Marie Antoinette Overview:

Marie Antoinette (1938) was a Drama - Drama Film directed by W.S. Van Dyke and Julien Duvivier and produced by Hunt Stromberg and Irving Thalberg.

The film was based on the biography Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman written by Stefan Zweig 1932.


A long, lavish biopic chronicling the life of the French queen (Shearer) who wanted only a simple life on a farm, but was finally consumed by the French Revolution. Central to the film's story, adapted from the best-selling biography by Stefan Zweig, are the intrigues at Versailles and the scandal of the diamond necklace. Power, on loan from Fox (in exchange for Spencer Tracy's appearance in Stanley and Livingstone), plays Marie's Swedish lover Ferson and Morley is excellent as weak Louis XVI. A big-budget showcase for Shearer's return after a two-year absence while she grieved the loss of husband and MGM production chief Irving Thalberg. While Sidney Franklin spent years preparing to direct the film, studio boss Mayer forced him to stand back and allow no-nonsense Van Dyke to take over.

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


Academy Awards 1938 --- Ceremony Number 11 (source: AMPAS)

Best Supporting ActorRobert MorleyNominated
Best ActressNorma ShearerNominated
Best Art DirectionCedric GibbonsNominated
Best Music - ScoringHerbert StothartNominated

BlogHub Articles:

Marie Antoinette (1938)

By Amanda Garrett on Jun 3, 2016 From Old Hollywood Films

Today, I'm reviewing the 1938 biopic of French Queen Marie Antoinette, starring Norma Shearer. This article is part of The Royalty on Film Blogathon hosted by The Flapper Dame. Eighteenth century French Queen Marie Antoinette is still a pop culture icon for her over-the-top fashions and her ... Read full article

Marie Antoinette (1938)

By Beatrice on Dec 2, 2013 From Flickers in Time

Marie Antoinette Directed by W.S. Van Dyke Written by Claudine West, Donald Ogden Stewart, and Ernest Vajda based in part on the book by Stefan Zweig 1938/USA Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer First viewing I am not big on 2 1/2 hour-plus costume dramas … especially if Norma Shearer is going to play a tee... Read full article

See all Marie Antoinette articles

Quotes from

Count Axel de Fersen: I must let you go. Goodbye.
Marie: Good night. Or, if you wish good morning. I shall never say goodbye.

Marie: Take me in your arms again. Let me have that memory. When I loose heart to go on I shall close my eyes, feel your arms about me. I shall know that I'm in your thoughts, that your loving me...
Count Axel de Fersen: Always, my dear... always.
Marie: me strength to live... goodbye, my love. (they kiss)

Mme. du Barry: I presume I shall not have the honor of meeting his Royal Highness?
Marie: My husband does not care for dancing, madame.
Mme. du Barry: Quite the family man, isn't he? The fireside, the nursing room and all that? To the duc Orleans: Well, here is my old friend and how well he takes the husband's place!
Marie: I'm sorry you feel your triumph incomplete, madame. My husband has better sense than I. He knows where to draw the line.
King Louis XV: (to du Barry) Will you dance, Madame?
Mme. du Barry: (ignoring the King's request) So that's it? I'm dirt, ah? Not good enough for your high and mightiness?
Marie: But, nooo, madame! Royalty loves an occasional roll in the gutter, don't they Grand-pappa?

read more quotes from Marie Antoinette...

Facts about

From its initial inception up until right before the cameras started to roll, the film was designed to be shot in Technicolor. All of the sets and costumes were designed with color in mind. MGM went as far as to send the fox cape that Norma Shearer wears (to see Henry Stephenson on the night she becomes Queen) to New York to be specially dyed to match the blue of her eyes. Fearing that the addition of Technicolor would swell the already mammoth (for the time) $1.8-million budget, the production went before black-and-white cameras instead.
This film features only two of Marie Antionette and Louis XVI's two children. They in fact had four children. Their first son, Louis-Joseph, died at the age of eight of TB. In 1785 Dauphin County, Pennsylvania was named for him as a thank you to France for helping America win its independence. Their last child, Sophie Helene Beatrice, died before her first birthday.
The Los Angeles premiere was held at the legendary Carthay Circle Theatre, where the landscaping was specially decorated for the event.
read more facts about Marie Antoinette...
Share this page:
Visit the Classic Movie Hub Blog CMH
book or play

See All Film Adaptations >>
Best Actress Oscar 1938

See more Best Actress awards>>
Also directed by W.S. Van Dyke

More about W.S. Van Dyke >>
Also produced by Hunt Stromberg

More about Hunt Stromberg >>
Related Lists
Create a list

See All Related Lists >>
Also released in 1938

See All 1938 films >>
More "Book-Based" films

See All "Book-Based" films >>
More "Romance (Drama)" films

See All "Romance (Drama)" films >>
More "Paris" films

See All "Paris" films >>
More "Royalty" films

See All "Royalty" films >>