My favourite of all the posters - the joy on Angélique's face as the legend reads "Angélique rediscovers Peyrac" - even though it is the King embracing her and there is no proper translation of "re-finding" to sound as wonderful as "retrouve."
Some variations on the 2013 version which I think are particularly attractive
What could be more natural that Anne Golon posing in front of a poster featuring 'her Joffrey' - she has publicly stated that ‘Gérard Lanvin dazzling in his interpretation of Count Peyrac'
The image of Anne Golon with the poster for the 2012 film is the copyright of Toutes Les Nouvelles who carry a very honest interview with Anne Golon and the trials she has faced in the intervening years. The article on the internet is in French and a translation can be found here
2014 brings a restored version of the original films in the wake of the success of the 2013 re-make.
Before I embark on the Posters I think it fair to mention that I have recently watched all the films, chronologically, on DVD over a five day period (since writing this, I have now had the opportunity to see the new 2012 version of the film which has superceded this top paragraph) - I was curious to see what I would think after all this time and discussion with other fans of the Angélique books. I stress books as the fans seem to be divided into two - there are those who read the books and then discovered the films and those who saw the films first and then discovered they were based on novels written by Anne and Serge Golon.
In their turn these two groups are also divided - the original readers (lectrices) either love or hate the films. Those that love them like the visual aspect, those that loathe them, do so in the main because they don't follow the plots religiously and for purists that is a problem. Those that saw the the films first are also split not knowing whether they should read the books and risk disappointment or those who do read the books and either come to love them or find them too far away from the films. Thank goodness for the diversity of the readers and viewers - it reinforces the magic that the whole series evokes in whatever genre.
Angélique, Marquise des Anges - like the book is the title of the first film which follows the book reasonably closely. The period is from Angélique's adolescence to the condemnation and execution of Joffrey de Peyrac believed burnt at the stake in the Place de Grève. Key points covered in this book are the visit to the Plessis estate where Angélique secretes away the poison casket intended to assassinate Louis XIV, the subsequent exile to the nuns to be educated, the proxy marriage to Peyrac, Angélique's rejection of her crippled and scarred husband, her eventual turnaround, the birth of her two sons, a small glimpse into the idyll of their life together before he is cruelly snatched away from her, tried and condemned to death as a sorcerer. For those of you who know the books you will see from the above what has been omitted.
And just for fun - MM being offered a 'light' for her 'cheroot'
A rare photograph from 'Angélique, Marquise des Anges' - preparing the actors for the Marriage by Proxy scene
Merveilleuse Angélique - the second film covers the action known to readers as Angélique, Le Chemin de Versailles (Road to Versailles) and includes Angélique finding herself at the mercy of her brother Raymond and Desgrez to start with and the hostility and rejection by Hortense. Descending to the Paris Underworld, she finds herself back with Nicholas and usurps La Polack. The storyline of the abandoned children and her rescue attempts stays true to the book as does her eventual rise in the world of cuisine and chocolate. The use of the Gutter Poet to condemn and bring to justice those who murdered one of her charges is also tastefully portrayed as is her relationship with Desgrez. The capitulation of Phillipe is as sudden as if the film producers decided he was a bit of an afterthought. There has been much dialogue between the main characters for us to recognise the cruelty of the character, but happily little of that is transferred to the screen with the exception of his cruelty towards a horse that Angélique was riding and which was a metaphor to imply that if he could break a horse he could break his pretty little cousin. At the conclusion Angélique is presented, by Phillipe to Louis.
Angélique et le Roy - the third film uses the old French word for King, we would be more accustomed to seeing it written as 'Roi'. My immediate view of this film was the uncompromising absence of the central figure - the King. Basically he summons Angélique back to court after the period of mourning he considers adequate has passed - Phillipe dies in the service of his king at the beginning of the film (pre-credits). In an effort to woo Angélique the King appeals to her intellect and demands that she be an ambassadress for a visiting dignitary Bakhtiary Bey and for her efforts she is given back the deeds to the Beautrellis property. There she discovers the building neglected and in a state of disrepair but mysteriously a favourite statue of de Peyrac's has been installed and she finds a bloodied shirt in the master bedroom. Continuing her exploration of the grounds Angélique discovers Savary who is living in the section of the property that would have been Joffrey's laboratory. From this point on, to put it into the vernacular, the films start to 'lose the plot' and deviate from the books. Savary does not give her any hope that Peyrac lives or survived, but as she sleeps, we discover that Peyrac is himself 'haunting' the premises, moving around with ease using underground passages. He can observe unobserved and even prevents an assassination attempt on Angélique's life - the disposal of the corpse is not covered by the film. After a tricky encounter with Bakhtiary Bey from which she is extricated by Rakoczy, Angélique confronts the King who confesses to her that Joffrey survived and to compensate her for her efforts with Bakhtiary Bey, and presumably to keep her on side he also gives her sole rights to the chocolate franchise. But, he cannot exact a promise from her to stay and having alienated Madame de Montespan and others at Court by exposing their involvement with the Black Arts - Angélique, with Savary in tow, goes in search of Peyrac whom she has now seen with her own eyes on his nocturnal wanderings in the underground passages.
Indomptable Angélique - the fourth film, imaginatively called 'Amongst the Pirates' in Polish and several other languages and known to English-language readers as 'Angélique and the Sultan' or 'In Barbary' (United States) puzzled me to start with until I realised that this film covers the action that is the first half of the book. It is Angélique's escape from the King and France (she starts off on a Leper Island where she is tracked down by Vivonne - Montespan's younger brother) whom she blackmails to take her on board. Of course she then falls into the hands of d'Escrainville and ends up on the sales blocks of the Slave Market where she is bought for an obscene amount by a person unknown who has outbid not only the Knights of Malta but also the dealer that d'Escrainville had promised her to (for the obligatory cut). Angélique does not seem too concerned by her fate when she is taken away by luxury camel and deposited in a beautiful and romantic spot. It turns out this is the property of the pirate Rescator who turns out to be Joffrey de Peyrac. After a loving reunion the two of them have a spat which results in Joffrey returning to his ship (the real love of his life according to Angélique) and whilst he is in the process of leaving his idyll, Angélique is captured by d'Escrainville and secreted off to Mezzo-Morte. We lose Savary in this film but not before he is able to tell Joffrey what has happened to Angélique. I can now see why several languages called this 'Amongst the Pirates' - most of the action takes place at sea with a host of pirates fighting over themselves for a piece of our eponymous heroine.
Angélique et le Sultan - is the fifth and final instalment and stays partially faithful to the second part of the book. We meet Osman Faraji and the Sultan and his harem and the life that was led there - good and bad. For her refusal to capitulate to the Sultan and her assassination attempt on his life Angélique is publicly whipped (all the posters love that scene) and catches the attention of the King of the Slaves - Colin Paturel. After a very fleeting and chance meeting, Colin decides that Angélique will accompany him on his escape across the desert, the majority of which is undertaken on horseback until the horses expire and his male companion is killed by pursuers. As they reach the edge of the desert where it meets the sea, Rescator is waiting to rescue his wife - Colin fades into obscurity. Angélique and Joffrey do, literally, sail off into the sunset after what I think is a really strange remark by Joffrey, that Angélique will be reunited with her sons 'at some future date' taking liberties with the strong maternal instincts she posesses in the books and which make her character so much more complete. I suppose it was felt that as they were to embark on a life together and had two sons, they should not be seen to have forgotten or abandoned them to make the ending so much sweeter (I'm referring to the film ending of course!).
So - having reached this conclusion, it is still difficult to see why these films engender such passion amongst the fans who do not feel strongly towards the books and it is fairly apparent why they do not appeal to the 'purist' readers.
The problem with being 'purist' and I do fall into that category myself, is that you can become a bit narrow in your views. When I first came across the films, because I had only ever seen the first two and because it was so unusual to get a 'series' of films I did come to love them. Many, many years later I saw all five for the first time, by then I had come to the end of the English translations with 'Ghosts' which had not been written in 1968 when I saw 'Merveilleuse' for the first time in Zakopane in Poland. Then even more shocks followed shattering the 'purist' line - there were three as yet untranslated books and we also found out that the translations that we loved so much had been re-formatted and had great chunks missing - so what is the true story of Angélique? Anne Golon will tell us in her re-writes known as l'Intégrale. In the meantime we have to 'make do' with what we have and hope that whether you are a fan of the books or the films or both, you can enjoy what is available to us and for that we have to thank Anne Golon.
My first introduction to the films was in a cinema in Poland which happened to be showing Merveilleuse Angélique in a cinema in the mountains where electricity was powered by a generator which was prone to collapsing whenever the weather conditions became adverse - they duly did so on the night we went, there was a thunderstorm which was circling around and which kept causing the generator to fail. It was a night to remember! Sometime later back in the UK I managed to see the first film on BBC television, I'm not sure whether any of the others were shown at the time. However, presumably in the pursuit of seeing more I was at least lucky to come across 'Les Rois Maudits' instead! And as I am sure you can guess, these have also become great favourites in my book and DVD libraries - not least because of Jean Piat's portrayal of Robert of Artois! Just as an aside, the seventh book of the series was not translated into English ....
On sale at Galeries Lafayette - the Angélique saga in two different formats!
In the 1990s whilst visiting France and searching for the untranslated books I came across some video recordings and here are the covers from those:
The very first boxed set I saw was this version (and the covers can be seen on Harvey's page)
Original Video Box showcasing the beautiful blue dress everyone remembers and the top of the video box set.
The Dutch Version seen here was based on the French template:
Film 1 - Marquise des Anges / Boxed Set showing the spine covers replicating the cover pictures / Film 2 - Merveilleuse Angélique
Film 3 - Angélique et le Roy / Film 4 - Indomptable Angélique / Film 5 - Angélique et le Sultan
A re-issue of the videos came with a whole new set of covers :
Film 1 - Marquise des Anges / Boxed Set (Front only) / Film 2 - Merveilleuse Angélique
Film 3 - Angélique et le Roy / Film 4 - Indomptable Angélique / Film 5 - Angélique et le Sultan
As technology speeds along you would expect that films of this genre may not have a sufficient appeal to the young of the 21st century - how wrong can you be - the films are now, of course available on DVD - I can share at least two variations with you :
I bought this first set as soon as I was able to find a copy - for my sins, having then sold my video versions on ebay, this set was a dud set and the French shop from which I bought them refused to accept responsibility for damaged goods - that's OK, they make a nice sent of coasters (now that I've cleaned all that excess adhesive that spilled over in the duplication process) and, of course, a talking point.
The original boxed set featuring the main characters of Angélique on the front and Peyrac on the back with the Film Posters on the spine
The second set that I purchased were not a boxed set but matched the designs now being used on the re-issued set of Polish books :
In the meantime Russia has come up with very nicely designed DVD package:
From top to bottom Films 1 (Marquise des Angels), 2 (Merveilleuse), 3 (Roy) and 5 (Sultan)
l to r 'Angélique, Marquise of the Angels' and 'Angélique and the King'
Two quite bizarre Polish posters l to r 'Indomptable Angélique' and 'Angélique et le Sultan' (translated as 'Angélique amongst the Pirates') (Films 4 & 5) - artist Andrzej Krajewski
l to r 'Angélique, Marquise of the Angels' and 'Angélique and the King' (Films 1 & 3)
l to r 'Indomptable Angélique' and 'Angélique et le Sultan' (Films 4 & 5)
There are many web-sites with images devoted to the posters based on the films of books by Anne Golon so although I have assigned a page for this purpose, it is designed more for entertainment than any specific reference. Thank you for visiting.
A covered up version used for the Irish Cinema - see below for explanatory comments by Tim
This film poster was found by Tim@Tikit who has created an excellent page devoted to the topic and being a Pan Books expert has also provided great shots of the books used in conjunction with this poster and which can be seen below. He also provided an explanation for the 'censored version' of the image I found (above) "Hi Anna, I can see why the poster was covered up, it was for Irish cinemas. I remember going to see a slightly raunchy film in Dublin in the 60's and it was only years later I realised it wasn't 45 minutes long, that was just how much was left after the censors got to it! Thanks again, Tim"
All these stills are taken from the first two films and variations appear on the back of the books right up to 'Angélique in Love' on certain Pan editions - thanks again to Tim@Tikit for the images
There is an absolute paucity of information about Anne Golon and her oeuvre 'Angélique' in the United Kingdom. That extends to the films as well as the books which are well chronicled elsewhere as having never been translated in their entirety. I remember seeing the first of the films on television (probably the BBC) and the second in Zakopane in Poland on a dark and stormy night when the generator kept failing! I had no idea whatsoever that there were any more films beyond these two until I started visiting France on a regular basis to see my friend Anna who bought me a boxed set of videos (yes really) and they, being Pal-Secam only played back in b&w over here in the UK. The poster featured here is for the very first film, so it must have been shown in the cinema, and uses the same strapline as Reveille when they first introduced Angélique to their readers 'Half Angel, Half Devil, Wholly Woman' - the Irish poster also seems to have retained the wording despite the cover-up. I wonder how much of it the cut?
Page Updated : 12th April 2017