Queen Margot

The most oversold French movie of 1994, rivaled only by the previous year’s Germinal (which was directed by the producer of this one, Claude Berri). This unpleasant period spectacle of sweat, gore, grime, and dry humpingbased on Alexandre Dumas’ novel, and built around the bloody intrigues ensuing in 1572 from the forced marriage of Marguerite of Valois (Isabelle Adjani), the French king’s Catholic sister, nicknamed Margot, and Henri of Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), an unkempt Protestantwas reduced with the director’s input from 164 to 143 minutes, apparently to acquire an R rating. I haven’t seen the longer version, but they still haven’t cut out all the boring parts, and what anyone could have liked about this movie to begin with is a mystery to me. Patrice Chereau, the director, who wrote the script with Daniele Thompson, has a reputation as one of the best opera and theater directors around, and his previous feature, L’homme blesse, has many defenders. But apart from the production values, I would never have guessed it on the evidence offered here. With Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vincent Perez, Virna Lisi, and Jean-Claude Brialy. (JR)

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