Sunday, October 13, 2019

L'aigle à deux têtes (1948) directed by Jean Cocteau

This film was based on the play, also written by jean Cocteau and was based very loosely on the deaths of Ludwig the second of Bavaria and Empress Elisabeth of Austria.


A queen whose king has died has kept her faced veiled in public for a decade life is changed and given a rather morbid direction when an anarchistic poet enters her chamber with the intention to kill her. She falls immediately in love with him, mostly because he a dead ringer for her dead husband but also because he is played by Jean Marias- Who wouldn't fall in love him?

Political intrigue ensues but there is a fatality about their love they can't escape. The queen states quite plainly they will be each other's demise at the start. She embraces this idea more than we think as, at the end, she angers the poet enough to stab her while he has taken poison to save her from political ruin. She thanks him for the knife in the back as she dies.

While not as sumptuous in style as Cocteau's more well know films, this film looks beautiful, not in small part because of the beauty of its stars - Edwidge Feuilliére and Jean Marias. Both are fantastic in  their roles and the cinematography shows off the countryside and castle sets in the best light possible. The story moves along a decent pace, taking time to build the characters that are both iconic and real feeling at the time.

A nice rare behind the scenes shot.

No comments: