Dangerous Primates: Monsterous!

DATELINE: Not Man.

BigChimp

When we saw the title, our thought; the most dangerous primates are members of the Monsterquest  investigation team.

You might think the most dangerous primate on Earth is humans, but actually there are many chimpanzees here in captivity as pets. Their insane tantrums are well-documented, andMonsterquestexamines the problem of these dangerous creatures who can grow to the size of an adult male.

They can be quite unpleasant and unruly, ripping people apart ruthlessly in a fit of anger. Monsterquest  gruesomely documents this in the latest episode.

Horrific photos, seen by us for the first time, of a victim in Connecticut showed the poor woman who survived with a face transplant, no hands, and blind, from the attack.

Half the states in the US allow chimpanzees as pets. And, Florida, of course, has had over 70 sightings of wild roving chimps in the swamps. Speculation centers on released or escaped primates. Once again, Florida is the place where nature is allowed to run wild and old folks are in constant danger. Not crocs, chimps. Dr. Hogan Sherrow seems knowledgeable enough, but he’s left back in the swamps.

One chimp escaped in California, and his owners were frantic to find him as they had raised him since he was a baby: speculation was that he could not survive in the wilds because he was 42 years old.

There is not much evidence during the Monsterquest investigation, though they find just about every other wild animal in Florida. Abruptly, they switch to the Pacific and Vancouver Island where there are reports of extremely large primates. They sound exactly like Bigfoot.

Clever enough,Monsterquest experts describe the Bigfoot and never uses the word for the remainder of the show, but we felt more than a little miffed that this has evolved, yet again, into another Bigfoot episode.

You hae the usual reports of smell, hostility to campers, and the odd footprint. Yup, this is Bigfoot territory. A promising episode turns out to be old hat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oldie Noir: Killers

DATELINE: Hemingway Classic

Burt Lancaster Awaits the Grim Reapers.

 

A late 1940s film noir version of “The Killers” made author Ernest Hemingway wince. He was hypercritical of the Hollywood versions of his novels and stories.

Yet, the star vehicle for Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster used the first twenty-minutes to tell the short story. The rest is Hollywood explanations that have nothing to do with Hemingway except to build off his message.

The original dark opening seems to tell an inexplicable tale of a gas station attendant who is hunted down by two hired gunmen. Instead of running when he is warned, he simply waits for the inevitable killing.

When asked why he won’t flee, he gives the ultimate Hemingway man’s answer. There comes a time when you stop running because it doesn’t matter in the end.

The moody and eerie tale is brilliantly directed by Robert Siodmak and were it a short subject could have been a masterpiece after the killers climb the boarding house stairs and let their bullets fly.

Young Burt Lancaster is suitably tough and handsome, as you’d want you hero, but he is antiheroic in not fighting. The rest of the movie is a pathetic attempt to flashback to his roots and how he upset the mobsters.

Quiet nighttime moments in an old-fashioned diner and the ominous sense the Swede’s friends have about the mystery visitors is all part of the philosophical insight of the author.

Many questions about the Swede are raised and there are no answers. It was always the style of Hemingway to omit key information: you fill in the blanks. Sometimes if you have enough questions, they provide an answer. The central mystery of the Swede is explained in banal terms during the remainder of the movie.

Heminway gives you suspense in the anticipation of answers, but you will be thwarted and left to your own devices to figure out the moral of the story.

 

 

And Leave the Driving to Hitch….

DATELINE:  Hitchcock’s Breakdown

 Trapped in his car!

“Breakdown” brought Joseph Cotten back together with his old friend Alfred Hitchcock for a half-hour television episode that would send chills down the spine of anyone thinking of driving down to Florida alone. It was supposed to be the first episode of the new TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents…but was held back.

Once again, Hitchcock played with his words. His breakdown could be a fancy sports car in disrepair, or a man in mental exhaustion. In the case of the show, it could be a word for all seasons.

A ruthless business tycoon (Cotten) fires people over the telephone without remorse and is shocked when one accountant begins to cry piteously. Contempt is his best reaction, finding such weakness to be beneath his attention.

Yet, when a bulldozer working with a chain gang hits his car, he is left paralyzed behind the wheel, looking to the world like a dead man. The steering wheel has crushed his chest, or so concludes every witness.

Not one takes his pulse, so convinced are they of his demise. Thus begins his voice-over thoughts as he is robbed, stripped, has his identity taken, but is able to tap his finger to alert the world of his living carcass.

It is to no avail as the shroud is put over him, and he is left in a morgue. Hitchcock pulled out all the stops of fear on this one—from dying, from being buried alive, to fear of loneliness in its ultimate form.

Augurs and omens dominate the first few moments, perhaps giving a clue or two about the fate and character of Cotton’s heartless protagonist.

Cotten must act without benefit of any movement, tic, or facial acknowledgement. He is up to the task, a monumental endeavor for an actor to act dead for a half-hour TV show.

 

 

 

 

 

 Fright Night Revisited

DATELINE:  Vampire Classic from ’80s

Sarandon & Jeffreys

Has it really been 35 years since Fright Night rejuvenated modern vampires?

It was Tom Holland who wrote and directed it, looking like a B-movie for TV show of the week, apart from the nudity now and then. By today’s cable movie standards, this is rough, however still holds up as entertainment with a modern twist.

Two points of amusement remain unflappable: Roddy MacDowell and Stephen Jeffreys. They survive in name for sheer wacky performances. MacDowell plays an aging movie star who used to play vampire hunters in his heyday, and Jeffreys plays a teenage Jack Nicholson on uppers. He later reneged Hollywood to do gay adult films for a while, though that is now denied with a half-baked story that it was his evil twin brother.

The vampire is demure and stately Chris Sarandon, looking like he wandered into the wrong California suburb. Yes, the vampire has taken a house in a Leave It to Beaverpart of town where you can peer into the next-door windows. It seems like he’s asking for teenage trouble.

Stephen Jeffreys steals the big scenes: he becomes clearly the gay victim of Sarandon’s vampire. His two delicious scenes are with Roddy as they battle.

For MacDowell with his hair fake-frosted, this was a last grand role, and he makes the most of it. Director Holland was lucky to have the veteran star in his movie.

There is no scrimping on special effects at the finish, and you have a sunny California vampire tale.

The film was originally set to star Vincent Price, not McDowall, and Anthony Michael Hall, not Jeffreys. And, we still haven’t figured out what Sarandon’s boyfriend is supposed to be.

In the whatever happened mode, William Ragsdale is the star juvenile lead. He’s cookie-cutter good enough. Yet, he is thrown up against two scene-stealing actors who rob him of the movie. The film is considered a classic nowadays.

Current War: All-Star Bio-Bash

DATELINE: Threesome of Stars!

         Hoult, Cumberbatch, Shannon: Currency

 

The Current War  was withheld from release and largely ignored because it was produced by pariah and sex abuser Harvey Weinstein.

The shame is that the movie is actually extremely good with remarkable performances. All for naught, thanks to Weinstein’s behavior.

In case you missed it, like most movie viewers, it is the story of Thomas Edison and his nasty rivalry with George Westinghouse over the burgeoning electricity industry and light bulbs. Yes, it is quite a topic for an intelligent and well-directed film. The production is positively incandescent.

This is not dry history, but crackles when Benedict Cumberbatch tosses Sherlock under the bus and adopts a middle American accent of a low-brow creepy Edison. Forget the grand dignity of Spencer Tracy in the role way back when light biopics were the rage.

 

Cumberbatch plays Edison as a lying media hound in Trump proportions and the semi-great man stole many of his ideas whilst in his tyrannical Menlo Park lab from workers like Nikola Tesla who is called here a “futurist,” played by Nicholas Hoult (who has given us J.D. Sailnger and Tolkien performances in recent years). Hoult may be the new Paul Muni.

At the other end of the electric feud is George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) as the dignified and aristocratic rich inventor who wanted DC electricity—and between the insults with Edison, the two men play backlit characters to the real star of the movie, Tesla in the person of Hoult.

You won’t be shocked to hear that this film is an actors’ dream showcase. We will resist calling the performers electrifying or even working in deep undercurrent.

It’s reasonably accurate in its history too, which is a plus. We have always had a soft spot for those classic matchup of actors playing off and against each other. This time we have a trio to add to the mix of Burton and O’Toole, Heston and Olivier, and Lancaster and Douglas, all in historical feud movies.

This film is the first to try the rivalry with three historical figures and three grand performers. Marvelous.

 

 

 

Endeavour Winds Up and Down Season 7

 DATELINE: See Venice & Die.

 

Nearly everyone associated with the program Endeavour believes that season 8 will be the end of the series’ run. If so, it is not going to end well for most of the characters, apart from Morse who goes on to another life as Morse in late middle-age (already filmed in case you missed them with Thaw as old Morse).

The hostility and break between Thursday and Endeavour seemingly irrevocable and, in a future world, likely it is fatal.

We begin and end with the overwrought opera in Venice, and its ultimate plot is revealed to us as some kind of reconciliation to the future season. The end  tableaux  is exactly like the opera.

Playing at Mycroft, we were one step ahead of Morse’s Sherlock, but Endeavour’s red herrings were not stand-alone. We were irked by the endless mayhem. The clues were mix and match. We won’t spoil much by telling you that you have more serial killers in an Oxfordshire towpath than on the streets of Chicago.

The tale is overwrought like opera and stretches our credulity more than any previous season. It seems Morse’s fatal flaw is not a kiss of death, but a snobby arrogance. His Oxford background puts him above the flat-footed cops he works with, and he’s told as much several times. It is his hubris that causes a serial killer to use him as a “convenient idiot, or police pet,” by the equally brilliant A-train killer.

Ryan Gage as Ludo matches Shaun Evans as Endeavour, step by pulled out stop.

Reconciliations in some season eight may be hard to swallow if they even come. It seems that all the actors have played their parts on the stage, as Ludo tells us at the climax, and that may be enough.

On the Offence with Sean Connery

 DATELINE: Endeavour Predecessor!

Back in 1972, Sean Connery did not want to play James Bond: to arrange for him to do another film on 007 romp, Connery insisted he be allowed to play a disturbed police detective based on a dark and depressing play called The Offence.

The movie showed off Connery as a powerful actor, but was a box-office fizzle. Audiences were not ready to see James Bond in a dubious psychologically damaged role. The film remains topical and fascinating: it deals with a police sergeant detective in London who cracks up while investigating another hideous child molester case (shades of Jeffrey Epstein).

With its disturbing lead character finally at wit’s end, his response is police brutality and murder that is ripped out of the headlines of 2020 without the racial angle. It’s directed by Sydney Lumet, no less.

The film mirrors Endeavour, the PBS series, set at the same time of early 1970s, now dealing with police like Fred Thursday at the end of their rope, having to face brutality and violence day-after-day. Endeavouris accurate for the feeling and style of police work in those days.

One may have sympathy for these benighted knights of crime, but they have lost the ability to make good decisions.

Trevor Howard shows up to match Connery in an interrogation scene as the chief constable of Scotland Yard. Their acting in tandem is remarkable, but the film is depressing and unpleasant as it details the reasons why the police sergeant kills a child molester while he is in police custody.

If this is to be recommended for its relevance, it is to be watched with a barf bag handy. You will likely be unhappy to see Connery’s license to kill, in this role, is not for espionage fun. This is a dark, stark, cruel movie.

 

 

Norman Mailer: American Something or Other

DATELINE: Great Writers?

Norman, is that you?

We confess that we never had much regard for Norman Mailer during his lifetime. He was an Ernest Hemingway wannabe without style or class. He was the Nixon of writers.  He reveled in the cult of personality over writing talent. However, there was no denying he was a writer: he never wavered in writing novels, journalism, history, biography, and social commentary.

Unlike many writers, he was prolific and constant in his commitment. He loved writing from his days at Harvard and like Gore Vidal, he might have gone off track now and then as an actor, film director, or even candidate for political office. He always returned to writing.

He used his fame and fortune as a writer to open every door he could: he had six wives and a passel of children. He had the buzz off money that most people envy. He could tell anyone, big or small, famous or infamous, to go to hell. He did it his way. His success with The Naked and The Dead made him rich and famous, but he was a critical target after that. He became an insulting drunkard.

In a world where you might admire talent or special ability, he never thought much of any of it. He said and did what he wanted. He was independent and might stick a fork in a snarling lion if it behooved him. He stabbed his second wife, nearly killing her, and faked insanity and begged her not to press charges. What a tool.

Gore Vidal could berate him to face and he shrugged it off. He would bait a Dick Cavett audience and sneer back at their hostility. He was larger than life.

Should we admire him now that he was been gone 20 years or so? He wrote marvelous books on Marilyn and Oswald that stand up to researchers still.

He won a couple of Pulitzers for taking on capital punishment and the Vietnam War. He was fearless and cocky. We never liked him, but in his dotage we have come to recognize our own dotage. It does not change that he was reprehensible.

Endeavour Takes Turn for Worse

 DATELINE: Unpleasant Developments

 Morse, We Hardly Knew Ye! 

In this abbreviated seventh season, the second or middle part of the trilogy of related chapters will continue to indicate to us something bad has happened to the psyche of Endeavour Morse, our stalwart and brilliant young detective.

Perhaps the constant and unrelenting crimes of violence are having a terrible effect on all the characters. Well, in a thoughtful series like Endeavour, this means your characters are developing into something you may not like.

The three major characters (including James Bradshaw as the amusing coroner) watch a woman view her teenage son on the morgue slab and go mad with denial that he is dead. Not pleasant stuff for our hardened police.

In this case, we saw veteran Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) finally fed up with murders and cruel treatment people inflict on each other. When the old cynical pro goes obsessive, you know that he will have a more divisive relationship with his sergeant Morse (Shaun Evans) likely to destroy their relationship.

The overlap of the first episode is that Thursday still believes another man killed young waitress Molly. He is now obsessed, trailing the suspect off hours when another is going on trial for the crime.

We see more of Morse’s personal beliefs than ever before: He opines the “dead deserve justice,” as to why he does a job he dislikes. He also admits he is not the forgiving type (which we think may include forgiving himself). He loses his moral scruples at last and in disappointing fashion, going after the married woman after all.  Well, actually she goes after him with wanton disregard for her millionaire husband.

Morse’s quondam friend, the woman’s husband, we suspect, knows all about this and has been observing. We will find out in the final episode of the season whether our detective skills are up to Morse’s level. He seems not to see it.

The show is overlaid with racism against Pakistani immigrants in 1970, and cruel violence even among themselves in their diaspora. We were reminded of the old chestnut movie, My Beautiful Lauderette, from the 1980s that also covered the Pakistani prejudice in England.

If this is how the show will ultimately evolve, we may at long last lose our taste for the characters and the series, whether it returns for an eighth season or not. Morse’s moral scruples have been compromised and that is never a good sign for heroic TV detectives.

Doubles and Fakers on UnXplained

 DATELINE:  Local Connection!

 Imposter, Not Tony Curtis.

Here is another fascinating subject, not usually covered in any depth by the spate of paranormal, mystery investigators. These are stories about near criminal impersonation.

The UnXplained came across with another winning episode.

If the show were worth its weight in truth, it had to deal with the most famous impostor and faker in my resident town:  yes, Ferdinand Demara stayed here a while in the 1950s, pretending to be a elementary school teacher with fake credentials. A neighbor was actually in his class that year—and she laughed he was no Tony Curtis (the movie star who played Demara in The Great Impostor).

This faker and poseurpretended to be a Canadian doctor and performed surgery during the Korean War. Yes, he operated on suffering wounded soldiers!  Caught, he was still deemed a hero for saving them. He went on to act out his fantasies as a Trappist monk, a lawyer, a college professor, and other stolen identities.

Demara’s life was always pretending, but did not much evil other than deception. He died a fat faker of 350 pounds, not pretending to be a health nut.

However, subsequent figures that Shatner’s show uncovered were increasingly sociopathic and homicidal. A French fake in the 1990s took over Hollywood as an investor and party-thrower, friend to stars. He was stealing their money and allegedly wanted to produce movies. He claimed to be Sophia Loren’s son.

Then, there was Clark Rockefeller, a German low-brow who went by several identities—and he was no Rockefeller. He was, it seems, a murderer with a yard with at least one victim—and another still missing.

These were the worst: the women were a brain damaged Polish peasant who convinced herself she was Czarina Anastasia. They made movies and plays about her fakery. And, given a short shrift was Billy Tipton, famous jazz pianist, who was found to be a woman upon his death.

This was another fascinating show, featuring rare clips, interesting insights, and the underplayed narration of William Shatner who knows something about playing roles.

Author, Author: Go Away!

DATELINE: Unwanted Gifts

 Latest Affront to Gifting.

A friend kindly scoffed at me for a bad habit.

He claimed how I had a tendency to give away gifts to people who did not necessarily want them. He was referring to my bad habit to bestow a copy of one of my books to people who have been nice to me.

I usually inscribe them with thanks for some generic kindness. It is, I am told, not appreciated because I have given people something that they cannot repay or reciprocate.

Well, okay. I realize that not everyone can write a book and return a copy to me in standoff fashion. However, I thought that providing a free, gratis copy of a personal creation would qualify as an act of generosity, not as a slap with my velvet glove.

However, my friend argues that it is not that at all: it is a brazen show of ego.

Well, you can knock me over with a dust-jacket. I would never have thought that giving a personal gift would be construed as an act of selfishness. In fact, I always thought the creative process was something to be shared.

Alas, if you share it with those who have no appreciation, no interest, or no good manners, the writer of a book may well deserve to have the gift accepted without thanks or acknowledgement.

I often note that I give away my book as a token of my gratitude and not as homework assignment. I will not quiz the recipient on the book’s message or contents. If I did, we know the result would be a failing grade. We’ve seen enough of that in the nation’s body politic.

As a resolution, I have now promised my old friend that I will be more circumspect in sharing my books. Never give a page away that is not requested, or at least has some kind of interest expressed by another. It means I will save money on copies and postage.

It is an age when reading is a chore, not a pleasure, and the disrespected writer is a prophet without honor in any country.

 

Dr. William Russo is too prolific for his own good, and he has written many movie history books and biographies.

 

 

Endeavour’s Seventh: Crime Goes On!

DATELINE: Night at the Opera

 Shaun Evans, not Groucho.

To kick off the seventh season of egghead murder mystery, Endeavour once again turns to star hotshot, Shaun Evans, to direct the first episode of Endeavour.

He is even better the second time around: with aplomb when it comes to set-ups, color, and the new modern police office settings. He seems to have wasted time filming in Venice for a few scenes that could have been faked without much notice in a studio. Producers even created an opera for the clueless.

The series has grown darker, starting with Endeavour’s heavy narrative opening about the comedy and tragedy he is about to face. Even his boss, Thursday, is now fed up with grisly killings and his humor is turning sour while Morse goes on vacation to Venice.

The episode is over-wroughtly titled “Oracle” when “Psychic” would have done well.

It’s 1970 now, and a waitress at the New Year’s bash is killed walking home from work. It is the heavy-handed start of women’s equal rights—and it is played historically nasty. Most men of the era saw it as a fad and did not take it seriously. If you use this show as history, you see something far more sinister.

Crime goes on, even at Oxford’s new fangled psychic research center where remote viewing experiments are in their infancy.

The red herrings, as usual, pile up in this show, which now have caught Roger Allam’s Thursday short-tempered.

Endeavour (Evans) remains the kiss of death, or so we suspect, as he succumbs to an operatic affair in Venice that is over before vacation ends.

There are a few intrigues that may trip you up: an old former classmate, a millionaire bon vivant seems gay and has an interest in Endeavour, and who could blame him? However, it is the petty jealousy of fellow detective Jim Strange (Sean Rigby) that is most amusing.

Psychic research is given a once-over effectively here and respectfully. If you don’t have it, you can’t fake it—and the ending is going to be a surprise for most.

The series is now in serial form, not self-contained mystery. The three-parts will meld into one.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump on Child Molester Again!

DATELINE: Defending the Indefensible? 

 Birdbrains of a Feather?

When Trump believes your crime is fake, you are golden.

Some people are dumb as rocks and never learn a thing about their bad behavior. Donald Trump is a twilight zone case in point. He has doubled-down on his defense of Ghislaine Maxwell, crony and accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein.

Trump has pulled out all the stops this time, giving her the shield of his own regular defenses against crimes and misdemeanors:  it’s a hoax of the fake news media.

Talking to an Axios reporter one-on-one, Trump went beyond his usual good wishes for criminals in jail—and questioned the charges (convicted in Epstein’s case takes away the ‘alleged’ term).

Trump has always been vocabulary-challenged and never sees the subtle difference between conviction and accusation. It’s all part of the same smear to him.

When the reporter raised sex trafficking among the charges, Trump was quick to pull the trigger: “Well, first of all,” Trump said, “I don’t know that.” The reporter tried to speak:“She has. She’s been arrested for that.”

Trump “implied that his well-wishes for Maxwell are due to the suspicion surrounding Epstein’s death, and the fact that she now finds herself in a similar situation.”

Trump then went beyond the pale: he questioned the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, wondering who might be responsible for his murder. Well, Mr. President, fool that you are, YOU SIR are in charge of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It happened on YOUR watch during YOUR ADMINISTRATION.

Then came more horrific verbiage by the Commander in Chief of Idiots:  “Her friend, or boyfriend, was either killed or committed suicide in jail. She’s now in jail,” Trump said. “Yeah, I wish her well. I’d wish you well. I’d wish a lot of people well. Good luck. Let them prove somebody was guilty.”

If you support statuatory rape, then Trump is your man. He went on to the shock of sex crime victims everywhere:  “…such a big deal,” Trump continued. “But all it is, is her boyfriend died. He died in jail. Was he killed? Was it suicide? I do. I wish her well.”

He has a hard time saying the name, “Epstein.”

Here is your moral, silent majority: your president on sex crime, apparently nothing to punish. After all, Trump’s AG, William Barr, is son of one of Jeffrey Epstein’s friends and enablers, and one of Trump’s former cabinet members let Epstein serve a dormitory sentence for rape (let out during the daytime).

Yes, folks, vote for child molesting under the Trump umbrella. He likely will pardon Ghislaine if she isn’t murdered by one of his minions.

GOP Racist Taunts

DATELINE: Pinocchio & OJ 

 

If you think Trump Republican senators are fair and without prejudice, we submit for your consideration: two examples of racism from Senators Lindsay Graham and David Perdue.

The two senators claim their offensive ads were created without their knowledge or approval. That alone should be enough for voters to dismiss these two nitwits for incompetence.

Perdue went after his Jewish opponent with a media image that distorted him in an anti-Semitic vein, and Graham went after his black opponent in similar fashion.

The trickery is subtle: image enhancement or distortion.

They gave the Jewish opponent a long nose (considered a stereotypic feature) and they made the black candidate look darker and more foreboding.

You can count on the fact that these ad agencies do not create images lightly: they are paid well to meet demographic ideas to win votes. It is a million-dollar operation.

If you think these candidates did not see the images beforehand, you are an idiot.

Now, we could note that the long nose on Perdue’s opponent may be reminiscent of Pinocchio, and calling politicians liars is no surprise, but the image is coupled with money references and another Jewish senator’s image (Chuck Schumer of New York).  Not exactly innocent.

As for Graham’s nasty racist baiting, he resorts to the old-fashioned trick we haven’t seen since Time magazine did it years ago:  you may not recall how they darkened the skin of O.J. Simpson to make him appear more sinister.

 Well, folks, the trick is back, and Jamie Harrison’s photo is blacker than a racist heart, and he is leering over the shoulder of a distressed white woman!  Yikes, indeed.

Trump Republican senators are Nazis in these two cases we have uncovered, but likely in many others too.

 

 

 

 

 

Farewell, Marie Antoinette

DATELINE: Odd Sex Life of a Queen

Off with her reader’s head.

If you rely on the trailer for Farewell, My Queen,a French historical drama about the week the Bastille was attacked and started the French Revolution, you will think you are looking at some kind of Lesbian revisionist history.

Before rolling your eyes, you should give this film a view.

Of course, some believe the real Marie Antoinette was bisexual, and others think she was accused of this in an effort to try to denigrate her character. It was, after all, considered a moral leprosy to be gay a hundred years ago.

In fact, if you stick around for this film, you will be hooked into an intriguing study of the people who worked at Versailles, the underlings and minor functionaries, who received word their lives and livelihood were now in jeopardy with a list of beheadings of those associated with the monarchs.

By staying outside the riots and beheadings, this drama shows how people in the court were horrified and terrified of their own fates. Those who worked in person with Marie Antoinette are the truly endangered. One such girl is her librarian reader, a plain-looking young girl who finds herself devoted to the Queen to her ever-lasting detriment.

The depiction of a strata not usually seen is fascinating, but shows too how deadly it could be merely to be a servant of the King and Queen. Marie Antoinette’s haughty love interest is a woman of great beauty—and the ultimate order of the Queen to her reader is to be bait to help the royal mistress escape France.

You may find yourself riveted to mad decisions of Louis and Marie Antoinette to endanger themselves by refusing to flee when they had the chance. Others desert Versailles, and some commit suicide rather than be sent to sure death by the mobs. If you are intrigued by side stories of history, this film will be fully satisfying. In subtitles that caused us to miss the Austrian accent on the French-speaking Queen (Diane Kruger).