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Movie Recap: Marie Antoinette, Part Two

Posted 20 April 2018 by
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Marie Antoinette, Part Two

Our wrap-up recap of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette follows, sadly, the wrap-up of Marie’s life. We compare and contrast the movie to reality, and try to untangle the movie’s timeline adjustments.

When we last left Marie, the cool kids were sneaking back into Versailles after an all-night party only to learn that the king was ill with smallpox. Marie and Louis had yet to consummate their marriage and the spend-a-thon of the monarchy was going full steam ahead while political unrest bubbled up in the lower classes.

So heat up some water and make yourself a cup of blooming Jasmine Tea like Marie serves to her brother, the Emperor (so I guess it’s good enough for us common folk) and start playing the music from the opera, Les Deux Chasseurs et la Laitière that she performs (and fakes sweeping) and let’s revisit some moments of this episode!

The king is on his death bed, and Du Barry is sent out out of the picture in the most fabulous cape!


The king is dead, long live the king…whose first statement is a reassuring,”We are too young to reign!”


We need to fix this baby problem…a king, an emperor, and an elephant have a sex talk.




The talk worked…well, the talk and the brown chickens and brown cows.


Wonder what it was like to be a servant in Marie’s household? Here’s an article about la maison de La Reine!


Oh my goodness, did they or didn’t they? Marie and Axel Von Fersen did, or didn’t, all over the place in this movie.


And we spend a lot of time at le Petit Trianon…yay!

Marie’s hameau was inspired by this garden!


But then there is trouble…Marie can only fantasize about Adam Ant…


…and Louis gets a lot of bad advice about sending money to the Americans’ war with the British (and he needs to stop playing around.)

Louis gives us an insider “Cribs” view of Versailles:


A bright spot is another child, a son! The Dauphin! (and Susan’s hang-up about non-newborns playing newborns is revealed.)


But Marie’s reputation is swirling the drain (and told with a clever use of paintings.)


Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun


Speaking of paintings…liberties were taken with the number of children and composition of actual painting, but it’s still really good storytelling.


Also Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun


 Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun (the artist who is shown here) didn’t paint the portrait they are posing for!


Adolf Ulrik Wertmuller did. 


The French Revolution is amping up, Louis makes some more poor decisions for his family and while Marie really did address the angry crowd like this, it wasn’t enough.


We were grateful that the movie ended with Marie’s trashed room after the family was taken to Paris.


If you haven’t had enough of Marie (really? Is there enough of Marie?) head on over to our coverage of her entire life, in Episodes 53 and Episode 54 of The History Chicks Podcast.

We also recommend these two books to go along with this movie:


And if you are as fascinated as we are with Leonard, here’s a book we liked!

Will Bashor



Photo Credit: Marie Antoinette, Netflix; Stills: The History Chicks via Netflix

Movie Recap: Marie Antoinette, Part One

Posted 2 April 2018 by
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Before we dive back into an historical fiction series we thought we would recap one of our favorite movies, Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst and directed by Sofia Coppola. Made in 2006, it’s now (in March of 2018) on Netflix. *hugs Netflix* Because we seem to double the length of the original media in our recaps, and this is a two hour movie, we decided that a four hour podcast really needed to be broken into two episodes.

You’re welcome.

The myth

14 year-old Maria Antonia is married off to the Dauphin of France and sent from her native Austria to the epicenter of French luxury, political intrigue and a whole lotta nobles ignoring the realities of their country: Versailles.

Au revoir, Maria Antonia…


…Bonjour Marie Antoinette

(For more details on the actual wedding journey, From Vienna to Versailles, from Royal Central. Part One and Part Two.)

Marie gets to know her new family…

Aunt Mary Catherine Gallagher and Aunt Jude/Moaning Myrtle

…and meets the man she proxy married weeks before, Louis Auguste, the Dauphin of France.

.Louis, the Husband, not to be confused with Louis the King or Louis, or any other Louis- there are many.

Marie gets to show off her dancing skills, her charm and her adjustment to the peculiar and unique rules of Versailles. So. Many. Rules.

Speaking of so many rules, check out this Baroque dancing!

But anyone can dance WITH music, how about without it? Here’s how they did it for the movie Call Me By Your Name.

Also, speaking of rules: Marie and Louis’ marriage is not official until they consummate it. One of the Versailles protocols in play is a wedding night, beddy-bye ceremony, with an audience. The couple gets a blessing and everyone gets ready to catch some heirs tout suite. But IT didn’t happen for our movie couple on their wedding night because it didn’t happen in real life for a very long time. This gives us our major plot point of the a sizable chunk of this movie: when are they going to have sex and why aren’t they?

The putting to bed ceremony.

In addition to the actors, Versailles and the costumes are stars of this movie.

Dresses like this are why this won an Oscar for costuming.

If you want to play along with What Kind Of Dress is That? Here is a lovely primer from American Duchess.

We follow Marie using retail therapy to ease her woes, which –spoiler alert–is at the root of her biggest life problem later.

Manolo Blahnik created hundreds of pairs of shoes for this movie…not the Converse, though.

We end this episode just after Marie meets Adam Ant…er, Axel Von Fersen, the only man cool enough to get away with not wearing a mask to a masked ball.

Roger Ebert reviewed this back in the day, and he liked it as much as we do (or the other way around since he covered it first. Here’s what he had to say: ROGER EBERT 4-STAR REVIEW

If you haven’t given a listen to our coverage of the real life of Marie Antoinette, you might want to do that. That, also, is a two-parter. Part One and Part Two


The Four Tendencies that we talked about (Princess Lamballe is a total Upholder) are from Gretchen Rubin. Her podcast is Happier and here’s the link to her Four Tendencies Quiz.

You really have to listen to the episode to know why we’re closing with this, but we must.
(Parent warning: all of the Gustave Klimt paintings in this video do have nudity in them!)

Photo Credit: via Netflix; Stills: The History Chicks

Episode 54: Marie Antoinette Reboot, Part Two

Posted 8 July 2015 by
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In Part One we talked about Marie Antoinette’s childhood, the speedy preparations for marriage and her early years in France. In this episode, the conclusion of our revisit, we get to the rest of her story as she travels from well-liked to queen to the (dramatic pause) guillotine.

Near the end circa 1791Alexander_Kucharski,_La_Reine_Marie-Antoinette_(années_1790)


Husband, Louis XVI, while fumbly in the Create an Heir department and lacking a lot of things in common with her, was kind to Marie. During her, let’s call them “party years” he indulged her and gave her a little playhouse all her own so that she could escape the demands, traditions and all the backstabby, gossipy people of Versailles: Le Petite Trianon. It was a place Marie could let her hair down, grant admission to only those who she invited and frolic and dress like a fair country maiden (Disney World style– no need to actually take care of the animals, that’s what the servants are for).

Louis XVI. He gave her this...

Louis XVI. He gave her this…

Le Petite Trianon...Marie's playhouse

Le Petite Trianon, Marie’s playhouse…


…where she hung out with her friends including him. Axel Von Fersen (Dreamy, right?)


Episode 53: Marie Antoinette Reboot, Part One

Posted 11 June 2015 by
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**Giveaway details at bottom of post!**

Once upon a time there were two podcasters who began their women’s history show with an episode about Marie Antoinette. Four and a half years later they revisited her life simply because they felt there was more to say about this woman who has been long misquoted and misunderstood. They were able to add a great deal of content and context and have a much longer conversation -two parts!- about the life of the last Queen of France.

(The first episode was never heard again and we all lived happily ever after.)

Marie in her softened years, by Louise Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun

Marie in her softened years, by Louise Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun


Marie Antoinette

Posted 8 February 2011 by
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5. “The Dying Lion of Lucerne”

This statue commemorates the over 700 Swiss guards who lost their lives defending Marie Antoinette and her husband Louis XVI at the palace of the Tuileries.

A view of the lion from the turn of the century, before the floodlights get in the way.

The statue that Mark Twain called “The saddest piece of rock in the world.”



4. The poop on… poop at Versailles

Marie Antoinette had a very early version of the flush toilet installed in her suite of rooms! You had to send someone upstairs to open a valve for the flush, though…

There were lots of chamber pots in the place, or course, and plenty of latrines around… but what did many courtiers and visitors end up doing instead of seeking out these facilities? Why, pooping on the stairs, of course. Or in the corners of the Hall of Mirrors, when the darkness fell and they could be assured of some privacy.

Horrifying? Check out Frank Muir’s book “An Irreverent and Almost Complete Social History of the Bathroom.” (Queen Elizabeth I had one of these toilets, too, but hated it – because it was too noisy. )


3. Beauty Marks in a Box

In eighteenth century Europe smallpox raged through the continent, leaving most of its survivors pockmarked in some way. False beauty marks made of velvet, silk, and moleskin were introduced as a way to cover the scars left by smallpox, though they soon blossomed into an independent fashion statement. A variety of shapes were available: hearts, crescent moons, stars and clubs, even a tiny carriage pulled by minuscule silhouette horses!

In France, a patch was known as a “mouche” (fly), and was held on by the application of a flexible and very sticky glue made from the skins of fish. The meaning of the patches’ placement varied by country, and often aesthetics alone won the day – but in France, a patch on the right cheek meant that one was married, one near the mouth meant flirtation, and if the lady next to you wore her heart-shaped patch near her eye – watch out! That was the mark of unbridled passion…

A patch box including a brush, glue well, and patch compartment. Note the mirror on the lid!

Johnson and Johnson made these until WWI !

2. Aeronautic History Made at Versailles.

The first successful lighter-than air flight took place at Versailles in 1783! The Montgolfier brothers used hot air from a fire of wool and wet straw to power their balloon, which was made of cotton with azure-blue gilded paper glued on each side.

A sheep, a duck, and a rooster were the passengers placed into the wicker basket beneath the balloon, and then it was released in front of an astonished crowd – and immediately went 1600 feet into the air! Despite a tear in the fabric, the vehicle traveled over a mile before coming down. The animals were placed into King Louis XVI’s menagerie to reward them for their “service.”

Can you imagine how amazing this must have been?











 1. The Marly Machine

How did they power all of those fountains at Versailles? The fact is, they didn’t. Most of the time, the only fountains that were operating were the ones in sight of the king. Special workmen cleverly closed or opened valves to whatever water features the king might see in a given day. Otherwise, most of them remained dormant!

The “Marly Machine” was constructed to get water to the palace through a long copper aqueduct. The Machine included not just an enormous structure on the river itself, (with fourteen giant paddlewheels) but sprawled all the way up the hill, with pumping stations, holding tanks, reservoirs, pipes and an intricate system of mechanical linkages to power pumps on the hill from the waterwheels below.

Despite the fact that at full capacity, it could put a million gallons a day into the reservoir, the system could never serve all of the fountains at once.

This system was loud enough to drive the neighbor (Madame Du Barry) to complain!

Episode 01: Marie Antoinette

Posted 30 January 2011 by
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We launch our podcast with a woman who has been long misunderstood. She is most remembered for two things, and one is completely inaccurate. That’s right, total tabloid fodder that morphed into historical “fact”.

Maria Antoine Josepha Joanna, born into Austrian royalty was a girl with a fine pedigree, stunning looks, graceful carriage and a pleasant demeanor.  The path of her life was created by her mother (whose wasn’t, right?) who took great pride and long thought into marrying off her  children not necessarily for love, but for political reasons. Her youngest daughter would be plunged into an extraordinary life in a foreign land first as the Dauphine of France, then as Queen, mother, style icon,and eventually, political prisoner and symbol .

But this isn’t a Disney Princess story.  It was one of patience, sacrifice, duty and planning, and –quite frankly- it wasn’t all big fashion, cake and champagne. That was the image, not the reality. In some regards, the history of Marie Antoinette was not only a result of her upbringing and the political climate, but she was also a victim of the social media of her time ( and yeah, ultimately, the guillotine. Ouch.) <em> <strong>(Click here for more fabulous shownotes!)</strong> </em>!

Episode 159: Empress Sisi of Austria, Part One

Posted 17 August 2020 by
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Sisi as a newlywed circa 1855 

Empress Sisi’s story often reads like a fairytale…usually because a lot of the coverage of her life is fiction. The basics do parallel those tales: a vivacious, beautiful young woman is chosen from all the lands as the love of the Austrian emperor. As a beloved Empress, she adds fresh energy to Viennese court while riding horses, maintaining her youthful energy, being a fashion icon, and raising a family.

But the reality behind that lovely facade is a little darker, a little sadder, and did not end in a “happily ever after.” (more…)

Episode 127: Not-Quite-Live from PodX Show

Posted 3 June 2019 by
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In May of 2019 (if you’re in the future, if you’re in the present- this weekend) we appeared live at PodX. PodX was a beautiful collection of both podcasters and podcast listeners who gathered in Nashville to celebrate podcasting. (more…)

Episode 100: A Celebration!

Posted 17 January 2018 by
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We’re celebrating our 100th full-length episode and our 7th year by pulling back the curtain and taking a look at some women and moments that we will never forget.


Chronological Subjects

Posted 13 September 2017 by
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We don’t cover women in chronological order, we cover them in no order. We’re zipping all over time and continents like a TARDIS set to RANDOM: Ancient Rome to late 1800s Poland then pretty soon we’re in 1600s Africa. But we do appreciate that some people would like to listen to our show in chronological order and thanks to our amazingly organized friend, Sarah Frawley, they can.

2021 update: We weren’t great at keeping this list current with our episodes, so a very kind and organized listener, Nancy G. Rosoff, took pity on us and made this fancy spreadsheet with the hopes of keeping it updated. If she can’t…well, she’s in very good company. You can find this at: History Chicks Chronology. Thanks so much, Nancy!!


Episodes in Chronological Order, with Links


Hatshepsut…1507-1458 BCE…#45

Cleopatra VII…69-30 BCE…#46

Agrippina the Younger…15-59…#73

Hypatia of Alexandria…355?-415…#95

Eleanor of Aquitaine…1122-1204…#86

Joan of Arc…1412-1431…#51

Tudor Grandmothers…1441/43-1509; 1466-1503…#21

Katherine of Aragon…1485-1536…#22

Anne Boleyn…1501/1507-1536…Minicast

Last Four Wives of Henry VIII…1508-1537; 1515-1557; 1521-1542; 1512-1548…#24

Queen Mary I…1516-1558…#30

Grace O’Malley…1530-1603…#109

Lady Jane Grey…1536/1537-1554…#31

Elizabeth I…1533-1603…#43, 44

Mary, Queen of Scots…1542-1587…#58

Elizabeth Bathory…1560-1614…#118

Queen Nzinga…1583-1663…#80

Artemisia Gentileschi…1593-1653…#85


Madame de Pompadour…1721-1764…#19

Catherine the Great…1729-1796…#61,62

Abigail Adams…1744-1818…#4

Phillis Wheatley…1753-1784…#119

Marie Antoinette…1755-1793…#53, 54

Schuyler Sisters…1756-1814; 1757-1854; 1758-1801…#71

The Duchess of Devonshire…1757-1806…#17

Mary Wollstonecraft…1759-1797…#16

Sybil Ludington…1761-1839…Minicast

Dolley Madison…1768-1849…#5

Jane Austen…1775-1817…#38

Sophie Blanchard…1778-1819…Minicast

Princess Charlotte…1796-1817…#13

Mary Shelley…1797-1851…#Minicast

Sojourner Truth…1797-1883…#96

Marie Laveau…1801-1881…#89

Elizabeth Cady Stanton…1815-1902…#36

Ada Lovelace…1815-1852…#103

Mary Todd Lincoln…1818-1882#69, 70

Queen Victoria…1818-1901….#11,12

Elizabeth Keckley…1818-1907…#72

Lydia Pinkham…1819-1883…#52

Clara Barton…1821-1912…#14

Harriet Tubman…1822-1913…#117

“The” Mrs. Astor…1830-1908…#8

Belva Lockwood…1830-1917…#77

Louisa May Alcott…1832-1888…#104

Victoria Woodhull…1838-1927…#76

Queen Lili’Oukalani…1838-1917…#97

Annie Chambers…1842-1935…Minicast

Belle Starr…1843-1889…#115

Carry (Carrie) Nation…1846-1911…#47

Calamity Jane…1852-1903…#115

Empress Cixi…1853-1908…#105

Gilded Age Heiresses…1853-1909; 1853-1919; 1870-1906…#9

Jennie Jerome Churchill…1854-1921…#10

Annie Oakley…1860-1926…#92

Lizzie Borden…1860-1927…#6

Jane Addams…1860-1935 #112, 113

Ida B. Wells…1862-1931…#25

Nellie Bly…1864-1922…#20

Anne Sullivan Macy…1866-1936…Minicast

Wallis Simpson…1869-1986…#93/94

Beatrix Potter…1866-1943…#64

Madam C.J. Walker…1867-1919…#68

Margaret “Molly” Brown…1867-1932…#23

Marie Curie…1867-1934…#74, 75

Laura Ingalls Wilder…1867-1957…#2

Romanovs…1872-1918…#32, 33

Emily Post…1872-1960…#91

Four Inventors…1873-1950; 1839-1913; 1891-1970; 1914-2000…#60

Lucy Maud Montgomery…1874-1942…#88

Lillian Gilbreth…1878-1972…#59

Helen Keller…1880-1968…#7

Coco Chanel…1883-1971…#98

Georgia O’Keeffe…1887-1986…#110

Agatha Christie…1890-1976…#48

Bessie Coleman…1892-1926…#41

Mary Pickford…1892-1979…#107

Statue of Liberty…1886-?…#108

Wallis Simpson…1896-1986…#94

Amelia Earhart…1897-1937…#39

Hattie McDaniel…1895-1952…#50

Dorothy Parker…1893-1967…#55, 56

Zelda Fitzgerald…1900-1948…#66

Clara Bow…1905-1965…#27

Josephine Baker…1906-1975…#34, 35

Frida Kahlo…1907-1954…#42

Lucille Ball…1911-1989…#82,83

Julia Child…1912-2004…#29

Rosa Parks…1913-2005…#26

Ella Fitzgerald…1917-1996…#18

Shirley Chisholm…1924-2005…#78

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis…1929-1994…#100/101

Audrey Hepburn…1929-1993…#120

Anne Frank…1929-1945…#114