the revolutionaries feared. That is why the queen was accused of treason; they said she was passing on military secrets to the Austrians.


This was brought up in the PBS documentary on M-A. I can't remember which historian said it, but one of them stated M-A passed the movements of French troops onto the Austrians. I believe it was Lever who said that papers had been found in the Archives that proved M-A committed treason. For those who watched, does anyone else remember more about this?


Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:47 pm
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What needs to be understood is that when the queen wrote to her relatives in Austria BEGGING for help, she was not betraying the people of France, she was trying to SAVE France from the extremist fanatics who had taken control of the government, causing the king to be a puppet and a prisoner. She was appalled by the brutal murders that started on July 14, 1789, as well as by the attack upon, and enslavement of, the Church. She knew that only military intervention by a foreign power could restore order. Yes, she betrayed the revolutionary government but she thought it was evil.

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Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:21 pm
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Of course, Therese. In her view, the enemies were not outside, even when the war was declared, they were inside. The enemies were those foolish factitiouses who spread bloodsheds all over France !

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Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:54 pm
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Arietta wrote:
Therese wrote:
As for the Austrians, they sent an army which if victorious surely would have marched into Paris and rescued Antoinette, which is what the revolutionaries feared. That is why the queen was accused of treason; they said she was passing on military secrets to the Austrians.


This was brought up in the PBS documentary on M-A. I can't remember which historian said it, but one of them stated M-A passed the movements of French troops onto the Austrians. I believe it was Lever who said that papers had been found in the Archives that proved M-A committed treason. For those who watched, does anyone else remember more about this?


I am fairly postive that this paperwork was discovered after her execution. because they had no real evidence against her at her trial.

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Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:03 pm
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Pimprenelle wrote:
I am sorry, but this scene in her cell of the conciergerie, with Fersen, is quite ridiculous ! And this image of Fersen crying over the roofs of Paris while she is guillotined is an insult ! He was tranquilly in Brussels, by then ! She cried all alone for months in this stinking cell, and she died alone, like a dog, that's it ! No one to talk to, no help of her religion, nothing but the furious mob shouting at her passing by in this cart !


I agree with your review Pimp. I just saw part of the NS version on TV the other night, but I did not catch it from the beginning. I came into it from the time Louis XV is having the marriage annulled and Marie Antoinette sent back to Austria because she was disrespectful to Madam Du Berry. The King died that night as Marie is off with Fersen somewhere.... Every thing about this movie was incorrect.

I did some research and found out it was filmed also in Versailles.

On the other hand, it is a magnificent movie if one looks at it as pure fiction. Norma Shearer was a great actress in her time. And towards the movie's ending parts also made me tear up. Did you know she was blind in one eye? And according to what I read for the movie, after the Queen is imprisoned NS did not allow the make up department to keep her beautiful looking, but refused make-up to make her look good. I thought the scene of her in the cart going to her death was chilling, for one second one can visualize the real image.

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Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:24 am
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