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Cardinal Richelieu (1935)

Cardinal Richelieu (1935),  starring George Arliss, Maureen O’Sullivan, Edward Arnold and Cesar Romero

Cardinal Richelieu is a 1935 American historical film directed by Rowland V. Lee and starring George Arliss, Maureen O’Sullivan, Edward Arnold and Cesar Romero. It was based on the 1839 play Richelieu by Edward Bulwer-Lytton depicting the life of the great seventeenth century French statesman Cardinal Richelieu and his dealings with Louis XIII.

In short,  Cardinal Richelieu is an excellent film due in no small part to the acting ability of George Arliss as the title character. Richelieu is portrayed as a master manipulator, checking and checkmating the various court intrigues, as well as dealing with the romantic subplot involving his own daughter, and his manipulated son-in-law — €” who nearly murders him towards the end of the film. But all turns out well — €” for the glory of France!

Trivia for  Cardinal Richelieu

  • Stars George Arliss and Edward Arnold did not get along at all on this film, with Arnold charitably describing working with Arliss as — €œa trying experience — €.
  • In the film, Richelieu is depicted doting on his cat, Mistigris (the — €˜Joker’ in a pack of cards). By the 18C, his fondness for cats had become an established part of his legend. It has been claimed that he had at least 14 cats at the time of his death in 1642: Gazette, Rubis sur l’Ongle, Pyramus and Thisbe (inseparable), Serpolet (Wild Thyme), Felimare, Soumise, Lucifer, Ludovic le Cruel, Lodoïska, Mimi-Paillon (possibly previously Mademoiselle de Gournay’s cat), Mounard le Fougueux, Perruque and Racan (twins, allegedly born in the academician Racan’s wig), and Gavroche. The cat which figures in the posters for this film is black, and does not resemble the screen Mistigris, who appears to be a fluffy calico.
  • The play first opened in London in 1839; then on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 4 September 1839 with Edwin Forrest as the title character. There were 12 Broadway revivals, the last in 1929.
  • — €œLux Radio Theater — € broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 23, 1939 with George Arliss, Cesar Romero and Douglass Dumbrille reprising their film roles.