Friday, October 22, 2010

Carlota's Prayer


In the 1939 film Juarez, Bette Davis, cast as the tragic Belgian empress of Mexico, begs Our Lady for a child.

8 comments:

Matthew Palardy said...

One wonders if such a moving scene would ever be produced in today's Hollywood. One wonders furthermore if there are any living actresses with as much class as Bette Davis who could actually pull this off.

Matterhorn said...

Yes, I rather doubt it...

An interesting video by the Mad Monarchist, mixing images of Bette Davis with ones of the actual Empress Carlota:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk5ebGJET0A

MadMonarchist said...

I love that scene though the set-up for it was completely off (Carlota was infertile and Maximilian was keeping this from her on the advice of his doctor). It was most likely Maximilian who was unable to have children and both knew full well by that time that no children would be coming. Still, it is a very moving scene, one of my favorites from that movie. The setting and look of it is spectacular.

Matterhorn said...

Somehow it seems to tell a truth beyond the truth, if that makes any sense. It is a fictional scenario, as you say, but it conveys, I think, the real Carlota's earnestness and desperate desire to do her best for Maximilian and Mexico.

Matterhorn said...

Also, the image of her praying for a child while, unbeknownst to her, this is impossible seems symbolic of her hopes, at the outset of the Mexican venture, for a fruitful future. Hopes which proved to be tragic illusions...

MadMonarchist said...

That's true, and one reason I really like the movie (intended as a loveletter to Juarez) is because it portrays the "spirit" of what happened better than about any other I've seen on the subject. Maximilian and Carlota are portrayed as good people, dupes at worst but certainly not villains and genuinely well-meaning. It is also true that they both did very much adopt Mexico's patron saint as their own. Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe were seen throughout the palace and pilgrimages to the image were commonplace.

Ms. Lucy said...

Thank you Matterhorn:)

Christina said...

So moving...poor Carlota! I'd love to see the whole film now!