Lady Oscar


Action / Drama / History / Romance

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


Top cast

Patsy Kensit Photo
Patsy Kensit as Oscar as a child
Lambert Wilson Photo
Lambert Wilson as Un soldat insolent
Sue Lloyd Photo
Sue Lloyd as Comtesse Gabrielle de Polignac
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.11 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 3 min
P/S ...
2.06 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 3 min
P/S 2 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by oOgiandujaOo_and_Eddy_Merckx8 / 10


Jacques Demy's movie of Lady Oscar frequently moved me. It is not a "swashbuckler" in spirit, it does not glamourise violence; it is not a movie about "girl power". It is a tragedy that raises important questions about freedom and gender. After becoming father to a series of daughters whose mother dies in childbirth, Général de Jarjayes decides that his latest daughter will in fact be a son, Oscar, and brings her up to be an heir and defender of the de Jarjayes name. He is delighted to find her a position as bodyguard to Marie Antoinette. Oscar is unquestioning of the system into which she is inducted, a bubble of privilege, acid wit, and decadence. She is dutiful and she "knows her place". At the same time the young boy and later groom who was her companion when Oscar grew up seems to have much more class consciousness.

What her gender transformation helps to do is to de-romanticise the material, when Oscar accepts a duel, the result, devoid of machismo, comes off as a banal murder, which is precisely what it is. It is difficult to wholeheartedly see Oscar as an éoniste or transgender hero as her identity as Oscar is created for her by her father. Indeed her self-actualisation is intertwined with her accepting a more female identity. On the other hand she does use her identity as Oscar to react against male society, and becomes a role model for some of the Versailles women.

Oscar, despite adopting a male role, is not free. This is potentially quite an important point of the movie, equality and freedom are not the same thing. Her role is to hang around the wilful and indolent Antoinette, and she develops a strong sense that her life has become meaningless. To become a man is not to have meaning, it's an escape from a trap within a trap, the outer trap being the Ancien Régime in the case of this movie. When Oscar attempts to enter a regiment, her male soldiers refuse to obey her, and her superior officer gives her no support whatever. In any case the regiment only exists to suppress the people.

At a very late stage Oscar finds freedom in an act of defiance. You can feel the weight lift off her shoulders as she spends her first day as a truly free adult, despite residing in a prison cell. This feels very contemporary, freedom is something very few of us are born with, it's something we have to seize, it's profoundly personal and cathartic.

Another reviewer on this site refers to Barry Lyndon as inspiration, "Now the magic of that was its carefully spaced vacuums. It had engineered emptiness, something that only a master could do." That is definitely something Lady Oscar is attempting, in my belief it worked better than my fellow reviewer felt.

A note on historical accuracy. Thomas Jefferson described Marie Antoinette as, "...proud, disdainful of restraint, indignant at all obstacles to her will, eager in the pursuit of pleasure, and firm enough to hold to her desires, or perish in their wreck." That is exactly how she is portrayed in Lady Oscar by Christine Böhm. Jefferson also describes the relationship between the King and the Queen thus, "he had a Queen of absolute sway over his weak mind and timid virtue..." Again this seems to have been very well captured in the movie.

Lady Oscar is a politically complex movie which seems often to have been misjudged by relying on a fruitless comparative analysis with the animé and manga sources of the story. Whilst actually quite serious it does however have its gorgeous moments.

Reviewed by Rectangular_businessman5 / 10

It feels more like a spoof rather than an adaptation

I don't know what to think about this live-action version of the great comic created by Riyoko Ikeda (Which was also was adapted into a great anime series): On one side, the direction of Jacques Demy (The same director of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg") is competent and sober, and production values (and the music, as well) were quite beautiful and more than adequate. But on the other side, the performances are terrible (To the point of being laughable) and the story (Which is considerably different than the one from the original comic and the anime series) is filled with lots of silly situations, as if it was some kind of parody.

Here is the irony: While the animated adaptation of the same comic feels mature, realistic and dramatic, the live action versions feels way too cartoonish and unrealistic.

Personally I think that the anime version is way much better than this.

Reviewed by Bunuel19767 / 10

LADY Oscar (Jacques Demy, 1979) ***

As had been the case with Christian-Jaque's THE BLACK TULIP (1964),this is another French swashbuckler whom I first became aware of via the Japanese animated series I used to catch on Italian TV as a kid. Conversely, the film version of LADY Oscar proved to be more satisfying than that of THE BLACK TULIP, which is surprising given that the former is a maligned film within its distinguished director's canon. Having said that, along with his modernistic remake of Jean Cocteau's OPRHEE' (1950) entitled PARKING (1985),LADY Oscar had always been the one title I was most eager to catch from Demy's lean and near-invisible post-1973 period. It is ironic therefore that I have managed that feat before having acquainted myself with Demy's best-known and finest achievements of the early 1960s – which is all the more remarkable when one considers that LADY Oscar was a bastard international production: a Franco-Japanese joint venture shot in English with a cast of equally mixed nationalities and whose tangled worldwide distribution rights have made it impossible for even the British Film Institute to secure a screening in their renowned National Film Theatre in London for a 'complete' Jacques Demy retrospective in November 2007! Therefore, all the more power to Yamato Video, the Italian DVD production company who specializes in releasing vintage Japanese anime series (that were all the rage on Italian TV as I was growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s) for succeeding where others have failed; a gallery of trailers from their catalogue is available as a supplement on the LADY Oscar disc and watching it was "a blast from the past" for me as the saying goes!

Anyhow, back to the film at hand: the fairy-tale qualities of the historical narrative are ideal hunting grounds for Demy, who had already brought DONKEY SKIN (1970) and THE PIED PIPER (1972) to the screen – although, in this case, he drew inspiration from a Japanese comic strip rather than a local legend (albeit set in his native land). Needless to say, the film is a feast for the eyes when it comes to sets (some of the exteriors were actually shot on the Versailles Palace grounds) and costumes but, even if the work of Demy here seems not be counted among his finest achievements, a couple of elegantly sweeping camera movements (the clandestine meeting in the abandoned château between Queen Marie Antoinette and her Swedish lover) and well-mounted sequences (the vigorous fist-fight in the tavern) are certainly noteworthy; the same applies to the musical contribution of Demy's regular composer Michel Legrand. If there are distinct flaws, it's that the film moves at rather too deliberate a pace (with a running time of just over two hours) and has a needlessly unhappy ending.

In spite of the title, the narrative incorporates three parallel story lines that give a more sweeping picture of the tumultuous times it depicts (starting out in 1755 with the birth of Oscar and culminating in the storming of the Bastille that led directly to the French Revolution of 1789): Oscar's father had long wanted a male heir to follow him into his military career and when his wife dies in giving birth to yet another female, he determines to make a man of his newborn child regardless; while Oscar is eventually recruited as personal guard to Marie Antoinette, we follow the amorous exploits of the latter as well as the rise of one female peasant into aristocracy through devious schemes and callous behavior to her true peers (perhaps in emulation of the notorious Madame Dubarry whose name is mentioned at one point). In view of its origins as light-hearted kiddie fare, there is a surprisingly subversive undercurrent of sexual ambiguity in Oscar's imposed masculinity (and the fact that this starts a cross-dressing fad among the upper classes),the repressed feelings for her shown by the stable boy she grew up with, the full-blown kiss on the lips Oscar gives during her own supposed engagement party to a giggling young lady she's dancing with, etc.

Catriona MacColl looks just ravishing in the title role, both when dressed in her military outfit and also when she occasionally gives in to her womanhood (including a brief topless bit); this was her first film and arguably her best role since only another appearance for Demy and three in Lucio Fulci horror films – including CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980) for which she even recorded an exclusive audio commentary for its R2 DVD! – really stick out from the rest of her filmography. Another beguiling presence in the film is undoubtedly that of Christine Bohm who plays Marie Antoinette; unlike MacColl (despite their being the same age),LADY Oscar proved to be her last film as she tragically died at 25 in an accident that same year. As for the male cast, the most prominent are Barry Stokes (as Oscar's stable boy companion and true love) and Martin Potter (as her jaded, titled but short-lived fiancé); incidentally, while they both had their artistic triumphs for major directors – in Juan Antonio Bardem's THE CORRUPTION OF CHRIS MILLER (1973) and Federico Fellini's FELLINI - SATYRICON (1969) – they each also worked for cultish British exploitation film-maker Norman J. Warren in, respectively, PREY (1978) and SATAN'S SLAVE (1976)!!

P.S. My amiably lazy feline pet goes by the name of "Lady Oscar": I had originally dubbed it Oskar – in tribute to one of my favorite foreign films THE TIN DRUM (1979) because, like its protagonist, my cat seems to have stopped growing of its own accord (while that of my aunt, which is of a similar breed and only a year or so older, has become quite huge!); my mother, unaware of this connection, insists on calling her "Lady" because, first of all, it's a female and, frankly, really does act royally and has the genuine impression that we're there to wait on it!!

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