Madame du Barry
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry (Marie-Jeanne, Comtesse du Barry) (August 19, 1743 - December 8, 1793) was a French courtesan who became the mistress of Louis XV of France and is one of the most famous victims of the Reign of Terror.
- The comtesse du Barry is the subject of an operetta entitled Gräfin Dubarry (1879) by Karl Millöcker.
- She was also the subject of a musical by Cole Porter titled DuBarry Was a Lady, featuring Ethel Merman in two roles, a nightclub singer named May Daley, and Madame Dubarry. Bert Lahr co-starred as a washroom attendant in the nightclub who dreams he is Louis XV. The 1943 movie version starred Lucille Ball in the title role, with co-stars Red Skelton and Gene Kelly.
- She is mentioned in the introduction to Lydia the Tattooed Lady, made famous by Groucho Marx.
She was portrayed by:
- Theda Bara in the 1917 film Madame Du Barry directed by J. Gordon Edwards
- Pola Negri in the 1919 film Madame Du Barry directed by Ernst Lubitsch
- Norma Talmadge in the 1930 film Du Barry, Woman of Passion
- Dolores del Río in the 1934 film Madame Du Barry, directed by William Dieterle
- Gladys George in the 1938 MGM film, Marie Antoinette, which starred Norma Shearer in the title role
- Lucille Ball in the 1943 movie version of DuBarry Was A Lady
- Margot Grahame in the 1948 film Black Magic as Mme du Barry. It also starred Orson Welles in the lead role of Count Cagliostro
- Martine Carol in the 1954 film Madame du Barry directed by Christian-Jaque
- Italian actress Asia Argento in Sofia Coppola's 2006 film, Marie Antoinette
In popular culture
- Her famous last words ("Encore un moment!") serve as a symbol of existential angst when they are raised as a topic of conversation on at least two separate occasions in Fyodor Dostoevsky's 1869 novel, The Idiot.
- She inspired a wax figure at Madame Tussaud's in London, called The Sleeping Beauty which is the oldest existing figure on display.
- A short two-page comic strip La Rue perdue ("The lost street") was published in 1978, featuring Gil Jourdan, a detective series created by Maurice Tillieux. Set in 1953 it has Jourdan trying to find out why a fake guillotine blade is hanging outside the door of a black African friend. The one responsible turns out to be a man obsessed with du Barry and taking his anger at her death out on Jourdan's friend who looks like Zamor, the man whose actions led to her execution. The action is set in Rue Maître Albert (Maître Albert Street) where Zamor lived before his death.
- Madame du Barry also appears in the famous anime and manga series The Rose of Versailles as a villainous, scheming enemy of Marie Antoinette; her struggles with the young princess are a major concern of the story in its early stages.