TBT: Lady Oscar (1979)

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A drinking game for 1979’s Lady Oscar: drink every time you see a shitty nylon lace bib instead of a cravat!

Oh, the things my 18th Century Quest (to see as many 18th-century-set films as I can) makes me do. Lady Oscar is the live-action film adaptation of the massively popular manga Rose of Versailles — as opposed to the animated adaptation. Now, I know that there are LEGIONS of INCREDIBLY ENTHUSIASTIC FANS of Rose of Versailles (both the manga and the anime). I don’t know if that adoration extends to Lady Oscar, but if it does and you’re a Rose fan, be forewarned: I’ve never read the manga or seen the anime (I know, y’all keep telling me I should!), so I have zero attachment to the story, characters, plot, etc. And, I am going to mock the shit out of it. If that offends you on principle, then please, stop reading this review! I have NO PROBLEM with you loving anything about this story and its various adaptations. I get it. We all have guilty and not-so-guilty pleasures. Please feel free to continue to love this thing with my blessing. (And yes, from the bit I’ve read, it sounds like many fans of Rose of Versailles would argue that Lady Oscar doesn’t capture the original’s genius. Noted.)

If, however, you’re like me and unfamiliar with this oeuvre or want to know about the historical accuracy of its costumes or just feel like settling in with a pink drink for some laughs, join me!

The short version: Lady Oscar is the fictional tale of a noblewoman who was raised as a man (but still wears a full face of modern makeup), serves as personal guard to French Queen Marie-Antoinette, and has some Boy and Gender Issues, all while the French Revolution happens around her.

The long version: General Jarjayes (some kind of nobleman) has way too many daughters. His wife dies giving birth to yet another, and instead of being upset about his dead wife, he announces that the girl child will be a boy named Oscar. I didn’t realize it worked that way.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Too many daughters! He just needs to go Sound of Music on them and buy a whistle.

Then follows an incredibly long credit sequence in which I am confused whether I am watching something set in the 18th century or Miami Vice.

Lady Oscar (1979)

THE FONTS! THE COLORS! Where’s the palm tree?

Oscar is raised with the poor grandchild of her nurse, Andre. The two spend a lot of time sword fighting.

Lady Oscar (1979)

That, my dears, is a young Patsy Kensit, aka the freaky blonde wife in Angels & Insects.

Oscar and Andre are CLOSE.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Cue weird scene in which they snuggle in the barn with a huge doll in between them.

Now Oscar (and Andre) are all growed up! Dad summons them to announce that he has obtained a post for Oscar as guard to Queen Marie-Antoinette, and for Andre in the royal stables. Oscar is pumped. Andre is not. I am aghast at all the hair problems.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Her: BANGS. Hair on the sides of the face that should be rolled into “buckles.”
Him: DEAR GOD. Wait till you see the back!

In this movie’s favor, it really WAS filmed (at least partially) at the palace of Versailles:

Yep, that’s Versailles all right. Although I always hate the weirdly posed “hello we’re chatting” people in shots like this. OTOH, I SO want a sedan chair.

Oscar is literally the queen’s (only?) guard. She stands around while Marie-Antoinette has her hair styled by Léonard, the Duchesse de Polignac manipulates the queen, Rose Bertin shows up with some ugly dresses, Comte Fersen won’t stop staring at the queen’s window while Marie-Antoinette flutters, and the king pops by in all his nylon lace glory.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Oscar is very pro-grandma-nylon-lace bib.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Did I mention that this movie was sponsored by Shiseido Cosmetics? Sadly none of these pics really captures the amount of blue eyeshadow spackled onto Oscar.

Henry IV

Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s Maybelline Shiseido?

Lady Oscar (1979)

Léonard styles Marie-Antoinette’s hair.

Lady Oscar (1979)

The Duchesse de Polignac is very Morgan Fairchild-y.

Lady Oscar (1979)

MA’s dress is very bust-dart-y and poly baroque satin, but they did the inverted V trimming popular in this era, so that’s something.

Lady Oscar (1979)

“I’m the QUEEN! I get to have back-lacing (with horrible stress wrinkles) if I wanna!”

Lady Oscar (1979)

Rose Bertin showing off her latest round of dresses sponsored by the JoAnne’s Casa Collection.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Polignac manipulates MA into buying her a dress. Exhibit A as to why lacing a satin gown isn’t usually a good idea.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Apparently Fersen does this for like 20 minutes straight, even when the king shows up.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Oscar is peeved that Louis XVI gets more shitty nylon lace for his bib than she does.

Meanwhile, in a subplot that confuses me as to its presence, Jean Jeanne (apparently pronounced “jeen”) is the daughter of a laundrywoman, and she wants something more. She puts on a dress owned by a noblewoman that her mother and sister have finished washing, accosts a random lady in a carriage and tells her that she is the orphaned daughter of the house of Valois.

Lady Oscar (1979

Jean Jeanne’s sister Rosalie (shitty mob cab, left) and mother (right) are both team Swingin’ Free. No corsets needed here!

Lady Oscar (1979

Jean Jeanne gets to be a pretty pretty princess, with a front-opening gown to boot!

Back at Versailles, Oscar stands guard while Marie-Antoinette and various courtiers play cards. The aristocrat who took in Jean Jeanne suggests to Fersen that he marry her. He gets up, coughs a little bit, Oscar pats him on the back, and he tells her “You saved my life.” Huh?

Lady Oscar (1979)

Fersen gets a little flirty with Oscar…

Lady Oscar (1979

Telling her that there’s a trend for ladies dressing as men at Versailles, like these two.

Andre is irritated that Oscar is talking to Fersen. He drives her home. Rosalie accosts Oscar’s coach, prostituting herself for money/food. Oscar insists that there’s no way anyone in Paris could be hungry. Rosalie tells Oscar that people are starving. OSCAR IS SHOCKED. HOW COULD ANDRE NEVER HAVE TOLD HER. Andre gets flirty with Rosalie.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Rosalie assumes Oscar is a man, despite the 20,000 pounds of blue eyeshadow, pink blush, and pink lipstick Oscar is wearing.

Lady Oscar (1979)

I feel like that cap started life as some mid-1970s ladies’ polyester underwear.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Savor the details of Andre’s hair, please. Yes, he has a crappy ponytail attached to his all-over layered cut.

As Oscar and Andre pull away, another aristocrat in a passing coach runs over Rosalie’s (and Jean Jeanne’s) mother.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Nice hat!

Lady Oscar (1979)

Instead of doing anything useful, Rosalie just hugs her mother and tells her “Don’t tremble so!” Because 1) that’s gonna help, and 2) that’s not cheesy.

Oscar stops yet ANOTHER coach, asking this aristocrat to get a doctor. He goes off on the lower classes and how they should all just die. Oscar is offended, the two bicker, and a duel is arranged. Rosalie & Jean Jeanne’s mother dies.

Lady Oscar (1979)

That night, Oscar’s father is proud that she’s dueling for the honor of the Jarjayes name. Oscar asks Andre to sleep in her room like they used to.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Oscar not only sleeps dressed, she leaves her over-the-knee leather boots on. Andre gets creepy and watches her sleep.

The duel happens. Oscar shoots the other guy.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Rosalie goes to tell Jean Jeanne that their mother is dead. Jean Jeanne just wants Rosalie gone, because she might blow her cover.

Lady Oscar (1979)

I’m not saying this is a great dress, but if it’s supposed to be a court style, and considering the other stunners in this film, it ain’t half bad.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Jean Jeanne is getting ready to be married, and she’s made friends with the Cardinal de Rohan, who’s very oily.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Oily cardinal is oily.

Rosalie continues to try to prostitute herself, but some rando who isn’t Andre, but who looks just like him (including Really Bad Hair) intervenes and says he’ll get her a job.

Lady Oscar (1979)

SO MUCH LIMP HAIR.

Oscar and Andre head to a tavern, where they meet Robespierre and others who are discussing reform. Oscar starts a brawl with some rando, and everyone joins in.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Robespierre.

After the duel, a wounded Oscar and Andre are found in the street by Count Fersen, who takes them home. Oscar’s nurse informs Fersen that Oscar is a woman. Fersen is SHOCKED but relieved because he’s been finding himself STRANGELY ATTRACTED to Oscar.
Lady Oscar (1979)

Oscar decides she needs to give the film some boobosity.

Lady Oscar (1979)

This is how she sleeps: topless, pants on, over-the-knee boots on. Uh huh.

Fersen and Marie-Antoinette get it on. The voice-over tells us that People Are Watching.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Again, filmed at Versailles. This is a building on the grounds of the Trianon. I’ve been there!

Time passes. Fersen tells Oscar to tell Marie-Antoinette that he’s leaving to fight in America. He kisses Oscar’s hand, saying she should give that kiss to Marie-Antoinette, because he can’t face telling her himself. Andre sees, and is jealous.

Lady Oscar (1979)

This all happens while Oscar and Fersen get weirdly up close and personal with some statuary.

Jean Jeanne convinces Rohan that she’s good friends with Marie-Antoinette. He asks her to intercede on his behalf, since MA won’t speak to him. She allows herself to be talked into it.

Lady Oscar (1979)

There’s some good veil and hat action…

Lady Oscar (1979)

Even if Jean Jeanne is Team Face-Eating Wig.

Marie-Antoinette is hanging in the garden, planning the building of the Hameau (her fake peasant village). She gives an unnecessary soliloquy to Oscar about why she should be allowed to be frivolous. Oscar finally delivers Fersen’s goodbye. MA is heartbroken.

Lady Oscar (1979)

It was very important to me that you appreciate Marie-Antoinette’s ensemble in all its glory.

Lady Oscar (1979)

First of all, it has WEIRD CUT OUTS WITH LITTLE BOWS ON THE SHOULDER/ARM.

Lady Oscar (1979)

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK

It’s one of those hideous “cold shoulder” tops!

Lady Oscar (1979)

Also, I swear it is made of a nylon shower curtain.

Marie-Antoinette finally has her first child (a daughter). The court gathers to watch. Some random aristocrat gets all creepy/stare-y at Oscar. Louis XVI continues to rock the most shitty nylon lace of anyone:

Lady Oscar (1979)

That’s a lot of dead dinosaur, my friends.

Time has passed. Polignac shows up with some jewelers who try to sell Marie-Antoinette an over-the-top diamond necklace (yes, THE Diamond Necklace). MA likes it, but says she can’t afford it and sends the jeweler away. Polignac tells MA that Fersen has returned to court.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Marie-Antoinette is TOTALLY Team Face-Eating Wig.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Polignac’s hair is basically an afro. Plus bonus back-lacing.

Rosalie’s beau did get her a job — as a seamstress at Rose Bertin’s dress shop. The team snarks aristocrats while working on a dress that needs finishing for Tonight’s Ball!

Lady Oscar (1979)

Rosalie can now afford a curling iron and spackle.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Rose Bertin is very Angela Lansbury.

Who is this dress for? Why, none other than… LADY OSCAR! Andre shows up and sees Oscar in her dress. It’s A Moment(TM).

Lady Oscar (1979)

Okay, so it kind of passes muster as a court dress.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Even if it’s made of Kleenex. Note that Oscar is ALL WOMAN HERE.

Oscar shows up at the ball, but no one recognizes her, of course. Various randos try to hit on her, but she only has eyes for Fersen. The two dance, he sees a resemblance, she claims she’s Oscar’s cousin, he confesses he’s hot for Oscar but is taken.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Fersen’s favorite formal suit has this weird leaf embroidery down the outside of the arm, which is SO not an 18th-century embellishment aesthetic.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Apparently Marie-Antoinette’s dress is very gold…

Lady Oscar (1979)

… but it just looks beige on my shitty version.

Lady Oscar (1979)

I’m not sure where all the gold bits were before.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Please to savor Oscar’s hair from all angles.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Not only do we have BANGS (offense #1), we also have 19th-century style ringlets (offense #2)…

Lady Oscar (1979)

… plus a weird lump of hair on top of her head (offense #3) that has small braids over it.

Lady Oscar (1979)

It’s something, that’s for sure!

Oscar goes outside for air. Andre finds her and kisses her. She rebuffs him, he says he’ll never do it again in a “you’ll rue the day” sort of way.

Lady Oscar (1979)

“Oh Oscar, can’t you see that with my shitty hair and your shitty hair, we’re made for each other??!!”

Oh, and Rosalie uses Andre to finagle a trip to Versailles so that she can accost the lady who ran over her mother. It’s very random.

Marie-Antoinette is having her portrait — the famous Marie-Antoinette with a rose portrait — painted by Vigée Lebrun. A Richard Greico lookalike shows up with the king to tell her that’s she’s waaaaaaay overspending. MA is hearing none of it.

Lady Oscar (1979)

I don’t actually hate this painting, for once! It very much helps that it’s clearly In Progress. Why don’t more films do this?

Lady Oscar (1979)

Here’s their take on the portrait dress.

Lady Oscar (1979)

The back closure (ZIPPER?) is bad and the engageantes (sleeve ruffles) are waaaay too long.

Lady Oscar (1979)

The blue is too light, and the front is missing whatever white poufs are going on in the original portrait.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Richard Greico lookalike.

Jean Jeanne’s husband forges a letter from Marie-Antoinette asking Rohan to advance her the money for the Diamond Necklace in return for her favor. Rohan agrees.

Shitty back closure is shitty. Jean Jeanne’s hair looks like something Dolly Parton would wear.

With the encouragement of Polignac, Marie-Antoinette has decided to try her hand at theater. She’s had a theater built and is practicing a play (The Marriage of Figaro?) despite being warned that it’s not a good political move. Oscar is frustrated with the queen’s obtuseness and asks to be reassigned to the general guard. MA isn’t happy, but complies.

Lady Oscar (1979)

MA’s theater dress.

Oscar’s dad summons her to tell her that some slimy aristocrat (the same one who was all creepy/starey at the queen’s delivery) has asked to marry her. She thinks it’s a joke and says no, dad insists. Slimy Aristocrat and Andre have a dust-up in the hall, and Andre quits.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Ohhhhh, that purple voided velvet!

Lady Oscar (1979)

Plus more shitty nylon lace bibs!

The whole Diamond Necklace Affair comes out. Marie-Antoinette disregards the advice she’s given and requests a trial so that her name can be cleared.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Someone had a heavy hand with the tassels.

Oscar’s dad throws an engagement party for Oscar and Slimy Aristocrat. Oscar shows up late, in her uniform (despite dad expecting her to suddenly transform into a Perfect Female and wearing a dress, after spending her whole life living as a man). Oscar is purposefully rude, grabs a lady to dance with, and plants a big kiss on her. She thinks this should get her out of the marriage, but Slimy Aristocrat says no problem, he can’t wait to implement Plan Marquis de Sade with her.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Random drag queens at the party.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Oscar’s new ladyfriend.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Who, like 99% of people in this movie, truly thinks Oscar is a man.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Doesn’t matter, Slimy Aristocrat is still hot to trot.

Slimy Aristocrat plot thread gets completely dropped as of here. I am confused.

Oscar is in charge of a (troop? battalion?) of soldiers, who crack lots of jokes about her being a woman and don’t have their swords. Oscar is peeved, but runs into Andre who suggests that maybe her soldiers were forced to sell their swords. Oscar contemplates life, man.
Lady Oscar (1979)

Oscar runs into Andre again when listening to a revolutionary speaking in the street. She tells Andre that she’s disillusioned with the court, but when he asks her to run off with him, she says “not yet.”

Lady Oscar (1979)

I laughed out loud at the combination of makeup and lighting in this shot.

The revolution is coming. Marie-Antoinette continues to be obtuse. The dauphin has died.

Lady Oscar (1979)

This, apparently, is what everyone wore to the funeral.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Polignac’s (right) hair is very Edwardian.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Somebody less lazy than me: please confirm that MA and company wore black as mourning?

The Estates General happens! The king tries to lock out the Third Estate! Oscar is ordered to fire on The People! She refuses! The People go to the Tennis Court! Oscar goes to jail!

Lady Oscar (1979)

Clearly a lot of research was done into authenticity in lower class costume.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Oscar is Down With the People!

Revolutionaries come and free Oscar and her compatriots! Andre is there! Oscar goes to confront her father, randomly! He’s pissed that she didn’t follow orders. They duel. Instead of sticking with the Anachronistic Feminism of this whole thing, Oscar’s dad wounds Oscar’s hand, and Andre has to step in and defeat dad. Dad asks Andre to kill him. Andre refuses.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Thank god we went with the Conventional Trope of being Saved by a Man. Otherwise I would have been confused as to which patriarchy this was.

Oscar has realized she loves Andre. The two go to the barn and Get It On.

Lady Oscar (1979)

Bow chicka wow wow.

Marie-Antoinette “wakes up with her lover” (Fersen). She continues to be unaware of what’s brewing!

Lady Oscar (1979)

Dolly Parton SO approves of all the wigs in this film.

The People are happily off to storm the Bastille! Andre and Oscar join them, all tousled post-shagging.
Lady Oscar (1979)

The Bastille’s soldiers fire on The People! The crowd panics!

Lady Oscar (1979)

Oscar and Andre get separated! Oscar searches for Andre and vice versa! Andre gets shot and dies! The People capture the Bastille! Everyone dances, except Oscar who continues to search the crowd in vain for Andre!

THE END

 

What the fuck did I just watch?

29 Responses

  1. misat0

    as a huge fan of Rose of Versailles, I love this! I actually never watched this film, mostly for the reasons you mention, but now my curiosity was sparkled and I think it’s worth a good laugh!
    by the way, the costumes in the manga and anime aren’t historically accurate either, but the story and characters are still worth the reading/viewing.

    Reply
    • bespectacledbibliophile

      I, too, am a fan of Rose of Versailles, and I honestly think that a film adaptation could do more historically accurate costuming without damaging the story in the least. It might actually do a lot to reinforce Oscar’s androgyny. I’d love to see what a modern director could do with the story.

      Also, seconding the read/watchability of the series. It’s an enjoyable ride, and the extended run time of the show gives you time for a proper emotional arc instead of… whatever it was the movie did.

      Reply
  2. picasso Manu

    I’m sure that was something!
    And don’t bother with the anime or manga, it’s exactly the same thing from what I could read (sorry, I didn’t make it to the end, blood pressure off the charts)

    Oh, and it’s very easy to film in Versailles gardens, BTW… Getting inside? Now that’s another kettle of fish.
    A bit more easy in the last couple of years since the place is needing money (been a cash pit since Louis started building, hasn’t stopped since), but still.

    And I think you deserve another pink drink to have endured that… The hair! the back lacing! the make up!

    Reply
  3. lesartsdecoratifs

    White was the royal color of mourning in France until somewhere in the 17th century. After that it was black. But Marie Antoinette knew it was the old color of mourning and wore a white gown as her “widow’s weeds” to her execution. So it might be a deliberate foreshadowing for the next time MA would wearing mourning in public.

    I find this movie really puzzling. Its director is Jacques Demy who did actually some pretty great movies in his fairly short filmography. And since Demy is known for some very lush-looking films, I do wonder how this one would look in not-potato quality.

    The costumes are equally puzzling. Most of it looks like it’s straight out of Amadeus with princess seams and the like and yet there are two dresses (both worn by Jeanne de la Motte) that have the right conical shaped bodice. I get always getting it wrong. But I don’t understand why you get right twice or thrice and then dress up everyone else in ill-fitting potato sacks. Did the Shiseido money ran out?

    Reply
    • Kendra

      You’re right about white and MA, but that was during the revolution, and my vague memory is it’s how she reconciled the fact they MADE her wear white.

      I never get the mixed bag thing either. Maybe some of the costumes are rentals?

      Reply
      • Kendra

        Okay, I had to go look up the white/mourning thing! “Queen of Fashion” (Caroline Weber) says:

        – first of all, lots of reference to black worn by MA as mourning, including portraits
        – MA wore white to her execution — her outfit, including the color, was “imposed by her enemies’ restrictions and her own meager resources in the Conciergerie.”
        – and in a related footnote: “Although black, violet, and blue were the dominant colors of eighteenth-century royal mourning, Fraser points out that ‘no one remembered that in the past, white had been the mourning of the Queens of France.’ … I have been unable to determine when, exactly, darker shades replaced white in princely mourning gear… white was temporarily revived as a principal mourning color at the end of the seventeenth century, during a brief vogue for black in stylish (non-mourning) clothes, but I have found no published sources to back up this claim… 1789, Le Magasin des modes nouvelles categorically maintained that under the ancien regime, ‘mourning and even half-mourning were only ever worn in black’…”

        Reply
      • Lady Hermina De Pagan

        Wow, from my research MA was made to wear white in mockery of her famous/infamous adoption of the Chemise ala Rheine. While I have no data on French Royal mourning practices, in Spain the national color of mourning is saffron yellow.

        Reply
        • robintmp

          IIRC, they wouldn’t let her wear her black dress because it would remind people she was in mourning/a widow, and might cause some people to feel sorry for her (can’t have that when she’s supposed to be the demon bitch from Austria, you know), and the only other dress she had at that point was a white wrapper, so that was what she wore. Of course, the traditional association of white with innocence and purity (this after she was accused in open court of sexually abusing her son–she immediately appealed to all the mothers in the room, and the response from the women was such that her conviction was almost in doubt for a moment) blew the whole “demon bitch” business right out of the water, and made her look that much more vulnerable to boot.

          Reply
  4. picasso Manu

    Queens of France wore white… Or black dresses with a white “guimpe” covered with long white veil up to the Renaissance.
    Marie Stuart was one of the last one to do so, when she lost her first hubby.
    I guess Catherine de Medicis, who was a no nonsense woman, got fed up with the veil and chucked it away…
    And all that only for the King’s death anyway… Certainly not the Dauphin (And… The dauphin didn’t die then! What’s going on there?)

    And I hadn’t realized it was a Demy film… Not one of his best, for sure. But Demy is a fantasy film maker, not an historical one.
    Peau d’Ane, which is one of his best, is supposedly set during a somewhat Rennaissancy period, which gives us actors in tights (yeah!), but the famed dresses are not exactly period either. And since most of the story goes around those dresses, that can’t be a mistake either.

    Oh well, to each his own, I guess…

    Reply
  5. Saraquill

    Annoyed at some of the blatant liberties that the movie takes Rose of Versailles. I mean, was killing off Oscar’s mom really needed? Death in childbirth is so overdone Jane Austen made fun of it. Other details bother me as well, but I want to keep this short.

    Still, thanks for suffering through this movies so others like myself know even more to avoid it. Maybe one of these years I’ll get to see the Takarazuka show.

    Reply
  6. Athene

    How long was this thing? I mean, it must’ve gone on for weeks in order to include all the tropes” Cross-dressing, necklace, let-them-eat-cake, HAIR…

    Reply
  7. Catherine

    They couldn’t even bind her ‘tracts of land’, but then it’s half-ass drag (i’m hesitant to call it even that). I’ll just leave it at that, so much hurts.

    Reply
  8. Black Tulip

    There’s so much wrong here that it feels wrong to pick on just one dress, but . . .

    WHAT is going on with the 2 flowery things ‘adorning’ the bodice of the dress hanging up next to Jean/Jeanne in her pink pretty pretty princess frock?

    Reply
  9. Susan Pola

    I’ll pass. But isn’t there a portrait of MA where she’s in black? And I believe it was painted after the Dauphin died. And I also think it was done by Vignee Lebrun?
    Forget the pink drink, you deserve Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild and Macallan.

    Reply
    • Kendra

      Yes, definitely. I’m almost 99% sure that the whole “ancient queens wore white for mourning” was something mentioned in Queen of Fashion, and was either MA’s, or the author’s, way of interpreting the fact that the revolutionaries made MA wear white.

      Reply
  10. Karin

    I know there’s so many things wrong with this film, and so many weirdnesses (the worst? Oscar takes off her shirt and she’s wearing nothing underneath… practicality to the wind!). Still, I love it. I usually hate bad costuming, but this is just so beyond anything, and the crazy-sauce story, the drama, the romance…
    I totally loved any kind of stories of cross-dressing gals as a teen, and so I loved this movie when I saw it on TV one rainy Sunday afternoon. It rarely ever gets shown at all. I bought the DVD 20 years later after I realied that my anime-loving friend loved Lady Oscar too – from seeing the anime seeries as a kid. And I did realise just how wrong it was, but it still has a special place in my heart. I have since read the manga – and that’s quite a few books! Love that one too.
    There’s things that I watched a 1000 times as a teen and then it completely cheesed me off when I rewatched it as a grown up (as in Robin Hood King of Thieves) but this one is so wonderfully weird that I can’t help still loving it!

    Reply
  11. Kim Gapinski

    I always scoff at the fact that Oscar has nothing under her pirate shirt considering the fact that it’s been confirmed that she wears a modified stay under her clothing. This movie just bleeds 70’s movie tropes.

    Reply
  12. ladyaquanine73551

    My biggest problem with foreign-made films (especially if they’re made outside of England, Canada, Australia, or the US) are all the plot holes they leave in their scripts. It’s one thing if the movie is funny or weird to start with, or they had to edit out certain scenes not allowed in America. It’s another when the story just plain has plot holes big enough to drive a car into. Character development is also lacking in a lot of movies made overseas. It’s bad enough trying to follow the subtitles, but the plot is often so crazy and poorly written, you can just barely grasp what you’re looking at, or say to yourself, “What the heck is going on here?” It’s like, what exactly was the scriptwriter trying to say here? This makes no sense whatsoever!

    The worst offenders were all those Chinese films that came out during the Millennium, where they were all special-effects, beautiful costumes, and a plot-line that made about as much sense as a drug trip.

    It was pretty obvious that whatever French filming company that made this was in it for the money. They didn’t care about production value one bit.

    Reply
    • bespectacledbibliophile

      In this case, the country of origin is less of a problem than the feat they were attempting, I think. They tried to cram 40 episodes of run time into 124 minutes, and that kind of condensed plot inevitably cuts out every bit of character growth and exposition in favor of getting the plot points in. It’s basically The Last Airbender, but French.

      Reply
      • misat0

        And considering shoujo manga is mostly character driven… makes it a bad adaptation.
        I know Riyoko Ikeda, the author, studied European History, although Rose of Versailles isn’t supposed to be historically correct, there are many correct facts, dates and people throughout the manga. In a way, a Japanese person respected French history better than the French people who made the film.

        Reply
  13. LouisD

    I like the unintentional (?) irony of the french subtitles on your screencaps, especially this one which is a strange echo of your article :
    “un homme affreux m’a obligée à regarder cette horreur”

    Reply

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