TBT: The Missing Madame Du Barry (1934)


That’s not the name of the film — but Madame Du Barry from 1934 starring Dolores del Rio as the notorious mistress of King Louis XV of France seems to have gone missing. I can’t find this film anywhere in any medium! I’ve been scouring eBay for ages, and it never turns up. Don’t even talk to me about streaming digital copies, that appears impossible. No library VHS, no shitty screengrabs on YouTube (nothing longer than 2-minute clips, at least). I’ve had a TiVo alert set in case Turner Classic Movies plays the film at some point, but nothing showing yet

Here’s why I’m so intrigued by this black-and-white box-office flop:

Madame du Barry (1934)


Madame du Barry (1934)

A rare color promo shot — it’s even better knowing it’s pink!!!

Madame du Barry (1934)

Dolores del Rio makes all these ruffles look sexy.

Are you getting what I’m getting? Yeah, it’s Orry-Kelly in prime Orry-Kelly-ness doing historical-ish over-the-top fabulousness, with the stunning Dolores del Rio at the heart of it. The film was apparently a light romantic comedy that got in trouble with the Production Code of the time for bawdiness, but blah blah blah, I just want to see these costumes!

Madame du Barry (1934)

This black dress is my everything — but I can’t find a full-length picture!

Madame du Barry (1934)

Look how she stands out in this gambling scene.

And the dress was used in many of the movie posters.

Madame du Barry (1934)

Then there’s this series of promo photos in a white dress with sparkly trim and lace sleeves. No idea where it shows up in the film though.

Madame du Barry (1934)

But, dayum, this is a fantastic look, mixing 1930s makeup with 18th-century fashion.

Madame du Barry (1934)

You’re a star, baby!

Madame du Barry (1934)

It’s very Orry-Kelly to mix gold lame and black fur. With a splash of feathers.

Madame du Barry (1934)


Madame du Barry (1934)


Madame du Barry (1934)

Nothing succeeds like excess.

Madame du Barry (1934)

And the settings, btw, do not suck.

Madame du Barry (1934)

There are apparently other women in this movie. They do not hold a candle to del Rio.

Madame du Barry (1934)

Even if copies of the film aren’t available, at least I have all these promo pix of the gowns.

Madame du Barry (1934)

Pretty pretty princess barely does this justice.

That’s the king, waiting on his mistress.

Madame du Barry (1934)

Lastly, du Barry’s “nightgown” (clearly a 1930s-style dress) from a scene that was censored by the Production Code during the movie’s first run.


The most significant clips I’ve found of the actual movie Madame du Barry are the trailer:


And here’s the infamous “nightgown” scene:


Has anyone seen Madame du Barry (1934)? Know where I can get a copy?


About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

27 Responses

  1. Gail

    Have you tried Fandor, Kanopy or a good University film library???
    (though I am sure you did …) but they are usually good sources for old movies.

    Yikes, what costumes!

  2. Destinee Amber

    Do you have DirectTV? It says they have it available online. I don’t have DirectTV, so can’t verify that the movie actually works, but the website says they have it.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Hmm, doesn’t say anything is available in my ZIP code. And I wonder if it would be the right year — there’s a 1954 Madame Du Barry movie that comes up a lot when I search too :(

  3. Katy Werlin

    I’ve seen it! I can’t remember if it was on TCM or if I got the DVD from Netflix (like, the actual physical DVD, not streaming) because it was years and years ago. But it’s loads of fun! In the scene where she meets Marie Antoinette she calls her a “poor little redhead” which is very exciting since every other Marie Antoinette ever is always platinum blonde instead of strawberry blonde.

  4. picasso Manu

    That… That is the most gigantic Meringue I’ve ever seen! And the pink carriage is a nice touch, too. On the other hand, I’m somehow glad we don’t have the lamé/fur thing in color, it must have been something else. Good luck on the hunt!

  5. Susan Pola Staples

    I would definitely watch this if TCM aired it. Orry-Kelly seems to be addicted to poofy frou frou which although not period does invoke it.
    Didn’t he design Norma Shearer look in Marie Antoinette and Marlene Dietrich as Catherine in The Scarlet Empress?

    • Trystan L. Bass

      The ruffles are very Orry-Kelly, aren’t they just? Actually, Adrian did the Shearer M-A & someone else did Dietrirch’s Empress — bec. that era had SO many great designers!

  6. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    SQUEE!!!!!! I just want all the poof and ruffles! I will have my hunny bunny search the ethos for it. When I find the film I will share the love. Now I have the image of me cosplaying in that black gambling dress at Dragoncon.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Oooo, nice! One of us has a TBD article about all the various incarnations of Madame du Barry on film — I’ll make sure she sees these links.

  7. Kaite

    Those facial expressions during the nightgown scene are priceless! And worth watching over and over again! Good luck finding a source for the full movie.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      I’d only seen Delores del Rio in the Bob Hope movie ‘Flying Down to Rio’ before, so I knew she had comedy chops, & this film looks delightful.

  8. Peacoclaur

    Historical accuracy be damned – 1770s meets 1930s is the best historical mash up ever.

  9. Orastella

    And the trailer is already gone from YouTube. They move so quick sometimes.