Man Candy Monday: Louis XIV

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I haven’t watched ALL the films that feature France’s Louis XIV, but I’ve watched a few. So, here are my favorite depictions of the Sun King.

 

Richard Chamberlain – The Man in the Iron Mask (1977)

You cannot deny that of all the Louises out there, Chamberlain’s is one of the prettiest.

 

Didier Sandre – L’Allée du Roi (1996)

Sandre plays an older version of the Sun King, embodying the requisite gravitas of the king in his middle years.

 

Thierry Lhermitte – Marquise (1997)

I haven’t watched this one yet, but it’s on my list.

 

Leonardo di CaprioThe Man in the Iron Mask (1998)

DiCaprio was my hands-down least favorite Louis XIV. Read my review on The Man in the Iron Mask if you really want to know the depth of my loathing for this film.

 

Julian SandsVatel (2000)

It’s been ages since I watched Vatel, but I have never forgotten Julian Sands as Louis XIV.

 

Benoît Magimel – Le Roi Danse (2000)

Benoît Magimel is hands-down my favorite Louis XIV. If for no other reason than GOD DAMN, HE’S PRETTY.

 

Robert Sheehan – Young Blades (2005)

I’m saving this one for Snark Week fodder.

 

Alan RickmanA Little Chaos (2014)

Colonel Brandon as Louis XIV reunites with Marion Dashwood who is now a gardener or something. Wasn’t my favorite film, but I love Rickman regardless.

Alan Rickman, A Little Chaos

 

George Blagden – Versailles (2015-)

Another young Sun King, George Blagden is nothing if not intense in the role. The tension between Louis and his brother Philippe (Alexander Vlahos) is one of the reasons I keep returning to watch the series. Both are exceedingly easy on the eyes, too.

 

Jean-Pierre Léaud – The Death of Louis XIV (2016)

Léaud’s portrayal of the dying Sun King has garnered quite a bit of praise, and I can’t wait to watch the film.

 

If you have a favorite Louis XIV that you think I should see, tell me in the comments!

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Clothing & Textile Design and a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture, with an emphasis on fashion history. When she’s not caught in paralyzing existential dread, she's drinking craft cocktails and writing about historical costume in film and television. She's been pissing people off on the internet since 1995.

20 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    I’ve been trying to find Le Roi Danse since you reviewed it, but no such luck. While there are portions on YouTube including a making of feature on the dancing and maybe a Spanish subtitles (Spanish isn’t a language I speak besides hello, where’s the Loo? etc.) I want either a region 1 DVD or a version combining spoken French with English subtitles. Or Netflix, Hulu or Starz to have the title.

    Reply
      • Susan Pola Staples

        I asked a year ago, but there wasn’t a Region 1 that they could get, but will try again. Thanks.

        Reply
        • Sarah Lorraine

          I haven’t been able to find a Region 1 DVD of “Le Roi Danse”. I ordered a Region 2 and watched it on my Mac, which can switch between regions. Also, screen shots. ;)

          But you can also find Region-free DVD players on amazon for pretty cheap these days. I had one for years, prior to FF being a thing.

          Reply
  2. picasso Manu

    Oh, there are a LOT more out there… Including a slew of cute kids Louis in “mousquetaires” or associated period films.
    But by age, for me, the best are:
    “Le roi danse”: Not a Magimel fan per se, but the movie really showcase what a consummate showman Louis was. That man organized his life as a PERMANENT show!
    Sandre was good, too, but, well, Alan Rickman… nuff said!
    And the last one looks fascinating (and Leaud is a great actor!)

    But one that didn’t make it on there is “la prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV” Roberto Rosselini… It’s a French TV film from 1966, so may not be easy to find.
    There are bits on YouTube, though.

    PS: Versailles series? Philippe for the win!

    Reply
    • Penny H

      “Taking of power” should be easily available from local libraries since it’s part of the Criterion Collection.

      Reply
    • Morag

      I second Pride de Pouvoir. Maybe not like the Louis of many of these shows, but also a really interesting portrayal!

      Reply
    • M.E. Lawrece

      Leaud is very fine, but I can’t bear the idea of seeing him as a dying old man, Sun King or not.

      Reply
  3. Morag

    Chamberlain was great in the 1977 Man in the Iron Mask adaptation (and Leonardo DiCaprio completely massacred the character in the 1998 adaptation). By far though, my favourite Man in the Iron Mask Louis XIV has got to be Louis Hayward from the 1939 version. He plays the dual-role so well in the film (as the King he is so evil, but in a way which is incredibly fun to watch!) and I think in general it is an adaptation well worth seeing!

    Reply
  4. Damnitz

    I would prefer Stéphane Legros in “La fille de D’Artagnan” as the young king (he is 13 or 14 in the film) and Didier Sandre as the old one.

    But there is a film “Louis, enfant roi” which is looking very interesting too (French from 1993).

    Reply
  5. Claudia Trent

    Chamberlain was great in the 1977 Man in the Iron Mask adaptation (and Leonardo DiCaprio completely massacred the character in the 1998 adaptation).

    I didn’t have a problem with DiCaprio’s performance, since he was portraying a young version of Louis XIV. But I’m not a fan of the movie overall.

    Reply

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