Marie Antoinette (1938)
French King Louis XVI identified by his gold coin portrait
The 1938 MGM film "Marie Antoinette" is loosely based on the life of 18th century French queen.
Canadian actress Norma Shearer plays Marie Antoinette and Robert Morley plays her husband,
the Dauphin (crown prince) of France and later King Louis XVI.
They both, of course, are executed during the French Revolution.
The are stopped by revolutionary soldiers and are charged 20 francs. Louis gives a man a coin
and they are allowed to pass. Later, two officials examine the gold coin and notice that the man in
the coach looks like the portrait on the coin. They send some soldiers ahead to intercept the coach
and capture the family.
queen of France in 1774 at the death of her father-in-law, King Louis XV.
Most of the events in the film take place after the start of the French Revolution in 1789.
Marie Antoinette is the daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.
2. Empress Maria Theresa and Marie Antoinette
Empress Maria Theresa is the lady of the famous coin, the Austrian Maria Theresa thaler.
3. Maria Theresa thaler
Silver, 41mm, 28.07gm
The Maria Theresa thaler, a popular silver dollar sized Austrian coin, was first struck in 1780,
the year of her death and has been struck off and on all over the world by various mints since then.
man is the Dauphin.
4. Who's the groom?
Unfortunately for Marie, Prince Louis is physically unatractive, shy, and not interested in marriage.
She goes through with the wedding and afterward, alone with him, he has something to tell her.
5. By the way
Louis tells Marie that he can not produce children.
She begins to live extravagantly and having affairs.
6. Count Axel declares his love
He declares that he has loved her since he was a child and they begin an affair.
7. Telling off Mme. du Barry
At another party, Marie suggests to du Barry that she knows the streets of Paris, implying that
she was a streetwalker or prostitute.
The births are open to the nobility, including one famous American visitor.
8. Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin asks about the open birth procedure and is told that it is to ensure the correct heir.
Marie is disliked because of her wasteful spending and her foreign birth.
9. The mob invades the palace
Count Axel returns and arranges for Russian passports and a coach for Marie's family to leave
France and head to Austria.
10. Revolutionary soldiers stop coach
As the passengers look rich, the soldiers demand a 20 franc tax.
11. The king pays 20 francs
The king pays them with a coin and the coach is allowed to proceed.
Later two officials examine their coins and notice something about the last one.
12. Examining the coin
The official states that it is a gold coin of Louis XVI.
The prop coin was specially made for the film with a portrait of actor Robert Morley.
An actual coin of Louis XVI looks somewhat different.
A Louis d'or from 1786
15. France Louis d'or Louis XVI 1786
Gold, 24mm, 7.64gm
The official examines the coin again and sees a resemblance to the recent coach passenger.
16. That face looks familiar
The official sends soldiers to intercept the coach.
17. The king identified
The king is identified by a priest who used to work in the palace.
The king spends his last night with his family.
18. The last night
Later, soldiers take Marie's son from her and later a court sentences her to death.
Count Axel is able to visit Marie for one last time and again declares his love for her.
19. One last meeting
Marie is taken to a town square for the execution while Count Axel watches from a roof.
20. The place of execution
Marie is brought in plain clothes to the site and she remembers when her mother told her
who she was going to marry.
21. Marie remembers "I will be Queen of France"
Count Axel wears a ring which Marie had given him earlier.
22. Count Axel's ring
The ring reads "Everything leads me to thee"
Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette
Tyrone Power as Count Axel de Fersen
John Barrymore as King Louis XV
Robert Morley as King Louis XVI
Writers: Claudine West, Donald Ogden Stewart, Ernest Vajda, Stefan Zweig