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The Marquis Of O [1976] [DVD]

4.1 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Edith Clever, Bruno Ganz, Peter Luhr, Edda Seippel, Bernard Freyd
  • Directors: Eric Rohmer
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Arrow
  • DVD Release Date: 24 May 2004
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001V01MA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 127,140 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

This Cannes Grand Prix-winning film was a major departure for the great French director Eric Rohmer, who temporarily abandoned his usual studies of lovelorn and philosophically inclined compatriots in favour of a German-language costume adaptation of a novel by Goethe s contemporary Heinrich von Kleist. Visually ravishing (it was inspired by 18th-century painting, and the cinematographer is the great Nestor Almendros, who works wonders with candle-light), it tells the story of a widowed noblewoman (Edith Clever) who inadvertently finds herself pregnant two years after her husband s death, a situation guaranteed to inflame the prejudices of the era (not least those of her family) especially since she genuinely doesn t know who the father is, and has to place a newspaper advertisement inviting him to come forward. Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire, Downfall) is the charming Russian count who seems to know more about the marquise s predicament than she herself does.


A fascinating and sympathetic portrait of an abused woman is given life and depth by Rohmer's eloquent direction.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"Marquise of O" is a film directed by Eric Rohmer (Jean Marie Maurice Schérer), and based on a story written by Heinrich von Kleist a long time ago. That story was somehow strange, but extremely original. The same can be said about this movie.

The main character is the beautiful marquise of O (Edith Clever), a young French woman that lives with her parents and her two daughters, leading a virtous life after the death of her husband. During the late nineteenth century Franco-Prussian war, the marquise is saved from rape by a handsome Russian count (Bruno Ganz). Overwrought by the incident, the marquise is given a potion to sleep. The following day she wants to thank the count, but is informed that he has left with the Russian troops.

The marquise of O goes on with her life, until two extremely unusual things happen. First, the count returns to her life, wanting to marry her immediately. Secondly, the marquise discovers that she is pregnant, and is immediately banished from her parents' house. But how did that happen, if the marquise swears that she has remained chaste after the death of her husband?

All in all, I can say that this movie is interesting, capable of entertaining but also of making you reflect on temptation, standards of propriety, and what is right and wrong. Moreover, the cinematography is so good that the spectator starts to believe that he is indeed watching something that happened a long time ago. Even though this is far from being my favourite Rohmer film, it is more than good enough to recommend, and that is the reason why I give it 3.5 stars.

Belen Alcat
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The Marquise Von O is based on a short novel by Heinrich von Kleist of early 1800s. It is set in northern Italy during the Napoleonic campaigns. It's like a fairy tale, suspended between dream and reality, romantic , chivalrous. Rohmer's adaptation is visually beautiful, scenes looks like paintings. Actors are excellent, though their acting appear unnatural, like outdated stage performances, that's part of the charms of this film which is a little jewel . Delicate and enchanting.
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One of the things that's striking about this film is the way it is based on the kind of story you might read in the tabloids; it could be quite vulgar, given that it is based on a man taking advantage of a woman in her sleep and the 'inexplicable' pregnancy that results, but Kleist's novella gives it a highly elevated treatment with an allegorical aspect adding to its psychological depth (the story of the swan). The conscious and unconscious promptings of the two main characters, as well as the changing reactions of the woman's parents, give the story a superb depth, while the surface remains true to both Kleist's mystery and Rohmer's sense that the world almost exists through dialogues. The elegance of the German, and the lengths to which the explanations go, make for a most pleasing surface which asserts good manners as much as what has happened contradicts them. We are also led to ponder the significance of his act, while this is the one thing that is never discussed - can we reconcile rape with a decent character, as he seems to be? The answer to this seems to be yes, magnanimously, but only because of the exceptional circumstances. And this does not mean that his actions were acceptable, of course. Does the context of a military siege of a citadel make it more explicable? And the fact that he saved her from being raped by a whole group of soldiers - who were subsequently executed for the attempt, although he tried to stop it? The tone of irony is beautifully sustained, and at the same time the compositions recreate the world familiar from German paintings of the period and give much pleasure. The graceful camerawork of Nestor Almendros has a lot to do with this: whenever he is chief cameraman, as with Sven Nykvist, you know that there will be a lot to enjoy visually in the film ...Read more ›
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The Marquis of O is a superb adaptation by Eric Rohmer of Heinrich von Kleist’s 1808 novella set in 1799 during the Napoleonic wars which concerns the widowed Marquise of O (Edith Clever), a German aristocrat saved by a Russian Count (Bruno Ganz) from gang rape only to be anonymously impregnated during her sleep the same night. The mysterious pregnancy alienates her from her father (Peter Lühr), her mother (Edda Seippel), her brother (Otto Sander) and the Prussian aristocratic society they represent, while the Russian Count tries his level best to marry her as quickly as possible despite knowing her condition. What Rohmer has done here is to brilliantly invert his usual style with rapier effect. In his Moral Tales he depicts the contemporary world through the 18th century literary and philosophic Enlightenment tradition as rendered by the romantic triangle of Murnau’s Sunrise. The ideas of Pascal, Bruyère, Rouchfoucauld and Stendhal permeate 6 variations on a theme which give a highly literary flavor to the dialogs of those films. In The Marquise of O he takes an Enlightenment text and translates it ‘book in hand’ to the screen. He lets the ideas of the time speak for themselves whilst deploying distancing devices which retain the ‘modernity’ of the Moral Tales. We see this distancing (first person narration forcing us to ‘observe’ rather than ‘participate’) in the earlier films as being the influence of the Enlightenment, but in The Marquise of O we see the same distancing as being the influence of modernity, most notably the alienation of Berthold Brecht. The author’s hand (Kleist through Rohmer) is kept very obvious throughout. The narrative unfolds exactly as Kleist’s book does with long intertitles breaking it up into a series of painterly tableaux.Read more ›
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