Stunningly produced adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's controversial (at the time) novel, directed skillfully by Minnelli. The film is framed with an odd (and only fairly successful) story that features Mason as Flaubert, on trial for indecency following the publication of Madame Bovary.
Mason proceeds to detail for the jury (and the viewer) his novel (this device harms the film somewhat because it distances the viewer from Jones' character by removing the events from a conventional filmic reality). Jones is a temperamental beauty who leaves a convent to help her father. Her
boredom is suspended when Heflin, a young doctor, enters her life and proposes marriage. She accepts, but soon Heflin proves to be stodgy and dull, and her restlessness returns. Desperate for a change, she takes a rich lover, Jourdan, but the affair ends when he proves to be even shallower than
Heflin. Jones enters into another affair with Kent, who resembles Jourdan, but this romance also soon ends. Desperation and panic take their toll on Jones, and, unable to cope with her life's failures any longer, she commits suicide. While the script and structure of MADAME BOVARY is fairly poor
(Mason's voice-over is particularly irritating and distracting), Minnelli triumphs over the material due to his confident handling of producer Berman's massive budget. The costumes, sets, and scale of the scenes are handled artfully, and the "Emma Bovary Waltz" sequence, with its large cast and
complex choreography, stands as one of Minnelli's finest sequences.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Stunningly produced adaptation of Gustave Flaubert's controversial (at the time) novel, directed skillfully by Minnelli. The film is framed with an odd (and only fairly successful) story that features Mason as Flaubert, on trial for indecency following the… (more)