A wasted opportunity

Since I started watching Rose of Versailles, I have been sorely reminded how much I hate “The Affair of the Necklace” film. It was such a waste of good source material. And to be quite frank, Hillary Swank was dull as a board in it.

Let me tell you about Jeanne de Valois.She was descended from illegitimate royal lines, and when the pension the Royal family provided wasn’t enough, she cheerfully turned to crime.

She committed epic fraud with help from her husband and her gigolo lover against a Cardinal who was also one of her boyfriends, with forged letter from ‘Marie Antoinette’ persuading him to buy an exorbitantly expensive necklace for the Queen. She disguised a blind prostitute as Marie Antoinette to fool said Cardinal into believing said fraud, and when he bought the necklace,her husband and boyfriend set about selling it.

When she was caught, declared “well, Marie Antoinette was totes in on it, because she’s my girlfriend!”. This woman was a pivotal figure in completely ruining Marie Antoinette’s reputation, and instead of feeling any guilt about it, she considered it her spotlight and embraced it.

And in this film, they made her 'fight for her rights as a noble’. The tagline of the film is “Her birthright was stolen. Her dignity taken. Her rights denied. Deception was the only option”.

Um. What? She was much more interesting as a con artist! She busted out of jail disguised as a boy! She legged it to England, where she made even more money by writing a book about how naughty she was! She died when she accidentally fell out a window, when trying to climb down the front of a hotel to escape her creditors! This is not a noble dignified woman on a quest for her rights!

For all that the cast was incredible (Joely Richardson, Jonathan Pryce, Simon Baker, Adrien Brody, Brian Cox etc), good lord, that film annoyed me.

Now, if it had been a crime caper, which showed Jeanne for the cunning fabulous vixen she was, that would have been awesome. Like Bonnie and Clyde and her boyfriend in period dress. I would watch the hell out of that.


A selection of women to play Marie Antoinette in film:

Norma Shearer (Marie Antoinette, 1938)

Kirsten Dunst (Marie Antoinette, 2006)

Ute Lemper (L'Autrichienne, 1990)

Christine Böhm (Lady Oscar, 1979)

Charlotte de Turckheim (Jefferson in Paris, 1995)

Raphaëlle Agogué (Louis XVI: l'homme qui ne voulait pas être roi, 2011)

Diane Kruger (Farewell My Queen, 2012)

Jane Seymour (La Revolution Francaise, 1989)

Karinne Vanasse (Marie Antoinette: La Veritable Histoire, 2006)

Joely Richardson (The Affair of the Necklace, 2001)

Hilary Swank as Jeanne de Saint-Rémy de Valois and Adrien Brody as Nicolas de la Motte in The Affair of the Necklace (2001).