Si Versailles m'était conté (1954)
aka: Affairs in Versailles
A film directed by Sacha Guitry

Genre: Comedy / Drama / History


Si Versailles m'était conté photo
What tales the château of Versailles could tell us if its walls could speak…  From the halcyon days of excess and grandeur under the reign of the "sun king" Louis XIV, to the tragic years of the French Revolution which brought an ignoble end to the French monarchy…  From the intrigue of Madame de Montespan to the genius of Molière…  So many stories to tell, so many lives to remember...
© 2012

Film Review

Towards the end of his career, writer and film director Sacha Guitry made three major historical films, each of which earned him critical acclaim and each of which has retained an enduring popularity. Si Versailles m'était conté is arguably the best of the three, although its sister films Si Paris nous était conté and Napoléon are also highly regarded by many. All three films are lavish, well-scripted episodic historical films, featuring a dizzying cast of France's best-known actors.

As the title suggests, Si Versailles m'était conté tells the life of the château of Versailles, the magnificent royal palace built by Louis XIV just outside Paris - which now serves as a Mecca for tourists of all nationalities and the set for innumerable period dramas. Instead of making this a heavy historical drama, Guitry tells the history of the palace in the form of a visual poem, through a naturally flowing series of sketches.

As in the other two historical frescos, Guitry is able to call upon an unprecedented cast of some of France's finest film actors (to which we must add Orson Welles). Jean Marais, Jean-Louis Barrault, Gérard Philipe and Micheline Presle are just some of the stars of the period who make this a sumptuous theatrical feast. Guitry himself appears in the film in the part of an ageing Louis XIV, appropriately looking back on his glorious past as he faces the final curtain.
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If you like Si Versailles m'était conté you may also like: Ridicule (1996), The Madness of King George (1994), Les Trois mousquetaires [TV] (1959) and Mayrig (1992).
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