Affair of the Necklace, The (2001) Movie Script

Napoleon wrote that military
blunders and domestic catastrophes...
...fanned the flames
of the French Revolution.
But the Coup De Grce was
a curious palace scandal...
...involving a woman of nobility
denied, a member of the royal family...
...and the most magnificent string
of jewels in all of Europe.
This notorious intrigue
came to be known as...
...L'Affaire du Collier.
Jeanne de la Motte-Valois.
We have assembled to bring judgment
on you and the other defendants... instructed by His Majesty,
Louis XVI.
Before reading the record
of your interrogation... you care to make remarks
to this judging body?
I do.
If I reached for anything
that shone brilliantly... was the vision of a home denied me...
...and a sense of peace I have never known.
In the eyes of God...
...and the world...
...I wanted my life to be
as it should have been.
The name Valois first became known
to me many years ago.
Retraced five generations,
it was said... would come upon a king.
From this lineage,
there would emerge one whom I...
...and all of France would come to know...
...Jeanne Saint-Rmy de Valois.
Darnell Valois was a reformist.
A champion of the common folk.
The Valois name was associated
with the resistance... association one could ill
afford in those tumultuous days.
Who are they, Father?
Bring him out.
- No.
The monarchy believed the Valois name
would be buried...
...with the young girl's father.
But the monarchy would
prove to be wrong.
That winter, her mother's
broken heart gave out.
And in an instant,
Jeanne was an orphan.
And I would cross paths
with that damaged young woman...
...many years hence.
Jeanne grew up alone
and accomplished it quickly.
Vowing to restore honor
to the Valois name...
...she set her sights on the one
person she felt could make it right...
...the queen of all France,
The queen is in fine voice tonight.
The role of temptress suits her.
No doubt it is a role our Antoinette
has played before.
Who might that little tart belong to?
She goes by the name la Motte...
...countess, no less.
Claims to be of the house of Valois.
What is to be gained by that?
- Perhaps, simply, it is the truth.
What a novel approach.
I'm told she owes her position
to a marriage of convenience.
Her husband comes and goes
as he pleases.
With whomever he pleases.
- The poor dear.
Her dress walks the cusp of fashion.
Two seasons ago.
Her eyes, though.
Very exciting.
Be mindful of whom you came with tonight.
As if it were possible to forget.
Champagne, madame?
- No, thank you.
Brava, Majesty.
- Majesty.
It was an evening of triumph, yes?
- Your Majesty.
There's no need to worship at my feet.
I've only had a faint. You need not
revive me from the dead.
In my years of service to the Crown...
...I'd watched them come and go.
You again?
I've told you to keep your distance
from Her Majesty.
Ambitious aristocrats
trouncing one another... gain royal favor.
Forgive me. I was overcome
by the strain of an important matter.
But she was different.
One I feel the queen should hear.
- You and all the rest.
I've sought an audience,
but I'm turned away.
Her Majesty does not care to know you.
I will hear that from her own lips.
Minister Breteuil, this is not
worthy of your attention.
Allow me to attend to the countess.
See that you do.
Step aside, please.
I am Rtaux de Villette...
...your escort by command.
Ladies and gentlemen, the queen
of tarts, Antoinette.
Antoinette and Madame Campan
Together they did sup.
Taking turns they deeply drank
From each other's loving cup.
In the hay she passed the day
With Bonnervilles and Frank.
How do you think? 'Too too, ' we cry.
With a wink she did reply.
It never works, you know.
Little ploys to garner the queen's attention.
What's on the paper you were eager
to press into her regal palm?
Has this claim of heritage
been authenticated?
The king's minister of titles refuses
to see me. But I know the truth.
My father's estate was usurped
by the royal family.
I wish to petition for its return.
- By accosting Antoinette?
No. Being a woman, the queen will be
more sympathetic to my situation.
Once she learns of the injustice
my family has endured, she will...
Please forgive me, countess.
It is so fresh, new...
...and naive.
It is remarkable how quickly
you've made yourself tiresome.
De la Motte?
I knew a Nicolas de la Motte in the cavalry.
Thank you.
- Though, at the time, he was no count.
Though it's not uncommon
to buy such titles.
What you suggest is insulting.
It's less attractive coming
from a common gigolo.
Well, I fancy myself quite uncommon
in that respect.
You've come too far. The count has a
temper. If I call out, he'll come.
And do what?
Separate you from the beloved tools
of your trade.
How disagreeable.
He's back, then?
I saw him a week ago in Rambouillet.
Strange, though, he seemed ensconced
with an actress from the Comdie.
You inserted yourself in this.
How do you propose to take your leave?
Have you any suggestions?
- Find a use for yourself.
At court, to obtain your desires,
you must know what others desire.
And you have such knowledge?
- It's my second greatest talent.
The countess' entry into court
coincided with another...
...significant arrival.
It was an amazing extravagance.
A glorious tribute... the vanity of man.
This is the culmination of my life.
Its combined weight
is no less than 2,800 carats.
Well, Monsieur Bhmer, it is a marvel.
Thank you.
Bassenge and I have put our souls into it.
And every livre you possess,
I'll wager.
We incurred some debt
purchasing the stones.
I'm sure you'll have no trouble
finding a buyer.
Our hope has always been that
it would find its place with you.
How curious.
It was suggested to me that
it was destined for Madame du Barry.
See to her needs.
Madame du Barry?
- That trollop... husband's grandfather maintained.
Well, I-.
I pray the whispers are mere court gossip.
Otherwise, du Barry's banishment
would find you without a buyer.
If you would permit, we are...
...foggy on the exact order of events.
If Her Majesty would...
...try the necklace on?
It is a phenomenon.
Still, I decline.
We are the appointed jewelers
to Her Majesty.
Our reputations will be shattered
if we seek buyers.
I did not commission the necklace.
I do not wish to acquire it.
I need explain myself no further.
- I-.
Shh. No, no. Shh.
Your Majesty.
- Majesty.
Your Majesty.
- Majesty.
You handled that well.
I know not to speak.
- A lot of help...
He won't see me. I've tried.
Why should today be different?
Because the minister of titles' aunt... an acquaintance.
I am aware of your presence.
I can hear you thinking.
Thank you for seeing me.
You don't know how long I've waited
for this opportunity.
Please tell me.
Have you considered my petition?
It is unusual for you to come
on your own behalf.
In my experience, women don't possess
the temperament for negotiations.
It is more appropriate to discuss
this with the Count de la Motte.
The count is in Rambouillet.
In any event, it's my lineage
I wish to have authenticated.
It is my family's home I wish returned.
Your petition places me
in a difficult position.
Your father was prone
to stirring up parliament.
He spoke out against poverty and tyranny.
He was a treacherous liar.
He only wanted to better the world.
If there were more like him-...
Forgive me.
- He railed against the monarchy.
That will never be tolerated.
You know the importance
of a God-given name...
...and a home in which it can flourish.
It defines us.
No doubt your request comes
from the heart.
But there are higher considerations.
- I implore you.
If I have no legacy to pass on,
the name of Valois dies with me.
In the eyes of the royal family,
that would not be unfavorable.
This royal office...
...will not grant your petition.
It never will.
I can't accomplish what I came to do.
Proper channels be damned.
The royal family had been well aware
of this meeting.
By crushing her hopes, they sought
to end the Valois legacy...
...and all that it stood for.
It's really quite simple.
To influence the minister of titles,
you must first have influence.
Hence, lesson one, the benefactor.
Perfect. The Marquis de Favras.
A most generous man with a most
generous appetite. For young men.
The Comte de Blonde, keeper
of the royal seals.
Wealthy, powerful...
...and enthusiastically pursues
all members of the female gender.
For what reason I cannot imagine. He's
as virile as an empty sausage skin.
And him?
- Ah, yes, Pierre Charron.
He has killed four men, loves a hunt
and despite his flirtations...
...maintains but a single lover...
...his benefactor,
the Marquis de Favras.
Lechers and parasites.
Is that all there is?
Welcome to court.
Here, appearance is everything.
And I mean no offense, countess,
but yours is lacking.
Your dress and living arrangements
must improve.
Plainly, you need money.
To obtain it...
...find favor with someone who has it.
Rtaux, my precious.
Look, ho.
Three sensual sirens of the sea.
How long will you suffer
the whims of old women?
Suffer? I bring joy
to venerable ladies. I'm often-.
You evade the question, monsieur.
I shall stop suffering the whims
of older women when...
...someone more intriguing
enters my world.
Am I to suppose you have no one
you care for now?
There was one. The self-proclaimed
Duchess de Vossi.
In truth, a courtesan of the highest stature.
She entertained only the noble elite
in her bed of pleasures.
She taught me the intricacies of court life.
From the noblemen that came to
our rooms I observed manner and wit.
Who can say? One of these fops
bobbling past us now...
...could well be my father.
An amusing thought at best.
How skillfully you play the rogue.
Yet even you cannot mask
such impenetrable loneliness.
Are we that much alike, countess?
Next lesson.
Always choose a benefactor
of noble means.
For instance, Louis de Rohan...
...cardinal of all France and blood
prince of the infamous house of Rohan.
He is a debaucher
of legendary proportions.
His parties are lavish,
orgiastic affairs.
They've arrived. One hour late
as required by royalty.
This should be entertaining.
Why such a chill
between him and the queen?
Years ago, on a pilgrimage,
Rohan bedded half the Austrian court.
He jested Antoinette's mother
had begged her turn.
This slander got back to her.
She never forgave him.
Despite his efforts to heal the rift.
- He needs her approval?
He wishes to follow Richelieu
and become prime minister.
Antoinette blocks his progress?
At every turn.
It's all right. Come out, my dear.
Let me introduce Colleen.
This lady is a maid
of the queen's private quarters.
I have come as you requested.
They would cut my hands off
if I were caught.
But de Villette was so heartfelt
in his request, I could not refuse.
Countess, unbeknownst to Her Majesty... are about to become
her closest confidant.
My curiosity about Your Eminence...
My curiosity about Your Eminence...
A rare miss, Your Eminence.
You distracted me.
Then I've fulfilled my obligation
as a woman.
I am unfamiliar with you.
- You're right, I've intruded.
My curiosity about Your Eminence
overcame my sense of formality.
What could ignite such curiosity?
I have heard it said you are a man
of copious desires.
Some desires run deeper than others.
I accompany the queen most days
at Versailles.
These are letters she wrote
when I was abroad.
Why bring them to my attention?
The damaged feelings between you
are well-known...
...but old wounds may be healing.
The queen has said as much?
- It's intuition on my part.
But with subtle persuasion, you
could make progress with Her Majesty.
And you will apply these gentle
pressures in return for what?
Your Eminence's gratitude is all I require.
...your patronage, from time to time.
Your offer is compelling.
But I must decline.
You're likely a fraud.
The court is riddled with them.
And a man of my office is often a target.
That you should doubt my veracity
is indeed a hurtful blow.
I've upset you.
Abel, please, leave us.
I wish to offer a word of comfort in private.
I was wrong to come here.
I see that now.
Yet you are here.
I cannot be comfortable
with a man who doubts me.
In times of doubt...
...prayer is the answer.
I kneel before me.
I will rest my hands on your shoulders...
...and we'll pray together.
I respectfully decline, Your Eminence.
I'm the cardinal of all France.
If the cardinal of all France
wishes you to pray with him...'ll do so.
You will not hold back.
Pray deeply...
...and with conviction.
Your Eminence.
No. I-...
Where'd you get this?
- Antoinette's chambers.
She does the embroidery herself.
I've noticed them.
A reminder of what could have been.
Maybe there is a way.
A means by which to verify your claim.
It so happens I have taken under
my patronage an extraordinary man.
He is grand master of the Illuminati,
the German mystic elite.
He is an accomplished mesmerist...
...who claims to have conquered
disease and death several times over.
His visions and prognostications
have proven accurate time and again.
Count Cagliostro...
...we are honored.
I sense many of you
have questions for me...
...that concern love, fate,
even betrayal.
But these answers will have to wait.
I'm drawn to a face that's new.
You seek an alliance with the cardinal, yes?
I'm certain many people bring
favorable offers before His Eminence.
But your alliance
is what concerns us tonight.
Comtesse de la Motte.
I haven't spoken a word about you
to this man. He truly is a marvel.
Or particularly well-informed.
You doubt my abilities?
I sense such turmoil within you.
I sense fear as well.
I am not afraid.
This is one of the more delightful
evenings I've spent in a catacomb.
Early on... learned to hide what you feel.
You've had great losses in your life.
Shall I go deeper?
There is no one here who hasn't lost
something which can't be replaced.
You were taken in by strangers,
then cast aside.
Always, you were on the outside
looking in...
...longing for that
which was taken from you.
...that's not what hurt most.
I see you...
...hovering over a cold grave...
...wishing it were your own...
...but it was not.
Was it?
A grave...
...dug for your mother's coffin.
Have I gone far enough?
Well, then, who's next?
Oh, that's working splendidly.
Smooth and even, monsieur.
A job done with conscientiousness
is a job that endures.
Yes, Majesty.
If he directed government like that,
France would rule the world.
Maman, watch me, watch me.
They are such a comfort to me.
A wonderful distraction.
I heard there were more disturbances.
- A small gathering of malcontents.
How small a gathering?
- Nearly 200.
No doubt my name was used in vain.
- Arrests were made, naturally.
Why do the people hate me?
It wasn't always so.
Your Majesty is not the source
of the animosity.
You're merely a symbol to aim it at.
You show fantastic audacity
in seeking me out.
Though I knew you would.
Did you denounce me to the cardinal?
I told him that despite your troubled past...
...I did sense an opportunity.
If you'd like my visions of you
to remain positive, share... what you gain from the cardinal.
I was caught off guard by the intimate
details you knew about my life.
And then I realized
the Marquise Boulainvilliers...
...a charitable woman who took me
in as a child, she was superstitious.
Magicians and mesmerists often
entertained in her parlor.
What is that to me?
A person of your colorful nature may
have found their way into her home.
In the course of your prognostications... may have asked her a few questions.
If you'd like to trade secrets
in front of the cardinal...
...keep in mind I have his confidence.
Also, the court is full of people...
...who would tear you to pieces
if I fed them enough lies.
Be careful.
I've done this a long time.
That is precisely why I will do it.
I have nothing to lose.
I keep him interested in me
and you will share in the rewards.
But remember that our fates
will now be joined as one.
I sense a surprising alliance on the horizon.
Long life, countess.
To Louis de Rohan,
cardinal of France.
It has come to mind
that the silence between us...
...has gone on far, far too long.
Excellency, Jeanne de la Motte...
'An apology would seem
the proper starting point...
...if we are to mend damaged feelings.'
A prince of the house of Rohan
apologize? It's never been done.
For years you've anguished.
She hasn't given you a look or a word.
You now hold a letter from her
of the most affable nature.
Yes, well, I submit Antoinette's
loathing of me has become somewhat...
...more than an irritation.
You need not suffer anymore.
If I acquiesced, would the reply
be delivered by your hand?
It would reach Her Majesty no other way.
Very well.
A note of credit will be advanced
to you in the sum of 5,000 gold louis.
Twenty thousand would seem
more appropriate.
Are you attempting to bargain with me?
Not long ago, a young woman
much like yourself...
...attempted to extort money from me.
She came forth with claims
of having experienced...
...some mistreatment at my hands.
Her accusations were,
of course, unfounded.
She was the niece of the captain
of my private guard.
One night, her uncle slipped
into this young woman's room...
...with a very sharp blade.
He slit the poor girl from her genitalia... the dimple on her pretty chin.
Do you know why a man would do
such a thing to his own kin?
Because I told him to.
Never test my good nature, countess.
I must ask that Your Eminence be mindful.
I can shatter this correspondence
as easily as I formed it.
The cardinal's threat inspired renewed
communications from Antoinette.
Dearest Rohan...
In time, His Eminence made clear his
wish to meet the queen in private.
I'm anxious for reconciliation.
My earnest cardinal...
For the hopeful countess and her devotee...
...keeping the cardinal at arm's
length drew them even closer.
You may count on my discretion.
Yet, as Rohan's correspondence with
the queen grew more intimate...
Your devoted cardinal.
- Your devoted queen.
...those on the streets of Paris
saw Her Majesty... a far different light.
Antoinette responded
by cloistering herself...
...behind the gilded gates of Versailles.
In that privileged asylum, it's little
wonder the queen failed to notice...
...a burgeoning threat in her very midst.
Is that the Countess de la Motte?
- What caused the transformation?
I've heard that Antoinette has taken
the countess under her wing.
Monsieur de Villette informs me
that they've become ever so close.
In the beginning,
it was my intent to simply use you.
A confession.
This is a fragile moment.
Yet somewhere along the journey...
...I have come to rely on you.
I have never felt that way about anyone.
Nicolas. How dare you?
It is seldom a man gets to watch
his wife make love from...
...that vantage point.
You are not welcome here.
Go back to your actress.
Upon hearing of your change in
fortunes, my affections rekindled.
In a blink, she seemed drab
and common, whereas... were once again my reason to live.
I've missed your touch.
Nicolas. Do not do this.
To what do you refer, my cherished?
Let's sort this out in another way.
- What happened, Rtaux?
Did you grow weary of plowing your way
through the old women?
It was bound to happen, I suppose.
Forgive me. I heard a noise
and I took the gun from your bag.
Rosalie, you've just shot my husband.
- Oh, God.
Are you digging for potatoes? Go easy.
I didn't tell you how to get this projectile in.
Do not presume to tell me how to get it out.
It is lodged in the fleshy tissues.
- Madame, there's a gentleman here.
How lovely. Monsieur Bassenge.
- Madame.
To what do I owe the honor?
Oh, dear. One of the menials
is having a tooth drawn.
It's never a pleasant procedure.
- No.
Please sit. Will you take some port?
- That's very kind, thank you.
Monsieur Bhmer could not join me.
He is in his sickbed over the matter
about which I wish to speak.
I pray his discomfort is not serious.
This burden has leeched the very will
to live out of a formerly robust man.
If I can improve the situation,
you may rely on me.
It has come to my attention that
you have influence with Antoinette.
On certain issues.
Then I'd like to make you aware
of a rather lucrative proposition.
I must ask you keep this
in strict confidence.
My lady.
We would like you to re-introduce the
idea of the necklace to Her Majesty.
If a bargain were struck,
be assured of a commission.
A very generous commission.
- Please, countess, won't you help us?
The interest alone on what we paid
for the diamonds is ruining us.
And so there was a fateful meeting.
The countess born by the grace of God...
...and the necklace formed
by the hand of man.
One without the other could do little harm.
But together...
It was fantastic, wasn't it?
That necklace could vastly improve
a person's situation.
Are we not blessed with a benefactor?
- Rohan?
No, this is a very dangerous idea.
A charming fellow once told me
something worthwhile.
The way to get to what you desire is
to know what everyone else desires.
The jewelers know only the queen
can relieve them of their creation.
Then we have our benefactor, Louis
de Rohan, cardinal of all France.
He desires the one thing his wealth
can't acquire, the prime minister ship.
But what he doesn't realize is the
queen secretly desires the necklace.
So if Rohan could somehow
make the transaction possible...
...the jewelers would have a home
for the necklace with the queen.
Brilliant, but one tiny flaw.
The queen doesn't desire the necklace.
You really must keep abreast
of current events, my love.
It would seem Her Majesty
has had a change of heart.
Why does Antoinette wish to obtain
this brutish trinket... such secrecy?
Such an extravagance could cause
further unrest among the people.
Then why ensnare His Eminence
in such a venture?
She seeks a discreet intermediary.
One who can be a guarantee
to the jeweler...
...should she be forced by circumstances
to default on her payment.
I beg your pardon, Your Eminence.
Mademoiselle Subur has arrived...
...for her religious tutorial.
Escort her to my private chapel.
I'll be along momentarily.
You've improved your position
with the queen. Help her...
...and the path to the prime
minister's post will be short.
I've grown tired of treading
that path on my hands and knees.
What do you have to say?
- I do sense an opportunity.
Stay the course.
No. No.
I've denounced my own character
in writing.
I've paid you exorbitantly
to exert your influence.
Yet my every request has been ignored.
Unless I meet Her Majesty...
...our arrangement is over.
Now if you'll excuse me... eager young mind awaits.
This is an opportunity
that may never come again.
With the necklace, I have a chance
to take back what was-.
I have a chance to get my home back.
It's all I ever wanted.
If I could bring it back for you,
I would. But honestly, I do not-.
If the cardinal wishes to meet
the queen, he should meet the queen.
You're naughty.
Let's say we convince Rohan to act
as guarantor for the necklace.
What'll happen when no payment's
made by Antoinette?
I imagine the eye of Rohan
will turn our way.
Yes, and shit will rain upon us
in biblical amounts.
I'm not interested in being his catch basin.
Nor am I. But to implicate us would
expose his own part in the scandal.
Don't you think he'd pay off the
jewelers to cover up the affair?
Yes, I'm sure he would.
Then have our throats cut
in a dark and disagreeable place.
Yes, I have thought about that
unpleasant eventuality.
I feel we could persuade him
that forgiveness is his only recourse.
What do you propose we do
about Nicolas? He could betray us.
Not if we bring him into the fold.
As hypocritical as it sounds...
...he may even be of help to us.
I'll speak with him alone.
He'll be more receptive.
Oh, yes, I'm sure he will be.
I knew something grand was afoot.
Rest assured I'll be an asset to this.
You can best help by showing restraint.
It will be important that all
seems normal in this household.
I like that part very much.
What role does the gigolo play though?
Will he be an out-of-town cousin?
Rtaux will do his part. You need only
concentrate on not being yourself.
Don't be angry with me.
I am the way I am.
You know as well as I, our marriage
has always been an arrangement.
You needed a title to gain access
to the royal court.
You took me on because
I bought you that title.
I've never been more than
a stepping stone in your eyes.
No. I saw something worthy
in you at one time.
Even gallant.
I wanted nothing more than
to make it a real marriage.
Perhaps we could have that now.
But you see, now it is an arrangement.
All that remained was to secure
the final conspirator.
The perfect man for the job
was dispatched with haste.
How do you do?
- How do you do?
Are you alone?
- Not now.
'Not now.' I have a proposition for you.
This is more intrigue than I bargained for.
The king's in Paris.
It has to be tonight.
You are to wait here.
I must confess, I am nervous.
My God, I'm shaking.
Give Her Majesty time to gaze upon you.
If she feels it is right,
she'll signal.
I understand.
- Be ready to flee at a moment's notice.
Say only what we've rehearsed.
And have confidence.
It is only acting, yes?
- Yes, but it must be convincing.
We have the grove to ourselves.
- Excellent.
Is that necessary?
- Yes, it is necessary.
The wound on my ass is barking.
- And you deserve it.
Forgiveness is a rose without thorns.
If I have offended Your Majesty,
I've suffered for it.
This is not necessary.
I remember your first day at Versailles.
You were a young girl of 14...
...with sweet rosebud lips.
I was a young bishop then,
and well-liked.
I felt a connection between
that young girl and that young man.
It transcended curiosity.
- I remember.
Get away, you dirty boy.
Someone's in the garden.
There's someone else in the garden.
We must go. Now.
What was that?
- Guards of the palace.
Follow me. Intruder on the grounds.
Follow me.
This way.
Come on.
- I say we separate. You go that way.
You there. Stand fast where you are.
Come back.
Stop for nothing.
There's a trail through the marsh.
He passed by here. I'm certain.
You there, search the bank.
Go find these bastards.
You've attempted to deceive me.
- Deceive you?
Don't play games with me.
Your Majesty.
I know what you're up to.
Antoinette is secretly in love with me.
Deny it if you will.
But don't ask me to play the fool.
My dearest Antoinette:
Our meeting at the grove was for me... the end of an epic journey.
To hear from Her Majesty's
lips such words...
And so, a bargain was struck.
The queen intended to pay
for the necklace... two months' time, on the day
of the Feast of the Assumption.
As guarantor, the cardinal was at risk
for a considerable sum.
When concern crept in,
the cardinal sought a higher power.
You wish to ascertain
if the risk is warranted?
Caesar had dream interpreters.
Hannibal utilized stargazers
and soothsayers.
Great men of destiny
need those who can see...
...beyond their own grand vision.
I gaze into sanctified waters.
I see a woman.
She places an object around your neck.
It is made of gold.
Cagliostro spun a divine prognostication.
Did my vision hold meaning for you?
The seal of the prime minister
is in the form of a medallion.
A medallion of pure gold.
Long life, my friend.
Did all go well?
- I was brilliant, of course.
From the queen.
It is a dispatch from Her Majesty.
The item of interest is to be turned
over to her messenger.
Do you have confidence in him?
- His name is Argille.
He attends the queen's chambers.
May I?
I'm responsible for this object
to the sum of one million gold louis.
Do you have confidence in this man?
Answer carefully.
You will be held accountable.
Monsieur Argille is not without faults.
Yet when it comes to his devotion,
no one can compare.
You'll no doubt reap untold rewards
for what you've done.
To Jeanne, the whole necklace
was not as glorious... what its parts could yield.
It was a means to an end.
And though I will not justify
the actions of the young countess...
...I later came to understand her reasoning.
Who does not aspire to take back
what was taken from them?
Who does not dream of returning home?
- Thank you.
Jeanne, you promised to take me
for a ride today.
Have you forgotten?
My dear wayward countess:
It's been weeks since
my meeting with Her Majesty...
...and still I've not heard a word.
Your continued absence from Paris
has put me ill at ease.
Wherever you may be, I trust you
spend your time furthering my cause.
With the Feast of the Assumption
upon us...
...I must insist you correspond soon...
...and apprise me
of Her Majesty's disposition.
Until then, I shall keep
my anxious thoughts at bay...
...with my duties of providing the people...
...with spiritual guidance.
For the evening.
- Brocade, is it?
The finest.
- Very nice. What else?
I'll see it all.
Everything, everything.
With your eyes.
And, of course...
- Is this your daughter?
Yes, count, my eldest.
- You're very lovely.
Have you ever considered
life in the theater?
The plasterer couldn't reach
that high edifice.
I designed a system of pulleys
so he could be elevated.
Fascinating, Your Majesty.
Stunningly resourceful.
Compliments of Bhmer
and Bassenge jewelers.
It is a bejeweled amulet.
A token of our appreciation
for your patronage these many years.
That jeweler has been grinning like
a jackal all afternoon. Now this.
'Madame, we are at the pinnacle
of happiness with our arrangement.
We take satisfaction in knowing
the most beautiful creation...
...will adorn the most exemplary of queens.'
I'm not sure what to make of it.
I think only one explanation will suffice.
Monsieur Bhmer has gone quite mad.
Her Majesty was at times
conveniently naive...
...and I wanted to count the incident
as just another act of a fool.
But in a growing climate of unrest,
no one could be trusted.
Debauchers and whores in fine silk.
The king and that harlot,
...drain the life's blood
of our national character.
Oh, God.
Quite a lot of excitement.
Yes. Desmoulins speaks
with such fiery passion.
Fiery passion happens to be
the very attribute I hold most dear.
Pardon me, monsieur.
- Yes?
I wasn't bothering the mademoiselle.
A few of the merchants inform me
that you've been selling diamonds.
I'm a licensed broker of precious stones.
I trade frequently here and in Amsterdam.
Then monsieur wouldn't mind
producing credentials.
Of course.
They're in my rooms at the hotel.
Care to accompany me there
to clear this up?
I think we should.
- Well, then.
A striking outfit. Very sharp.
Sainted mother of Jesus.
I nearly soiled myself.
Clever to run back here.
That way they can have us all.
Shut up or I'll cut that tongue.
Get off me.
- Nicolas.
You've had a scare.
I know you're upset...
...but you must maintain
your temper, please.
You won't sell diamonds in Paris anymore.
Say it.
We must leave the country.
Once this unravels...
...Rohan'll have our heads staked.
Let us not forget the cardinal's
letters to the queen.
This one proclaiming his love
would be damaging.
Suppose the cardinal doesn't give a damn?
We've laid our plans.
Now we must trust in them.
Jeanne would have to enter into
a new arrangement with the cardinal.
Patronage to blackmail.
The cardinal is about to find out
he was the victim of a fraud.
Then he'll want blood.
But he'll be told, should harm
come to us, these letters...
...will get to the house minister.
It's too dangerous.
I will not be a part of this.
I'm sorry to hear that.
I wanted to properly thank you...
...for this very important task.
Your trusted servant, countess.
Dear Monsieur Bhmer:
I'm a friend who writes to warn you...
...of a plot involving yourself,
Cardinal Rohan...
...and a particular necklace.
Antoinette has no interest in the necklace.
When Cardinal Rohan realizes this...
...he'll no longer stand as guarantor.
The countess knew Monsieur Bhmer
to be a man of nervous disposition.
She felt he'd head straight
to Cardinal Rohan.
Once the cardinal
realized he'd been duped...
...he would pay off the jewelers
to avoid humiliation.
History would have proven
her plan sound...
...had a certain individual's suspicions...
...not come into play.
Give way, we have important business.
Are you deaf?
Give way.
Minister Breteuil.
What an unexpected appearance.
You've been acting strangely.
- I act no differently than always.
Where are you going?
Pressing engagement with
a confidential client.
Urgent rendezvous,
secretive clientele?
I had no idea your position
was so full of intrigue.
You'll never find a more
clandestine profession.
I'm fascinated, Monsieur Bhmer.
I want to learn more.
It makes perfect sense.
What better occasion than the feast
to announce the new prime minister?
You think so?
Why else would the king and queen
summon you in such a manner?
It is an historic day for the house of Rohan.
Extremely historic, Your Eminence.
You look troubled, Your Eminence.
Nothing must mar this day.
I want my mind clear to enjoy
what I have so courageously earned.
There's something we must do.
Under what conditions
was this statement made?
A verbal interrogation. It lasted
all of a minute before Bhmer...
...gushed forth what he knew
like a ruptured water gut.
Do you deny your participation in this?
Do you disagree with anything?
- I do not.
Then you admit you used
the queen's good name... acquire this necklace
for your own gains?
For my own gains?
I most vehemently deny it,
Your Majesty.
How could you believe that I would
choose you as my emissary?
You, to whom I have not addressed
a word in nearly 10 years.
Do you not remember, Your Majesty?
Your behavior shows something
familiar I do not care for.
Leave us.
I beseech you. For the sake
of the good name of my family...
...hush this matter up until-
- The king gave his instructions.
Leave the chamber.
- It was the countess.
You see, she-
- Leave the chamber.
How dare you touch me?
What insult is this?
The king has ordered your arrest.
- That's impossible.
I advise you not to make a scene.
What the countess
had so daringly conceived... began to unravel
at a frightening pace.
And those of dubious character
were quick to distance themselves.
I heard news in Paris.
Rohan was sent to the Bastille.
- His cell will be the best they have.
He has most certainly implicated us.
I won't leave. The name is spoken with
respect again. I won't diminish-.
To hell with the name.
It will do you no good-.
Then go, Rtaux.
I haven't asked you to stay.
Please tell me, madame.
Conspiracy was not all
that held us together?
Save yourself. I want you to.
Who will protect you if I go?
Nicolas? If it comes to it,
he'll give you up to save himself.
You needn't concern yourself with Nicolas.
- He's taken his leave.
Let him go, please.
- No.
Stay away.
Please, you must not remain here.
Come away with me now.
What's there in a name
that is worth your life?
Tell me, Jeanne.
I cannot see the reason.
It only matters that I see it.
Please try to understand.
Jeanne de la Motte-Valois?
You have the honor, monsieur.
As the gossip spread,
the people were quick to believe...
...that Antoinette, the cardinal
and the necklace were joined as one... a circle of lust and deceit.
Thieves, the two of you.
I think the case must be tried
in open parliament.
That would be a mistake.
It is within the king's right
to pass judgment.
Why place it in unsympathetic hands?
The people only respect
the judgment of parliament.
If it convicts Rohan
as the sole perpetrator... name will be absolved.
- And if they acquit him?
Isn't that saying you are guilty?
His Majesty is correct.
You could not be tried...
...but the guilt would fall
to you all the same.
Public vindication, house minister.
I will accept nothing less.
Your thoughts, house minister.
The queen offers up a sweet plum
before ravens.
Pray none takes a bite.
Jeanne's arrest fueled the hysteria
surrounding the necklace conspiracy.
Some saw the countess
as a cunning opportunist...
...others as an unwitting pawn
of the monarchy.
Dearest countess:
Before the eye of suspicion turns my way...
...I think it is in my best interest
to make a hasty departure.
I do wish you a positive outcome
in the trial.
Having said that, it is my sincere
hope that I never see you again.
Farewell, countess...
...for France has seen the last
of Count Cagliostro.
The count's departure took him no further...
...than his own front door,
where he was promptly arrested...
...and delivered to his new
accommodations, the Bastille.
On this, the 22nd day of May, 1786...
...the matter of the Crown versus
Cardinal de Rohan...
...and Jeanne Valois,
Countess de la Motte...
If I reached for anything
that shined brilliantly... was for the home denied me
and the peace I've never known.
In the eyes of God and the world...
...I wanted my life to be
as it should've been.
How was it that you entered
into this arrangement?
I am aware of forces at work against me.
The cardinal said you were in collusion...
...a ruse to hide your true intent.
I can think of no misdeed
to account for my arrest.
Trickery is his only gift.
He used it with Jeanne de la Motte
to manipulate me.
Daily reports to Her Majesty
became a ritual...
...and pressure for a favorable
outcome, a royal obsession.
After I relinquished the necklace...
...Count de la Motte visited a brokerage.
My investigators tell me that
he sold to the owner four diamonds.
We must have proof of your charges.
Can you provide any tangible evidence?
Yes. The letters from the queen.
The countess must've forged
them somehow.
Produce them then.
I am- I am unable to do so.
It was the day of the Feast of the
Assumption when this horror began.
I assumed I'd receive
the prime ministership.
To protect Her Majesty,
I ordered the letters to be burned.
It was only after my arrest...
...I realized I had destroyed the only
evidence that could clear my name.
If I might be allowed more time,
I could gather-.
Did you presume while you sat idle
in the Bastille, I was idle as well?
Your veil, please.
Cardinal Rohan, is this the woman
you encountered in the grove?
Yes, I'm certain of it.
state your name, please.
Nicole Leguay d'Oliva.
A common street performer?
Has this become public?
- Regrettably, yes.
The news sheets are having a day of it.
Rohan and the Countess de la Motte
must suffer for this.
Do not fail me, Breteuil.
Revealing the queen's impersonator
aided the cardinal's cause...
...but it was not without forethought.
By doing so, I was able to employ
one more bit of skullduggery.
Aren't you curious to know
how we found Nicole d'Oliva?
One of your co conspirators was arrested.
He instructed us on where
to find the impostor.
He has made us aware of your notes
written in the name of the queen.
He stated when the cardinal
realized the notes were forgeries...
...he fell in with your plans
to steal the necklace.
Who is this person?
- No. Wait.
This is a ruinous lie.
This is a treacherous machination.
Who is this person?
Where are they?
He has expressed the desire not to see you.
During a trial, is it not my right to
confront any accuser?
My love.
My dear countess.
If I'd known I'd be receiving, I might
have done something with myself.
What have they done?
I have it on good authority Nicolas
made it to Austria.
He's beyond their reach.
They practiced humiliations upon me...
...I could not allow to continue.
Perhaps a man less vain
would not have relented.
Everyone gives in at the last.
Forgive me, Jeanne.
Forgive me or I cannot live with myself.
I love you, Rtaux.
That should have been enough.
I'm sorry.
The house minister visits the Bastille.
Surely not a social call.
Before the sentences are rendered... will have a chance
to sign a confession.
Implicate Cardinal Rohan to the crime... a clear manner.
I will not.
It would seem to be
your only chance for salvation.
You have an engaging smile, countess.
Though now seems a curious time
to make use of it.
I was just thinking how strange it is,
Your Majesty.
Of all the times I have sought you... the end you complete the effort.
I merely felt compelled to look upon
the architect of such chaos.
It must be you.
Rohan is not clever enough.
That is for parliament to say.
- Stay where you are, Breteuil.
You have damaged my reputation
and I mean to know why.
Speak the truth.
What disservice
have I ever done the likes of you?
You ignored me.
To offer a word of advice would have
cost you but a few breaths...
...and it would have meant the world to me.
There can be no doubt I would have
traveled a different path.
You must now consider the broader
consequences of this matter.
If you weaken the monarchy,
you undermine the entire nation.
You weakened yourselves long before a
diamond necklace became the issue.
I've seen what I came to see.
Your Majesty.
I did not set out to harm you.
As concern the charges
of theft and conspiracy...
...the decisions rendered
by this body of judges...
...shall be carried out this day
without hesitation or appeal.
Count Cagliostro.
You are hereby acquitted...
...on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
You are to be considered exonerated
by this body of judges.
A wise and a just decision.
Marc-Antoine Rtaux de Villette.
By the Court of France... have been found guilty...
...and are condemned to
banishment for life...
...from the kingdom of France.
All of your possessions are
to be forfeited to the king.
The judgment of parliament is final.
Justice has been served.
Cardinal Louis de Rohan...
...grand almoner of France and
prince of the house of Rohan.
This body of judges...
...acquits you on all charges
without reprimand.
You are hence to be considered
completely exonerated.
Order, please.
Jeanne de la Motte-Valois.
Your verdict has been rendered...
...but will not be read at this time.
You are to be detained here
in the Conciergerie...
...until informed otherwise.
The countess' verdict was delayed
by order of the king himself.
His Majesty feared the people...
...and how they may react
when told of Jeannes fate.
Meanwhile, Rohan's vindication
sent a clear message to Versailles.
They vindicate Rohan to cause me anguish.
It is an affront to my womanhood.
Do not do this to yourself, I beg you.
Parliament doesn't believe... character is free of scandal.
I will give them what they want.
I will live here quietly in my disgrace.
It's what they've always wanted.
Though Antoinette wasn't on trial...
...the people saw her as guilty of excess...
...greed and worst of all...
It's time.
Jeanne de la Motte-Valois.
You have been found guilty on all charges.
Before her sentence was read...
...the countess was allowed
to address the court... last time.
Whatever fate awaits me... cannot compare to the pain that I...
When all you hold dear is taken...
...and you have nothing left...
...risk is of little consequence.
When a ray of hope came into view,
I reached for it.
With all my might.
I realize...
I realize now that it is too late...
...that honor does not live in a name.
It comes from what you carry in your heart.
Voleur. The mark of a thief.
And so ended the life of Marie-Antoinette.
I did not see the queen's demise... I had long since fled the
horrors of the new regime.
Though rumors circulated as to
the eventual fate of the countess...
...the truth was rather common and sad.
She was taken to a woman's prison of
the most horrible conditions...
...where she languished
for nearly two years.
'We heard rumors but had no idea
of the changes taking place.
It was not until I effected my escape
and reached England...'
It was there, in England...
...she published her memoirs.
And for a brief moment found the
acceptance that had eluded her...
...for so many years.
A remarkable account.
- Thank you.
How sad to be separated from home.
Will you ever return to France?
I should like to someday.
Jeanne Saint-Rmy de Valois...
...the woman who helped topple a
monarchy, never returned to France.
She died in a fall from the window
of a London hotel.
Some claimed it was an act of revenge
by agents of the royal family.
The truth was never known.