The shortened US Blu-ray by Film Movement was compared to the uncut German DVD by Galileo Medien.
The theater director Molière and his crew are just passing through Lyon when he sees the dancer Marquise on the street, whose performance immediately fascinates him. He gives his friend and acting colleague Gros-René the order to win Marquise for his company. Without further ado, Gros-René proposes marriage to her, which Marquise accepts. During her first performance on stage, she loses her voice, so that the next time she appears before the king's brother, she is only allowed to dance. He is so enthusiastic about her that he demands that she should dance before the king next. But Marquise wants to be perceived as an actress and therefore wants to throw herself off a bridge in the castle garden. The author Jean Racine, who has secretly fallen in love with her, keeps her from doing so. Her dance fascinates the king, who now demands Molière to write a tragedy. With the support of Racine and Molière, Marquise manages to gain great prestige as an actress, but her fame is extremely fragile.
The opulent costume drama about the rise and fall of a young actress at the French court shines with excellent costumes and sets on the one hand, but often loses itself in content with sometimes quite simple drama on the other. Sophie Marceau has no good memories of the shooting and did not get along at all with director Véra Belmont.
US Blu-ray shortened in two scenes
Unfortunately, the US Blu-ray by Film Movement only contains a shortened version of the film with two scenes missing. One is the scene in which Molière is rehearsing with Marquise when pregnant Armande appears, telling her that she was beaten up by nuns. The second scene that is missing is the funeral of Gros-René. The reason why the two scenes were removed is somewhat obscure. At least the first scene is important for the plot. Maybe it is because in both scenes the Catholic Church is looked at critically. Armande reports about being beaten by the nuns and that she is carrying the devil's child. At the funeral, Molière criticizes that the Catholic Church does not allow Gros-René a proper burial. In the original version, the title of the film is shown again about three minutes after the first fade in. Why this is done is not entirely clear. On the German DVD, the second insertion was removed by reusing a shot of Molière.
US BD: 115:50 Min.
The BD begins with the Film Movement Classics logo.
The DVD starts with the amlf logo.
BD: 8 sec.
DF: 12 sec.
Alternative title insertion.
No time difference.
The BD shows the announcer running down and the movie title is shown again.
Instead, the DVD cuts to Molière before Marquise goes on stage. (The same shot can be seen again later).
No time difference. (each 3 sec.)
After the scene in which the marquise danced for the king without underwear, another scene follows on the DVD.
Molière is rehearsing a scene with Marquise on stage, when the actress Armande shows up completely beaten up. She says that she went to confession and was beaten up by the nuns because they thought she was carrying the devil's child. Molière tries to calm her down by sending her to Madeleine. Armande asks him if Madeleine is her mother or her sister, since there are rumors that she is carrying not only the son but also the grandson of Molière. Molière considers this to be evil rumors spread by the clergy. Armande thinks that Molière is ashamed of her and therefore gave the role to Marquise. Marquise says that the pregnant Armande cannot play a virgin and that it would be best if she took the role. Molière tries to appease Armande, but a messenger arrives who says that the king wants to see Molière tomorrow.
The next shot shows the king a bit earlier.
DVD: 2:27 min.
After the death of Gros-René, another scene follows.
The listeners clap longer.
A carriage is used to drive Gros-René's coffin to the grave. Molière holds the farewell speech at his grave in front of the mourners. He accuses that Gros-René was denied a Christian burial. The poisoner comes to Racine and tries to blackmail him, since she has now apparently paved the way for Marquise. Racine does not want to know anything about this.
DVD: 2:58 min.