THE UNLUCKY MOVIE WITH DREAMY SOUNDTRACK...
Just starting from 1973, Riyoko Ikeda
has been courted by producers who wanted to get rights of
VERSAILLES NO BARA for a movie or animated series. Still
Riyoko Ikeda seemed not to be concerned to see her work on
screens. The first who got to convince her, he was japanese
producer MATAICHIRO YAMAMOTO who was finally allowed to
shoot the "LADY OSCAR" movie in 1978.
Funds to produce the movie are granted by japanese
Shiseido, together with NTV Nippon Television
and other great names, such as TOHO CO. and KITTY RECORDS.
At those times, Yamamoto was a young producer, about 30
years old and this movie was one of the first projects for
Jacques Demi too (the French director choosen for this
movie), they both will get bright careers years later.
Lady Oscar - Cinema Poster
Searching for actors was very difficult, above all for the
role of Oscar... so that Riyoko Ikeda herself finally
decided to go to Paris in order to be present at the tests.
Finally, choice falled on Catriona Maccoll, a young dancer
who was at her first time in cinema.
As about the other most important roles, they choose all young actors without experience; none of them will shine so much and they all remained quite unknown to the great public.
Catriona Maccoll (3 Oct. 1954, Oscar) and Barry Stokes (19 Sept. 1948, Andrè) will continue the career as actors in future but without important results, only little parts into not important tapes. Young and unlucky Christina Bohm (19 Febr 1954, Marie Antoinette) died a few time after finishing the movie, after a road accident... she was only 24: her role was maybe the best among the others since she was so nice and gracious that she really got to embody the figure of Marie Antoniette just she had to appear into the Riyoko Ikeda manga, who wanted a tender-hearted young queen, unconscious of her destiny.
The only figure here who will get some
kind of fame, she will be Patsy Kensit, here into the role
of Oscar child... but.. what a "fame"... not even to mention!
Mataichiro Yamamoto is the only great figure of the whole thing: he is now a great producer.
all the artists who worked to this movie, we must speak
about the great composer Michel Legrand (1932): he had
already worked with Jacques Demi when he accepted to write
the soundtrack of this movie, registered in Japan and
distributed by Kitty Records. Michel Legrand is now most
well known all around the world for his talent so we don't
wonder about the fact that he really wrote wonderful musics
for this movie: he also won 3 Oscar prizes and if you want
to get more infos about this career, you will easily find
many websites dedicated to him.. still you will hardly find
any recall to this movie unfortunately.
Jacques Demi too, whose name became so famous in France, did his best to make his fans forgive the direction of LADY OSCAR and this was not such a great honour (peace to his soul, he is dead).
It's true that this movie was not a masterpiece: i am not
here to acclaim it and not concerned in redeeming all those
people who didn't like it... still i would like to make you
think about the fact that this movie, even if it was shot in
France with international cast, it was just a japanese
production and Japan had a really short story about cinema.
Following such a rythm with such a plot was very hard... Catriona Maccoll had commented her experience for a japanese magazine with these words: "...I don't think that i have ever been less aware of time and seen the months pass by at such a speed. Indeed a great deal of time and hardwork was put into the making of "Lady Oscar" by everyone involved, in order to overcome the inevitable day-to-day problems to ensure that the filming ran as smoothly as it did, which is not to be guaranteed when there are at least three languages being spoken on the set! The actors who spoke English, the team who spoke French and the producers who spoke Japanese. However, everyone was more then willing to make an effort to understand and get on with one another and i am sure than i can say on their behalf that "we had a lot of fun!!"(...) I think as far as i am concerned that the international element was one of the most exciting things about it: I had the impression that the whole world was involved! Tokyo has always seemed so far away from me and i was thrilled to be in such close contact with Japan and the Japanese people, a nation from the other side of the world whom i did not know much about and had certainly never had the opportunity to meet or work with before...." (Shueisha Roadshow, 1979)
Due to so many obstacles, during the production of the movie
and up to the opening at Tokyo, on 3rd March 1979, i am
always a bit annoyed when reading predictable critics about
this movie on websites, here and there... quite all websites
dedicated to LADY OSCAR are mentioning this movie telling
that it was bad, without doing any sort of analysis of the
This movie has been produced in Japan in 1978 and it was the first experiment to bring VERSAILLES NO BARA on screens: the most famous manga in Japan, 10 volumes, had to be condensed into a tape of 90 minutes: some years later, people will forgive Shingo Araki because he was not strict to the original story due to the fact that he had to resume the whole story within 40 episodes only (about 13 hours and 30 minutes...)... and Jacques Demi? Nothing forgiven! Not even considering that Shingo Araki Production was counting the most talented artists of the genre while Demi had to work with a cast of beginners.
In all the countries where the LADY OSCAR LIVE MOVIE has been transmitted, it was transmitted after the success of the animated series (even if, in Japan, the animated series came with one year of delay, after!) so unless finding the progress from the movie to the animation, we have seen the opposite regression... but this is an error of ours.
about the role of Oscar, all has ben told about Catriona
Maccoll but the reason for which she had been choosen! Major
investor of the LADY OSCAR LIVE MOVIE project was japanese
Shiseido, producing cosmetics: Shiseido wanted to fund the
promotional campaign of its products, in those years, on a
message who could sound like this "DO YOU LIKE THE ROSE OF
VERSAILLES? MAKE-UP WITH OUR PRODUCTS AND YOU'LL BE
BEAUTIFUL LIKE A ROSE!... so they needed Oscar to be
beautiful, no matter if she was able to go horse-riding or
Lady Oscar - Il copione
|Music added as background in this page is a piece cut and resampled from the "Lady Oscar Theme" by Michel Legrand. Please note it's here to publicize the original soundtrack. Any kind of reproduction is not allowed. This website exists for collectors of original material only, we don't promote and we don't support diffusion of illegal materials ever. We do all, with regards to original creators and authors.|