The Englishwoman and the Duke

The Lady and the Duke is a movie Franco – German of Eric Rohmer released in 2001 . It is an adaptation of Grace Elliott’s memoirsin which the author, an English aristocrat living in Paris close to Philippe Égalité , tells the story of how she lived the French Revolution . After La Marquise d’O … (1976) and Perceval the Welsh (1978), it is the third historical film of Éric Rohmer .

For the first time, Eric Rohmer uses digital. He uses an innovative way by asking a painter to produce paintings faithfully representing the Paris of the late xviii th century and using these paintings as a backdrop for outdoor scenes filmed on a green background.


The film presents the point of view of an English aristocrat, Grace Elliott , during the French Revolution . She is a close friend of the Duke of Orleans ( Philippe Égalité ).

Technical sheet

  • Original title: The Englishwoman and the Duke
  • Director: Éric Rohmer
  • Scenario: Eric Rohmer , based on Grace Elliott’s account “Diary of my life during the French Revolution”
  • Interior decorations: Antoine Fontaine
  • Outdoor sets: Jean-Baptiste Marot
  • Costumes: Gilles Bodu Lemoine , Pierre-Jean Larroque , Maritza Reitzman
  • Photography: Diane Baratier
  • Sound: Pascal Ribier
  • Editing: Mary Stephen
  • Music: Bécourt , François-Joseph Gossec
  • Executive production: François Ivernel , Romain Le Grand , Léonard Glowinski
  • Associate production company: Françoise Etchegaray
  • Associated production: Pierre Rissient and Pierre Cottrell
  • Production Companies :
    •  Eric Rohmer Company , Pathé Image Production , France 3 Cinema
    •  KC Medien
  • Distribution Company: Pathé Distribution
  • Country of origin: France , Germany
  • Format: color – Digital Betacam kinescope in 35mm 1 – 1.77: 1 – DTS sound
  • Genre: Historical Movie
  • Duration: 129 minutes
  • Release date :
    • France :


  • Jean-Claude Dreyfus : the Duke of Orleans
  • Lucy Russell  (in) : Grace Elliott
  • Alain Libolt : the Duke of Biron
  • Charlotte Véry : Pulcherie, the cook
  • Daniel Tarrare : Justin, the porter
  • Rosette : Fanchette
  • Leonard Cobiant : Champcenetz
  • François Marthouret : Dumouriez
  • Caroline Morin : Nanon
  • Helena Dubiel : me Meyler
  • François-Marie Banier : Robespierre
  • Serge Renko : Vergniaud
  • Eric Viellard : Osselin
  • Michel Demierre : Chabot
  • Christian Ameri : Guadet
  • Laurent Le Doyen : officer of the Miromesnil section
  • Georges Benoît : president of the Miromesnil section
  • Serge Wolfsperger : Deputy Miromesnil Section
  • Jean-Louis Valero : street singer
  • Hervé-Axel Colombel : onlooker at the Carmelite Convent
  • Gérard Martin : onlooker at the Convent of the Carmelites
  • Marie Rivière : me Lawrence
  • Henry Ambert : employee of the town hall of Meudon
  • Charles Borg : officer of Vaugirard
  • Claude Koener : officer of Vaugirard
  • Jean-Paul Rouvray : officer of Vaugirard
  • Anne-Marie Jabraud : me de Gramont
  • Isabelle Auroy : me Châtelet
  • Michel Dupuy : the doorman rue de Lancry
  • Pascal Ribier : a soldier


  • Ah! it will go and the Carmagnole of Claude Balbastre played by Jean-Louis Valero
  • “Brutal March” by François-Joseph Gossec , performed by the Orchester de La Grande Écurie and the Chambre du Roy , conducted by Jean-Claude Malgoire .


Portrait of Grace Dalrymple Elliott (1754-1823) by Thomas Gainsborough.
Portrait of Philippe-Égalité by Antoine-François Callet .

Project Genesis

After La Marquise d’O … (1976) and Perceval the Welsh (1978), it is the third historical film of Éric Rohmer 2 .

Rohmer is used to working with light means and small budgets. For this film, he needs a larger budget (40 million francs, or 6 million euros) 2 .


The scenario only takes up part of the Elliott Grace Memoirs and stops when it is released in 1793. Rohmer did not take up the story of his life in prison, and refocused the plot on Grace Elliott’s relationship. and the Duke of Orleans. In addition, he also added developments. He especially imagined the details of the crossing of Paris to go to Meudon 2 .

Decor and method of filming

To reconstitute the Paris of the time of the Revolution, Rohmer asked the painter Jean-Baptiste Marot to make paintings representing the streets of Paris 2



Although it is a historical film, we find in this film recurring themes of Rohmer as the opposition between Paris and the suburbs 2 .

Critical reception

Director Philippe Garrel loved this film. In an interview with the Inrockuptibles in 2011, he says he found this film much better than the one he had just made at the time: “De Rohmer, I love The English and the Duke . I saw it after the filming of Wild innocence , and as it always happens I come across a movie that I find much better than the one I just made. That year, it was The Englishwoman and the Duke 3 . ”

“Let everyone be allowed to judge whether the regicide and the Terror that followed were a liberation, a horror or a necessary passage. The Englishwoman and the Duke have at least the merit of provoking a debate hitherto rarely begun. But basically, and the main interest of the film comes from there, he is less interested in defending this or that camp that show the ambiguity and compromises of each, as the feeling gets involved . There is no more pure feeling than irreproachable commitment. That would be the thesis of the film, if thesis there was. […]
With this French Revolution in “live”, Rohmergives the impression of having invented a film before cinema, a show before television, where participants would be both the real actors and commentators of history. “

– Télérama , Jacques Morice, September 5, 2001 4

“But where the Japanese studios go from the virtual to tend towards maximum realism, where Spielberg makes his dinosaurs as likely as possible, Rohmer never tries to hide the artifice of its incrustations, exposes the mixture of real elements , pictorial and virtual. Hence a hacking aspect that refers to the first DIY of Méliès , a wonderful side that evokes the various experiences of precinema, the magic lantern to Emile Reynaud . From where also a fundamental honesty, almost childish compared to the technical subterfuges of the film, as if Rohmer told us “All this is rigged, strict realism is here impossible, but go, it looks like we are in 1790, in the middle of the people of Paris . “[…] That said, the English and the Dukecan not be reduced to a simple experimental prototype or a pure colloquial object on realism and truth.Playing a heroine caught in the torments of history, the film is above all a matter of survival and suspense, populated by characters complex, crossed by bonds of love, friendship and betrayal, in short, all that makes the great fictional fiction, with in addition an important historical background. “

– The Inrocks , Serge Kaganski 5


  • 2002 : nominated for the Caesar for best costumes, Pierre-Jean Larroque
  • 2002 : nominated for the César for best decorations, Antoine Fontaine and Jean-Baptiste Marot
  • 2001 : nominated for Best Achievement at European Cinema Awards , Éric Rohmer
  • 2002 : best film of the year 2002 in Peru [ref. necessary]


  • Montero, José Francisco and Paredes, Israel. Imágenes of the Revolución. Inglesa y el duque / The commune (París, 1871). 2011. Shangrila Ediciones. read online  [ archive ]
  • Eric Rohmer , ” The Lady and the Duke, statement of intent ,” Traffic , o 75,

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Philip FAUVEL. Filmography in “Rohmer and the Others” [online]. Rennes: Rennes University Press, 2007 (accessed 06 October 2013). Available on the Internet  [ archive ] . ( ISBN  9782753526891 )
  2. ↑ a , b , c , d and e ” Eric Rohmer returns to The English and the Duke “, Télérama , ( read online  [ archive ] )
  3. ↑ Philippe Azoury and Jean-Marc Lalanne , ” Philippe Garrel: maintenance with a burning be ” Les Inrockuptibles , ( read online  [ archive ] )
  4. ↑ Cf. site Télérame  [ archive ] Accessed October 8, 2013
  5. ↑ See website Inrocks  [ archive ] Accessed October 8, 2013

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