24 thoughts on “Queen Marie Antoinette in Movies & TV: the Frock Flicks Guide

  1. I watched the docu with Karinne Vanasse online somewhere. My French is only passable so I couldn’t understand much, but I think they made it as a response to the Coppola movie. The costumes are okay; I think most of the ones that they didn’t recreate from the portraits came from stock. She wears this one orange striped dress that is fabulous, dahling.

    Also watched the 1975 Marie Antoinette online somewhere (I think on the website on that screen shot); LOTS OF POLYESTER, and yeah, their version of MA seemed kinda bitchy.

    “Ce Jour Là, Tout a Changé” I actually found to be kind of riveting. Again, I couldn’t understand everything, but I liked it. Good costumes from what I can remember.

    “Louis XVI, l’Homme qui ne Voulait pas Etre Roi” I think is part of a series about the history of Versailles; there are episodes about Louis XIV and Louis XV too.

    “L’Autrichienne” is really, really good. I wish I could find a version with English subtitles.

    Also, Norma Shearer was Canadian.

    1. Yay, thanks for the input! Shearer was CANADIAN? egads! Yeah, that 1975 one looked sketchy. Glad to hear some of those more recent ones were good!

  2. Great write up! New stuff to add to the old costume movie que…

    And I love how the Peabody and Sherman Marie looks like a well-fed 18th C version of Frozen’s Elsa.

  3. “Marie Antoinette, la Véritable Histoire” is for me the most accurate movie about Marie Antoinette. I have it on DVD (distributed by France 2 – you can buy it on Amazon.fr). It was made with the help of Versailles and the french national archive + French and Canadian actors.
    I really love it. It show how Marie Antoinette was like us, a human with her bad and good side, actress of her time.

    It’s a pity that non french people can’t understand it. (I’m Belgian btw and lived 5 years near Versailles in the french Yvelines)

    Personally, I must say, I hated the version of coppola. It’s so inaccurate, so american Hollywood looking…. okay it’s beautiful for the eyes but so false historically. :/

    Anyway, great list :)

  4. Anyone else look at the still from Madame du Barry (1934) and want to just rotate the fabric so the stripes are going the correct direction?

  5. The 1938 Marie Antoinette is possibly the most stunning film in terms of sheer lavishness ever. The costumes aren’t totally accurate but the surface detail is. The way they just heap hand embroidery and antique lace on the costumes (even extras) is unbelievable.

  6. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t L’Autrichienne translate to “The Austrian B*tch”?

    1. It can! It’s a play on words. It literally means “the Austrian” but the feminine version of the term “French requires gendered versions). “Chienne” means female dog or bitch. So yes, they were technically calling her “the (female) Austrian” but also implying “bitch.”

  7. A couple of notes on “Rose of Versailles:” In the original comic, it follows the life of Marie Antoinette, and begins with her birth. Oscar ended up being such a popular character, that the cartoon show starts with Oscar’s birth, and there are adaptations named for Oscar.

    Also, “Rose of Versailles” is a very popular musical, performed by the all female Takarazuka musical theater troupe.

  8. It’s not a film, but the French musical ‘1789: Les Amants de la Bastille’ has a delightful and surprisingly sympathetic Marie Antoinette. The costumes are about what you’d expect from a French musical theatre production (glittery, over the top, not accurate in the slightest, and did I mention glittery?) but they definitely bring the drama. Marie Antoinette’s opening number features a pink powdered wig with feathers in it, matryoshka doll-style dresses, and the most delightfully campy master of ceremonies imaginable. Other highlights of the production include Robespierre with eyeliner dancing on a printing press, a surprisingly touching scene of Marie Antoinette getting ready to be executed, and an entire song about the women’s march on Versailles. There’s also a made up love story between imaginary characters, but we try to ignore that.

    Link to the first court number: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=624vzFlOgAM
    Link to the execution montage scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFdCLOTiEck (Marie Antoinette is the one in white, the first woman with her is, I believe, the Comtesse de Polignac, and the other one is the lead female OC)
    And, just for fun, link to the printing press number: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyXadEBx-aE (first guy in the yellow jacket is the lead male OC, the guy in blue is Danton, the one in the yellow possibly striped suit is Desmoulin, and the one in black and red is Robespierre. I believe that the guy being pushed offstage on the press at 3:15 or so is Marat)

  9. Riyoko Ikeda, the author of “Rose of Versailles” studied (French) history, so, in the manga, most historical facts are accurate, although the costumes and some settings were sacrificed for a romanticized Japanese view of European princesses dresses and looks.
    It’s still an awesome story, that follows Marie Antoinette, Fersen and Oscar’s stories in parallel as they’re intertwined. But the protagonist, both in the manga and anime is unmistakeably Oscar, although the title’s “Rose of Versailles” is Marie Antoinette.
    You should read the manga and watch the anime. I’m almost sure Sofia Coppola did at least skim through it.

    1. The anime Rose of Versailles is kind of slow in places, but it’s also remarkably historically accurate! (As to the events in Antoinette’s life when she journeys to and begins living at the palace) I learned more about her life watching this than any history book :)

  10. Hey! No Marie Antoinette, but have I written about the best camp vintage take on the 18th century ever? It does have Catherine the Great – Josef Baky’s 1943 Münchhausen, a huge, expensive Technicolor spectacle ordered by Goebbels (yes, really) to celebrate the German film company UFA’s 25th anniversary. It is NOT a Nazi propaganda film, but it may well have been the straw that broke the German war budget – it looks wildly expensive, it’s funny, dirty, surrealistic, has some lovely homoromantic overtones (watch for the chemistry between Münchhausen and Cagliostro) and a joy to watch. I may be biased, because my mom taped this off TV when I was a kid and my little brother and I watched it over and over again, but I really do think it holds up. Not historically accurate in the slightest, but a fun romp.
    Available on Youtube, and just look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QShKClQbl3I

  11. In Rose of Versailles Marie Anotinette is voiced by Myuki Ueda. No, the animated version is not very historically correct when it comes to clothes, but the manga original(ie comic version the animation was adapted from, published in 1972) is closer with costume inaccuracies used mainly for dramatic effect or stylistic decisions reflecting what the audience of shoujo mangas(mangas for girls) wanted in the 1970s, and editors breathing down the author´s neck, as it was her first major work (the author, Riyoko Ikeda, actually did her research on MA´s life better than most movies on MA´s life I´ve seen to be honest, to the point she has received the Legion D´Honneur from the French government for this work.). Ikeda has recently started to publish a spin off of the series with paralel short stories which is VERY historically accurate where it comes to costumes (since she´s not under the whole pressure of pleasing a specific target audience, having a career of 40 years to back her up on doing whatever she pleases). It must be noted that her works on Catherine of Russia, Elizabeth I and Napoleon are far better where it comes to costumes.

  12. FYI, Count Fersen in the Coppola film (which I adored) was none other than Movie “Christian Grey” of 50 Shades trilogy. Loved him as Fersen–I knew who he was instantly when 50 casting was announced because of his Fersen. He & Kirsten Dunst had beaucoup chemistry!!

  13. I’m extremely late to the party so this may have been mentioned, but L’Autrichienne is a play on words, chienne meaning female dog or bitch, so the French were basically calling Marie an Austrian bitch. The Rose of Versailles is very good and surprisingly historically accurate, though it does take it liberties, it is one of my favorites among all of the Marie Antoinette media made and it’s probably because of it’s historical accuracy. I don’t care for much of the other movies because of their historical inaccuracies. Even with the liberties that The Rose of Versailles takes I still feel it’s more historically accurate then a lot of the other movies. There is also a extremely well done documentary done by PBS called (what else) Marie Antoinette. There is another one called Marie Antoinette at Versailles by Blue Peter which is shockingly the name of a kids show in England (how cheeky!). Both are excellent documentaries for history buffs. Though why everyone has Marie speak with a fluent French accent I’ll never know. She lived in Austria till she was fourteen so more than likely she spoke French with an accent, oh well…c’est la vie.

  14. You forgot “That Night at Varennes” its actually a French movie so not sure on the translation. Its about the flight from Paris in 1791 which icludes funny enough a narration by Casanova.

  15. Late-to-the-game comment! Thanks so much for putting this list together; I bet it could be added to for years, as M-A seems perennially popular onscreen. I have to say that I despise the Sherman & Peabody movie for raving about how historically inaccurate the George-Washington-and-the-cherry-tree story is, and then turning right around and claiming that 1) M-A made that cake statement, which has been debunked for ages and 2) declaring “Marie Antoinette could have avoided the whole revolution if she’d simply issued an edict to distribute bread amongst the poor.” Yeah, it would have been that easy! I don’t think she even had the power to issue edicts, and one round of bread wouldn’t have solved all the problems.

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