Beauty, Majesty, Humility.
An adaptation of a German Operetta
, that was previously adapted into a stage play and a silent film. It starred Betty Grable
, Douglas Fairbanks Jr
, and Cesar Romero
On the wedding night of Countess Angelina of Bergamo (a Real Life
place in northern Italy), her small state is invaded by Hungarian hussars. Her newlywed husband is forced to flee, and the invading army comes in unopposed.
Hope comes instead from a supernatural force. Francesca "The Lady in Ermine", a previous countess from three centuries ago had saved the castle before from invaders, wearing nothing but an ermine coat; even her feet were bare. The other ghosts in the castle appear and call on Francesca's spirit to once again save the day. It turns out Francesca's legendary act, and how she plans to save this nation again, aren't as simple as it seems.
This film was the last of Ernst Lubitsch
, who died just over a week after filming started. Otto Preminger
took over, but asked not to be given a directorial credit out of respect for Lubitsch.
Not to be confused with the Leonardo da Vinci
painting "Lady With an Ermine".
Provides Examples Of:
- Does Not Like Shoes: Francesca's outfit in the painting means she's barefoot every time her spirit appears in that outfit.
- Ermine Cape Effect: Aside from the dream dress, Francesca wears only her ermine coat from the panting.
- Executive Meddling: The endings of the previous versions had Angelina getting back together with her husband. 20th Century Fox executives thought that it would mean Angelina got away with infidelity, even though it was Francesca romancing the Colonel through a dream, so the ending was changed to Angelina and the Colonel getting together.
- Femme Fatale: Francesca's mystique is this. The details known of what happened are that she went into the tent of the Duke of the invading force, and then stabbed him in the back.
- Identical Grandson: Angelina and Francesca.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: In several countries, this film doesn't have a DVD release. It's available in many countries in Europe.
- Mistaken for Cheating: Angelina's husband annuls the marriage due to this.
- Pimped-Out Dress: A few, from Angelina's wedding dress, to the dream dress Francesca wears.
- Pretty in Mink: The eponymous ermine coat, and at the end, Angelina wears a white ermine coat, hat, and muff which effectively became a wedding dress at the end.
- Rule of Symbolism: In-Universe. When appealing to the 16th century invaders, Francesca wears an ermine coat to show her noble lineage, and bare feet to show she's being humble.
- She's Got Legs: The 19th century dress Francesca wears has nothing under the crinoline, so Grable can lift it up and show off her gams.
- The way the ermine coat is cut also seems designed to show off her lower legs.