Monday, August 31, 2015

"It's Easy to Be Good to Those We Love!" A Look at Marie Antoinette (1938)



MGM's lavish, expensive biographical film about Marie Antoinette had a long road to travel before it dazzled its star-studded audience at a gala premiere worthy of the film's titular queen.  Marie Antoinette been in production since at least 1933, shortly after the publication of Stefan Zweig's bestselling biography.

At one point during the early production years, William Randolph Hearst campaigned for Marion Davies to star in the title role; however, the two had a falling out with MGM sometime before 1935 and ceased contact with the studio. Irving Thalberg, head of MGM at the time the film was officially greenlit, cast his wife Norma Shearer in the title role. Robert Morley was cast as Louis XVI after the studio could not get Charles Laughton--reportedly their first choice--to accept the role. Tyrone Power, at the insistence of Norma Shearer, was cast as Axel Fersen.

The film was originally conceived by Thalberg, Shearer and director Sidney Franklin to be a technicolor historical epic with a planned running time of over 4 hours. Naturally, Thalberg's plans for the epic period drama were hardly thrifty: actual 18th century antiques were sought out for the sets and costume designer Gilbert Adrian was called in to begin designing exquisite costumes worthy of what Thalberg planned to be the magnum opus of MGM's historical films.

Unfortunately, Thalberg's death in September of 1936 had a domino effect throughout the studio which would not only affect Shearer's place in the hierarchy of MGM, but the production of Marie Antoinette. Thalberg's first-choice director, Sidney Franklin, was replaced with W. S. Van Dyke; the director switch, according to Robert Morley, happened "almost the night before shooting was to start."

 image: Hunt Stromberg, W. S. Van Dyke and Norma Shearer on set

Van Dyke was known around Hollywood as "One Take Woody" for his fast-paced directing style and his reputation for keeping filming costs low. Several weeks before he was replaced, Franklin had been asked by Louis B. Mayer to accept a shorter shooting schedule for the film--which would have meant seriously trimming the script. Franklin refused, and MGM decided to look for other directors. It was Van Dyke who insisted he could shoot the film in less than 60 days, and Franklin decided to give up his post.

One of the reasons that Van Dyke may have been brought on board was his reputation for keeping films on budget. Production on Marie Antoinette had continued throughout the rest of 1936 and 1937, but not without frequent criticisms from the studio heads at MGM, primarily about the film's mounting costs. Gilbert Adrian was frequently on the receiving end of increasingly irate letters which complained at length about the increasingly high costs of creating the film's wardrobe, which were due to Adrian's insistence on creating highly detailed, luxurious gowns for the picture.


image: (L) a gown worn by Norma Shearer in the film/(R) detail from a portrait of Marie Antoinette

Adrian flew to Europe in 1937 to view actual paintings of Marie Antoinette and her contemporaries, even studying them using magnifying glasses to view details not normally visible to the naked eye. Fabrics, beads, and trimmings were custom made for almost all of the gowns in the film--with particularly attention to detail being paid to the 34 elaborate costumes designed for Norma Shearer.

Adrian's eye for detail knew no bounds: he ordered special teams of professional beaders to be flown into the costume studio to work on the dresses, and even had certain fabrics and furs dyed to match Norma Shearer's eyes. The costume department was eventually forced to order custom made hangers for many of the costumes, which were so heavy (the wedding gown weighed about 108 lbs, almost as much as Norma Shearer herself!) that they broke the standard hangers used at MGM's studio.


Unfortunately, the stunning gowns designed by Adrian were not fated to grace the scene in their glittering, full color glory: before filming began, the studio made the decision to cancel the plans for technicolor and film Marie Antoinette in black and white. The decision was a financial one: with an already bloated budget, MGM did not want to add expensive technicolor filming to the list. As producer Hunt Stromberg wrote to then-director Sidney Franklin in a letter discussing the possibility of scrapping technicolor: "Color would add a tremendous cost."

Although this was a practical decision for MGM, it did the film a disservice; costumes (and sets) for black and white films have to be specially designed to appear a certain way on film. If you have ever stumbled on an article promising to "shock" fans of old TV shows with pictures of the set (The Addams Family is a great example) you can get an idea of how color had to be used in order to make things look just right in black and white. However, since the costumes in Marie Antoinette were designed to be filmed in technicolor, the details--beading, fabric colors, shades, trimmings--are obscured on black and white film.


Take as an example this gown worn by Anita Louise as the princesse de Lamballe, during a scene where she tells Marie Antoinette about the deathbed illness of Louis XV. On black and white film, the gown appears black--a reasonable color, given the nature of Lamballe's conversation. But a recent auction of the gown revealed it was actually a bright, vivid purple! It may seem like a small detail, but it would make quite the difference to see Lamballe in that triumphant purple when she tells Marie Antoinette--who has just been humiliated at court by the snarky Du Barry, who has just been told she is going to be sent to Austria by the decrepit king, who has just had an emotional encounter with Fersen--about the king's illness, rather than the presumably somber black.

Thankfully, Adrian's brilliant designs allowed for the aesthetic of the costumes to shine, color or not: we can still see the evolution of Marie Antoinette through her wardrobe; going from the playful, sweet dresses she wears when she is the 'innocent' dauphine, to the increasingly outlandish and excessive dresses she wears after being taken in by the duc d'orleans, to the mature and elegant gowns she wears after becoming queen and having children. We may not be able to marvel at how her golden 'gambling party' dress would have shined in color, but we can still appreciate the twinkle of sequins and beads as she ascends the staircase, Fersen in tow.

image: costumes from Marie Antoinette in Scaramouche and Ice Follies of 1939

MGM, not wanting to waste the expensive costumes, allowed them to be reused in several films (most notably Scaramouche and Ice Follies of 1939, where they appear in color); today, some of Adrian's budget-defying gowns are still around in varying conditions, in the collections of both museums and private collectors.

But the costumes were not the only element of Marie Antoinette to receive the axe (or shall we say, the guillotine) from the heads at MGM.

The original draft scripts of the film underwent serious revisions even before Thalberg's death in 1936. The conference notes for one early draft noted that "a reforming queen is so much less interesting than a hectic one," which was referencing the fact that the earlier drafts of the script emphasized Marie Antoinette's charitable nature, even going so far as to imply that she was the humanitarian driving force behind Louis XVI's attempted reforms. This particular emphasis may have been written to contrast Marie Antoinette's character more sharply with that of the duc d'Orleans, who is portrayed as wanting social change not for the good of the people but for his own personal gain.


In the final film, Marie Antoinette is portrayed as reformed, rather than a reformer. She goes from a 'wanton' party girl who thinks of nothing but pleasure to a calm, caring loving mother who shows great courage in the face of her trials. Yet it is only after she begins her passionate--yet appropriately chaste--affair with Axel Fersen that she actually matures as a character.

In her early years as dauphine, she is innocent but sad, stuck with Louis who is sweet but not physically intimate nor willing to stand up to the people at court who torment her. After she sparks a friendship with the sly, cunning and much more decorated duc d'Orleans, her behavior spirals out of control; she is throwing lavish parties, flirting openly with men even in public, and engaging in heedless behavior that leads to a reputation in ruins. And this is where Axel Fersen--depicted without wigs or any ornamentation--comes into play. It is Fersen who chastises Antoinette out of her bad behavior, it is Fersen who inspires her to be a good queen, and it is Fersen who brings about the mature, reformed woman we see at the opening of the third act.

image: Ruth Hussey, who played Polignac, taking a break on set

In addition to changing the nature of Marie Antoinette's character, the revisions to the film resulted in the almost complete removal of two characters from the script: the duchesse de Polignac and Gamin, the locksmith. The duchesse de Polignac, shown only in the background and offhandedly mentioned by name in the gambling party scene, originally had a much larger role in the story. She was the contrast played against the princesse de Lamballe--whereas Polignac ditched the queen at the first sign of trouble, it was Lamballe who stayed behind, remarking poignantly that her "place was here." Gamin, again only mentioned in the final version of the film, had several scenes establishing his unique friendship with Louis XVI--who he ultimately sacrifices his life for during the scene where the mob invades the palace.

The revisions--cuts, reshoots, and added scenes--did not cease until the film was given a wide release in the fall of 1938. The first finished version of Marie Antoinette premiered in the spring of 1938 and had a running time of 170 minutes. This early screening was well received by test audiences; one comment card called the early cut "the most beautiful production that has ever come out of Hollywood." After this early screening, about 10 minutes were removed from the film and several scenes were reshot.

 image: Norma Shearer and Tyrone Power at the premiere

The film's gala premiere in July of 1938 was an extravagant affair which included a scale replica of the Versailles gardens, a 30 piece orchestra, and hundreds of fresh flowers. According to attendees who were lucky enough to be at the celebrity-packed premiere, the audience gushed over the film, reportedly bursting into applause several times throughout the night. But before the film was released to the wider public in the fall of 1938, producer Hunt Stromberg was strongly advised to reduce the running time--not because of the length as one might expect, but because scenes in the second half of the film which were called "too heavy or tragic for popular consumption." Stromberg ultimately cut about 20 more minutes from the film, for a total of about half an hour of material removed from the first finished print.

It's unclear exactly what scenes were cut in between the gala premiere and the wide release, namely because it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what material made it into the gala premiere cut in the first place. There is a lot of material in the shooting script I own, which contains revisions through early 1938, that are missing from the final version of Marie Antoinette. But was this material present for the premiere version? It's difficult to say without having access to further shooting scripts or early prints of the film.


There are several scenes in my shooting script that, if they were included in the gala premiere cut, were likely removed to make the film more suitable for 'popular consumption'. Most notably the death of the princesse de Lamballe, which I've discussed previously; the scene as written in the shooting script is longer and more visceral than the quick scene in the film as it appears on DVD.

Although the studio was not at all happy with the expense that Marie Antoinette incurred during production, they did not hesitate to use that expense to their advantage when marketing the film for the wider public release. Posters, campaign books, articles, advertisements frequently flaunted the film's expenses in statistical lists, noting the amount of money MGM had spent, the total number of wigs, costumes, extras, and even claiming that Van Dyke refused to yell "action!" until he was sure everyone in the frame was dressed in their 'historically authentic' best. The New York Times described the film's luxury as surpassing Versailles--and given the fact that the historically based sets had to be expanded in order to compensate the hundreds of extras wearing massive gowns, the Times may not have been too far from the truth.


Advertisements for the film also frequently emphasized the fact that it wasn't a "stiff" historical drama; one particular ad read that "... the greatness of 'Marie Antoinette' lies in its humanness. Here are no cold, stuffy historical manikins giving lackluster imitations of past personages." Another promised audiences that the film would show them "Marie Antoinette the woman," rather than a formal, lifeless portrait.

Critical reviews of the film were generally favorable, although they somewhat more reserved than the gushing audience members, star and non-star alike, who filled countless comment cards and telegrams with praise for the picture.


Shearer's performance was consistently picked out for high regard, which is hardly surprising; her performance in the film is often called the best of her career.  Shearer shines so brightly during the last act that it's nearly impossible to recall some of those more emotional scenes without shedding a tear. The intense performance she gives during the scenes where Louis XVI tells her about his impending execution, and her raw, heartbroken reaction as she numbly listens to the drum-rolls leading up to the deed itself, is unforgettable; especially so when you consider that Shearer may have been incorporating her own grief into those scenes, having lost her husband not quite 2 years earlier.

The New York Times review was a notable exception which remarked rather scathingly on the film's poor handling of certain historical characters:
"As a whole, though, the script must be blamed for what, with the history of an era to draw from, is a surprising ineptitude of characterization. By whose authority do the authors treat a Barrymore (not to mention a Bourbon) like a nonentity? Dare to show us du Barry, the most amusing woman in France, as a middle-aged bore? Paint Louis XVI even blacker than history does as a neurotic imbecile, and force the conniving Duke of Orleans to appear as a roughed caricature of Joseph Schildkraut?"
Some of these criticisms may have been dampened if the script had not been trimmed of scenes which added more personality and nuance to certain characters, particularly to Madame du Barry and the duc d'Orleans. For example, this scene introducing Madame du Barry being banned from attending the dauphine's welcoming ceremony due to her social background would have made her resentment towards Marie Antoinette less random; particularly since the final version of the film does not show Du Barry until 2 years after Marie Antoinette's arrival. 

The depiction of Louis XVI in the film may have been salvageable without Robert Morley's fine performance. The script frequently depicts Louis XVI as an overgrown child, even going so far as to include a scene where he watches a magnificent ball from above, eating and apple and hiding like a naughty child up past their bedtime. Eventually his feelings for Antoinette overcome his childishness, which fortunately gives Morley some better material to work with.


Despite MGM's extensive advertising campaigns and the generally favorable reviews of the film, Marie Antoinette was a financial loss for the studio. The film earned four Academy Awards nominations, including Best Actress for Norma Shearer and Best Supporting Actor for Robert Morley, although both lost to other stars that year.

The film is currently available on DVD through Warner Brothers.

Further Reading

THE SCREEN; MGM's 'Marie Antoinette,' in Terms of Norma Shearer, at the Astor [New York Times, August 17 1938]

Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince [Mark A. Vieira, 2009]

Hollywood 1938: Motion Pictures' Greatest Year [Catherine Jurca, 2012]
 
Norma Shearer: A Biography [Gavin Lambert, 1990]

Gowns by Adrian: The MGM Years 1928-1941 [Howard Gutner, 2001]

Friday, August 21, 2015

More Autochromes of Life at Versailles by Jules Gervais-Courtellemont

I am in love with the soft, dreamy quality of Jules Gervais-Courtellemont's autochromes of costumed actors at Versailles. I was fortunate enough to find some vintage prints of these autochromes, so I am sharing a few more that weren't in my previous posts, or were only there with watermarks from other websites.

 credit: Jules Gervais-Courtellemont, scanned from my collection 

 credit: Jules Gervais-Courtellemont, scanned from my collection 

 credit: Jules Gervais-Courtellemont, scanned from my collection 

credit: Jules Gervais-Courtellemont, scanned from my collection


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Five of My Favorite French Revolution Films

The French Revolution has been the subject of film since the dawn of motion pictures; naturally then, it should come as no surprise that there are countless films about the revolution and its players--nor should it surprise you that the revolution continues to fascinate filmmakers today!

I compiled 5 of my current favorite films set in the French Revolution, which I've shared below.

Note: The 5 films chosen for this list are available in English or with official English subtitles, hence the exclusion of certain famous titles, such as La Revolution Francaise (1989). If you're looking for more 'Marie Antoinette' films, check out my other list!


L'Anglaise et le Duc (2001)

Inspired by the embroidered memoirs of Grace Elliot, the Scottish mistress to the duc d'Orleans, who was caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution. Grace and Orleans' relationship is played against the backdrop of the Paris during the Terror, where political loyalties--including those of the royalist Grace--can become a life or death matter. 

Danton (1983)

A downfall of Danton, adapted from a play by director Andrzej Wajda, whose decision to draw parallels through then-contemporary Polish events and the conflict between Danton and Robespierre makes for an intense--if polarized--look at the ultimate fate of some of the revolution's major players. Gerard Depardieu gives a particularly stand-out performance as Danton.

 Les adieux à la reine (2012)

Les adieux à la reine, based on a novel by Chantal Thomas, has a micro-focus that sets it apart from the more typical revolution films that span years. The story follows Sidonie, a young reader to Marie Antoinette, as she navigates the tension, panic and confusion of the palace over a several day period--before, during and after the fall of Bastille. (I have more thoughts on the film, particularly how it differs from the novel, here.)

 Orphans of the Storm (1921)

 A melodramatic but undeniably entertaining silent film about two sisters, Louise and Henriette, who travel to 1780s Paris and find themselves prey to political turmoil, poverty, the attentions of a violent aristocrat, and a revolution that threatens to divide the sisters forever. The story is based on a play which had already been adapted into film two times before 1921!

La Marseillaise (1938)

A sweeping epic from Jean Renoir that threads together the many stories of the French Revolution--from arguments in the boudoir of the king and queen to political speeches that helped turn the tide of history to the lives of the people who took to the streets of Paris and Versailles during the early years of the revolution. 
 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

8 Films for 18th-Century Devotees

There are countless films set in the 18th century--some of them even date as far back as the (very) late 19th century! The 18th century was a time of great social change and upheaval, of great personalities and dramatic lives; in short, it is a goldmine of storytelling for filmmakers.

It would be impossible to list every worthwhile film set in the 1700s, but I've compiled a short list of 8 films set in 18th century Europe that I find particularly exceptional. If you've noticed a lack of Marie Antoinette or French Revolution films on the list, don't worry: I have a desperate list for Marie Antoinette related films and am currently working on a list for films set during the Revolution.


 Barry Lyndon (1975)

Often described as one of Stanley Kubrick's finest films, Barry Lyndon (based on a novel by William Thackeray) tells the story of an Irish adventurer who finds himself in the midst of the British aristocracy after seducing a wealthy widow. The film's exquisite attention to production detail, which include specially designed cameras that allowed the production team to use mostly natural lighting and candle light, make it a true stand-out.

Belle (2013)

A fictionalized version of the real life of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the daughter of Sir John Lindsay, a British naval officer and Maria Belle, an enslaved woman. The film juxtaposes Belle's struggle to find her place in society with the infamous Zong "cargo" case. An exceptional performance by Gugu Mbatha-Raw made Belle one of the best films of the year.

Dangerous Liasons (1988) 

This rich adaptation of Les Liaisons dangereuses is impossible to resist: gorgeous costumes, stunning interiors, and just the right amount of luscious scandal mark it as one of the best adaptations of the novel, and one of the best 18th century period films currently out there. Glenn Close's performance is especially notable--and if you're a fan of Coppola's 'Marie Antoinette,' take note of the parallels between Liasons' infamous opera scene and Coppola's own film. 
 
The Duchess (2008) 

The Duchess of Devonshire was the "it" girl of British society in her day, and while The Duchess has some occasional pacing issues, it is one of the better biographical period films in recent memory. Kiera Knightley gives a great performance as the titular Duchess who, despite the limitations of life for women in Georgian England, strives to make her own mark on society.

 Casanova (2005) 

Heath Ledger stars as the titular Casanova in this fun, adventurous and romantic take on the life of Casanova. A fun adventurous film, lovely costumes, a heartfelt storyline and some surprising performances in supporting roles (Jeremy Irons, anyone?) are what make Casanova a memorable and worthwhile watch.


Ridicule (1996) 

In Ridicule, a poor French aristocrat must navigate the treacherous, difficult and scandalous world of Versailles in order to petition the King for a special project. Ridicule is a bit on the slower side, but the biting, down-to-Earth take on social corruption at the court of Versailles is a refreshing one.


The Madness of King George (1994) 

A dramatization of the mental afflictions experienced by George III, whose declining mental state and the attempted treatment by his physicians was fed upon by his political enemies. Nigel Hawthorne and Helen Mirren give particularly powerful performances that manage to be charming, witty, regal and even somber. The film covers a unique period in history and should not be missed!

Amadeus (1984)  

Amadeus is a fun, somewhat off the wall and definitely entertaining look at the rise of Amadeus Mozart and the dramatized rivalry between Antonio Salieri, played with relish in the film by F. Murray Abraham. From the rich soundtrack to the outlandish costumes to the antics of the titular Amadeus, the film has something for everyone. Above all, this straight-from-the-80s take on the life of Amadeus will rock your world!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Capet, éveille-toi! by Victor Hugo

[credit: Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie]

Capet, éveille-toi! by Victor Hugo

[Translation from Louis XVII: A Bibliography.]
Heaven's golden gates were opened wide one day,
And through them shot one glittering, dazzling ray
From the veiled Glory, through the shining bars,
Whilst the glad armies of the ransomed dead
Welcomed a spirit by child-angels led
Beneath the dome of stars.

From griefs untold that boy-soul took its flight,
Sorrow had dimmed his eyes and quenched their light;
Round his pale features floats his golden hair;
Whilst virgin souls with songs of welcome stand
With martyr palms to fill his childish hand,
And crown him with that crown the Innocents should wear.

Hark! Hear th' angelic hosts their song begin;
New angel! Heaven is open — enter in,
Come to thy rest; thine earthly griefs are o'er.
God orders all who chant in praise of Him,
Prophets, archangels, seraphim,
To hail thee as a King and Martyr evermore!

When did I reign? the gentle spirit cries.
I am a captive, not a crowned king.
Last night in a sad tower I closed my eyes.
When did I reign? O Lord, explain this thing.
My father's death still fills my heart with fear.
A cup of gall to me, his son, was given. I am an orphan. Is my mother here?
I always see her in my dreams of heaven.

The angels answered: God the Wise and Good,
Dear boy, hath called thee from the evil world, A world that tramples on the Blessed Rood,
Where regicides with ruthless hands have hurled Kings from their thrones,
And from their very graves have tossed their mouldering bones. What! is my long, sad, weary waiting o'er?

The child exclaimed. Has all been suffered, then? Is it quite true that from this dream no more
I shall be rudely waked by cruel men? Ah! in my prison every day I prayed,
How long, O God, before some help will come? Oh, can this be a dream? I feel afraid —
Can I have died, and be at last at home?

You know not half my griefs that long sad while;
Each day life seemed more terrible to bear;
I wept, but had no mother's pitying smile,
No dear caress to soften my despair.
It seemed as if some punishment were sent
Through me some unknown sin to expiate.
I was so young — ere knowing what sin meant
Could I have earned my fate?

Vaguely, far off, my memory half recalls
Bright, happy days before these days of fear; Asleep a glorious murmur sometimes falls
Of cheers and plaudits on my childish ear. Then I remember all this passed away;
Mysteriously its brightness ceased to be; A lonely, friendless boy I helpless lay,
And all men hated me.

My young life in a living tomb they threw;
My eyes no more beheld the sun's bright beams; But now I see you angels, brothers, who
So often came to watch me in my dreams. Men crushed my life in those hard hands of theirs.
But they had wrongs. O Lord, do not condemn! Be not as deaf as they were to my prayers!
I want to pray for them.

The angels chanted: Heaven's holiest place
Welcomes thee in. We'll crown thee with a star; Blue wings of cherubim thy form shall grace,
On which to float afar.
Come with us. Thou shalt comfort babes who weep
In unwatched cradles in the world below,
Or bear fresh light on wings of glorious sweep
To suns that burn too low.

The angels paused. The child's eyes filled with tears.
On heaven an awful silence seemed to fall.
The Father spake, and echoing through the spheres
His voice was heard by all.

My love, dear king, preserved thee from the fate
Of earth-crowned kings whose griefs thou hast not known.
Rejoice, and join the angels' happy hymns.
Thou hast not known the slavery of the great;
Thy brow was never bruised beneath a crown,
Though chains were on thy limbs.
What though life's burden crushed thy tender frame,
Child of bright hopes, heir of a royal name!
Better to be
Child of that blessed One who suffered scorn,
Heir of that King who wore a crown of thorn,
Hated and mocked — like thee.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Selections from the 18th century dress collection of Talbot Hughes

 

Talbot Hughes was a wealthy artist who, over the course of two decades, amassed an extensive collection of English fashions and fashion accessories, all dating from the 16th through the 19th century. In 1913, Hughes sold his vast collection to the famous Harrods Department Store in London. Harrods, in turn, gifted the collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1913.

Some of the dresses and suits donated to the V&A were collected in a book volume titled Old English Costumes. I found some digitized scans of the 18th century pieces featured in the book on AmericanRevolution.org, a selection of which I've posted below. What I most appreciate about these scans is how the fashions are being displayed--they are brought to life through poses and backdrops that give them more immediacy than a standard museum display.

All images are from AmericanRevolution.org.








Some of the collection of Talbot Hughes, including a gorgeous sack back gown, can be found at the V&A Digital Collection website.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Madame Elisabeth Prayer Cards

Although she is often overlooked in popular culture, Madame Elisabeth played an integral role in the lives of Louis XVI and his family--particularly during those final years in captivity. Her religious devotion was a source of strength not just for herself, but for her brother, her sister-in-law, and their children. Madame Royale wrote that once she was old enough to appreciate such things, she saw nothing in her aunt but "religion, love of God, horror of sin, gentleness, piety, modesty, and a great attachment to her family, for whom she sacrificed her life[.]"

I recently received several religious items related to the unfortunate princess, which I'd like to share now.

Below is a scan of a beautiful prayer card featuring one of the most well known prayers of Madame Elisabeth, presented in an elegant font and surrounded by religious and royal imagery.

credit: my scan/collection

The second item is a small booklet, released sometime in the 1920s, featuring a small portrait on the front, a short biography of the princess along with a few religious quotes from her letters on the inside (not pictured); and the same prayer quoted above on the back.

credit: my scan/collection

There's a particularly interesting note at the bottom of the page: "People who obtain graces of God through the intercession of Madame Elisabeth are requested to provisionally notify the Carmel de Pie IX of Meaux."

The Carmelites of Meaux were the first known association to campaign for the beatification of Madame Elisabeth. Princess Henriette of Belgium was the most famous patron in their cause. There have actually been several movements to petition the Church to beatify Elisabeth since the 1920s, including a modern Association of Madame Elisabeth founded in 2008; so far, none of these efforts have been successful.

 credit: my scan/collection

The final item I received is nearly identical to the earlier booklet, except it is from the late 1930s or early 1940s and is much more simple. The interior pages (not pictured) contains a short biography and the back, like the earlier release, has a transcription of Elisabeth's prayer.

And finally, an English translation of the prayer featured on all three of these publications:
I do not know what will happen to me today, o my God. All I know is that nothing will happen to me but what You have foreseen from Eternity. That is sufficient, o my God, to keep me in peace. I adore Your infinite designs. I submit to them with all of my heart. I desire them all: I accept them all. I make the sacrifice to You of everything. I unite this sacrifice to that of your dear Son my Saviour, begging You by His Sacred Heart and by His infinite merits for the patience in my troubles and the perfect submission which is due to You in all that You wish and permit.