14 May 2012

REVISED !!! Anatomy of a French Movie Set: Bel Ami

 

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY READ THIS STORY – SKIP DOWN TO:

“Virginie’s New Mansion” – which has been revised!!`

 

 

   Kristen Stewart, then 17, and Robert Pattinson, then 21, as they starred in the first Twilight movie

 If you’ve been reading Cote de Texas for awhile, you know that a very guilty pleasure of mine is the Twilight Saga books series – and the movies based on them.   After starring in all five Twilight movies,  Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison are now branching out – acting in movies that have the critics raving.  Stewart’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” is poised to be this summer’s biggest blockbuster and Pattinson’s Cosmopolis is getting Oscar buzz.  Even more impressive, both Stewart and Pattinson are stars in movies that are being presented at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival this month.  The duo, who are also romantic partners in real life, are the hottest movie couple in Hollywood.  They’ve made a fortune on the Twilight series and their joint worth is rumored to be over $100 million.  Their futures could not be any brighter.

 

 

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With all this going on, little attention has been paid to a small independent film that Pattinson made two years ago during a Twilight break.  Based on the classic French novel Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant, the movie had trouble getting a distributor in the United States, although all of the Europe has already seen it.  And, Bel Ami is #1 at the box office in Russia, of all places. 

 

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I’ve been waiting like a crazed person for over a year to see Bel Ami, and finally, it’s  here!  You can now watch it on On Demand or on I-Tunes or Amazon (for a list of places to watch Bel Ami go HERE.)  Next month, it will have a limited run in select theatres across the country.   I’ve already seen it a few times now, of course, and I can recommend it, especially if you are a lover of French antiques and interiors.  The sets are gorgeous, as are the costumes.  It’s total eye candy for lovers of the Belle Epoch period as the movie is set in the late nineteenth century.  Besides Pattinson, it also boasts a stellar cast - Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci. 

The plot is basically this:  Rob Pattinson plays Georges Duroy, a “failed, penniless ex soldier, barely literate” who rises to the top, becoming one of the most powerful and wealthiest men in France, basically by bedding the wives of even  more powerful men.  He has no conscience or scruples – he uses these women to further his career and never looks back.  He was born dirt poor, the son of country peasants, and he is not going to die poor. 

Rated R for some brief NUDITY where the set is so dark you won’t notice much – well, except for Rob Pattinson of course, who is more gorgeous than all the women in the movie!  Filmed in London soundstages and country houses,  and on the streets of Budapest, not much has been written about the set decoration by Anna Lynch Robinson.   Robinson is a veteran of mostly English movies – An Education and In Bruges – are two of her most famous films.  Costume designer is Odile Dicks-Mireaux, famous also for An Education and The Constant Gardener.

 

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The first movie still from Bel Ami that was released over a year ago was this picture.  I took one look at that settee and the golden silk damask upholstery and thought -  wow!   This is going to be a great movie – regardless of what the acting or script is like!!

 

 

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Another early still from the set was this picture – showing Uma with a beautiful lace robe.  Uma is so gorgeous in this movie and her clothes make her look luminous.

 

MADELEINE FORESTIER’S BLUE AND WHITE APARTMENT:

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There aren’t a lot of sets in the movie, and the majority of the action takes place in a beautiful blue and white, 3 room apartment in Paris owned by Uma Thurman – Madeleine Forestier - and her husband, Charles. The entrance to the blue and white apartment is up these impressive stone steps. In the book, when Georges Duroy glimpses himself in the mirror on this stairway wearing his borrowed dinner jacket, he thinks it’s someone else and startles himself.  He just can’t believe how handsome he is in his new clothes! Well, I agree!

 

 

 

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This is the first glimpse we get of the beautiful blue and white apartment.  Madeleine sits up to welcome Georges to her apartment.

 

 

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Most of Uma’s costumes are either blue or green or a combination of the two to project the coolness of the character she plays.  Plus, she looks good in her blue and white apartment wearing these colors.  This outfit is particularly pretty – with its green silk taffeta overcoat and cream dress with ruffled collar. Notice how pretty the dress looks while she is sitting on the chaise with its celadon colored damask fabric.

 

 

 

 

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The beauty of the apartment is apparent at the front door - cream with blue painted molding.  Notice the hardware.   The wallpaper is also especially attractive and adds so much to the elegance of the apartment.  All the lamps are gas lamps – no electricity yet.  You can see the old fashioned lamp here – made out of a blue and white jar.  And, next to it, a painted white chair wears a blue and white checked fabric.

 

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Uma’s blue and white apartment has three rooms, but these two are the most seen:  the living room and through the double doors, the bedroom.  Twin sofas face each other and sit flanking a marble fireplace.  A chaise sits to the left of the sofas and a painted console is behind each of them.  There are also matching consoles on each side of the fireplace and on each side of the grand entrance to the bedroom.   Notice on those two consoles – each has twin candelabras and an oriental jar.  It’s all very symmetrical.

 

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And looking from the bedroom into the living room.  The bedroom doubles as Uma’s study – with all the books and desk.  At the end of the bed is a French bench – and against the wall is a small settee.  My favorite part of the apartment is the doors – with the blue painted molding and bronze hardware.  I just love the double doors leading into the bedroom.

 

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At night the apartment takes on a more golden glow.  It’s always filled with mounds of these yellow flowers which are Madeleine’s (Uma) favorites.  There are matching crystal chandeliers in the living area and bedroom.  Notice the beautiful pale Aubusson rug.  At his first dinner party, Georges Duroy meets these three ladies who help him on his rise to wealth and fame.  Kristin Scott Thomas on the left is the oldest of the three – her costumes are always darker and more somber.  Christina Ricci, the youngest, wears mostly burgundy dresses. 

 

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      A close look at this console tables with its elephant pagodas on top.   This dress is light, light green and is another stunner.  Madeleine has to smoke cigarettes when she is “working.” 

 

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   A close up look at this chest with is huge blue and white tuliper.  Dying to know if that is antique.  Notice too – how the chair rail divides the wallpaper from the blue painted bottom half of the wall.   Why are the columns painted pink?  It’s one part of the apartment I don’t care for.

 

 

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Close up of the sofa.  At the back of the living room – there is another settee and a screen.

 

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Looking into the bedroom.  The chaise is so pretty that sits next to the two sofas.  Listed in the credits is a drapes master – almost every room in the movie has beautiful curtains.   Here you can see into the bedroom –  there’s a painted cornice above the wallpaper – it is also in the living room.  And,  you can see the other crystal chandelier over the bed. 

 

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These two matching consoles next to the bedroom doors are so pretty – especially with the tall candelabras and blue and white vases. I wonder whose wallpaper this is? I’m sure its English, but don’t know whose???

 

 

 

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The bedroom with its book lined walls for the brilliant Madeleine.  A sunburst clock rests above her bed – flanked by two sconces.  Here, the curtains are a rose colored silk.

 

 

 

 

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A close up of the painted cane headboard.

 

 

 

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Madeleine trying to seduce Georges Duroy into changing his name to the more upper class, Georges du Roy de Cantel – shortening his hometown from Canteleu – because she didn’t like the sound of the “loo” at the ending.  Yes – they are that petty and arrogant.  Her bedspread has metallic embroidery and is in a deep purple – an odd choice?

 

 

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A closeup of the damask printed rose curtains in the bedroom.  You can just faintly see the pattern on them.

 

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The third room of the blue and white apartment is the dining room – the scene where Duroy first meets his three ladies in his borrowed evening clothes.  It’s hard to see the décor, it’s dark – but the walls are paneling that has been painted blue.  There’s a window seat and painted white French chairs with a damask pattern on them.   

 

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Of course my curiosity got the better of me and I spent more than a few days researching the film locations. There is really no real information on where anything was filmed – all that was kept top secret so that Rob’s crazy Twilight fans wouldn’t stalk the sets!   But, after searching around the internet -  I found this house that is available for rental to film producers  – and lo and behold – this is where several key scenes were filmed!  The house is period Georgian set on 200 acres. 

 

 

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Look familiar?  This is actually the blue and white apartment where Madeleine Forestier (Uma) lived!!  The people who own the house rent it out to film makers to use instead of building a set on a soundstage.   It appears that the Bel Ami movie crew removed all the furniture and even wallpapered the room.   This is the view looking from the bedroom out the double doors onto the living room.  It seems that the cornice paper was left as is.  And the curtains may be the same.  But, everything else was moved out – including the chandelier!! 

 

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Here’s another view of the room.  All in pinks and blues.  It looks like the blue paint under the chair rail was kept the same.  In this picture it also appears that they had not finished putting the room back together because their chandelier is missing as are the curtain panels.    Which décor do you like better?  The English version or the blue and white French movie version?

 

 

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I don’t have a perfect match of the two views of the room – but the cornice wallpaper and windows match up, and even the curtains. Without a doubt, this apartment was filmed at the white country house in England.  One thing that I noticed is the columns in the house are painted the pink color and it looks like the movie producers left them that color for the blue and white apartment – they should have been painted white!

 

 

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And looking the other direction, with the fireplace on the right and the double doors at the back that lead to the “bedroom.”  This room is so much prettier dressed up as the blue and white apartment with French furniture, in my opinion!  Notice the doors are painted white with the blue trim, and the walls beneath the wallpaper are still blue.  I wonder why they decided to change the wallpaper – unless the room used to have the blue and white wallpaper and the owners recently changed it to pink?  We’ll never know.

 

 

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In this picture – you see a detail that isn’t seen in the movie – the painted blue and white paneling inside the window alcoves.  In the movie, the curtains hide this pretty feature. 

 

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Basically the same view facing the bedroom.  Also, it looks like the set decorators removed the two radiators that sit between the windows. 

 

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This room is really interesting.  It is the blue and white “bedroom.”  Notice in real life this room isn’t a bedroom at all it is the library and – the bookcases extend along the back wall.  Also, the chandeliers were changed out to crystal ones for the movie. 

 

 

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In the movie – they constructed a false wall that covers the bookcases behind the bed.  You can see how the fake wall extends out from the bookcase at the top.  They even built fake molding and crown molding behind the bed to cover up the existing bookshelves.   So sneaky!!!!

 

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Here’s another view of the library in real life.  The brass chandelier was taken out – a crystal one is used in the movie.  Also, new curtains were used. 

 

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And the view from the library is almost identical to that used in the movie.

 

 

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The movie view.  Boy, those pink columns really stick out!!!

 

 

 

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The blue and white apartment’s dining room.  I believe it was shot at another country house, Balls Park, rather than at the white country house that the rest of the apartment was filmed at.

 

 

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I THINK that the dining room – which is really very plain and doesn’t have the same chic look as the rest of the apartment, was shot at a different location at Balls Park Mansion. Several scenes in the movie were shot at this mansion – so it’s possible the Forestier dining room was shot there too. The Balls Park mansion was built in the 17th century and is a considered one of the finest in England. Here is an old, vintage photograph from the mansion – and might be the same room as the dining room in the blue and white apartment. You can tell by the matching molding and door.

 

CLOTILDE’S APARTMENT:

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Georges Duroy goes to call on Clotilde – (Christina Ricci) at her Parisian apartment which she shares with her long suffering husband and daughter.    Her apartment is filled with creams and golds and is quite fancy.   Notice the beautiful double doors, painted cream. 

 

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The other side of the room - playing tag with Clotilde’s daugther.    Notice the bunch of pretty pink roses.  These are always present when Clotilde is around.     The side chairs are so pretty!  Clotilde is sort of an upper class bohemian – and this apartment is furnished to reflect that.    After this visit, these two start an affair but since Clo is married, they need a private place to “see” each other since Georges lives in Such A Dump.  Clo comes up with the idea of a love nest which she decorates and pays for.

 

 

 

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And look here:   Clotilde’s apartment was also shot at the same white Georgian mansion as the blue and white apartment. It looks like they kept the same gold wallpaper and even the same green curtains. What a hassle is must be for the owners to have to move everything out, but I must say, the movie set looks so much prettier with its French antiques than it does here!!  In the French windows, the film set decorators added iron balconies onto the outside to make it look like this is Paris.

 

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But the biggest change was on this wall – the fake double door was added.  Not sure why they didn’t just add a piece of furniture instead.   I even went back to rewatch this scene to be sure this was the same room and it is – there’s a fleeting picture of the fireplace with its distinctive mantel.

 

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By slowing down the movie frame by frame, I got this fleeting glimpse of the fireplace   This proved to me it was definitely the same room – even with the fake double door added for effect.

 

 

 

“THE LOVE NEST”

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The love nest is all yellows and golds and is quite romantic – as it should be!  Here in the entrance, portiere's divide the entrance from the living area.    Darling oval painting.    Duroy is quite pleased with himself – getting a woman to pay for a love nest.

 

 

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And Clotilde checks into the love nest. 

 

 

 

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And then  Virginie checks into the love nest!   It’s a free for all – except that Clotilde is paying for it!    The love nest is a small apartment, on the ground floor (so Clo can come and go unnoticed).  There’s an entry, living area, and bedroom with a bathroom.  You can see the wood floor is in a herringbone pattern. 

 

 

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The Love Nest is filled with French furniture, very feminine, like this cane settee.

 

 

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There are Clo’s pink roses that Georges brings to her.  Here you can see the oval shaped bedroom that leads off the small living room – with sconces flanking the opening.  Painted panels are behind the headboard, while the bathroom is hidden behind the green painted screen.

 

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There is a skirted table – it looks like the same fabric found in the entry hall.     And to the right is a cute iron table with a marble top.  Georges is such a good boyfriend.  He thinks if he brings flowers – all is forgiven!

 

 

 

 

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The scoundrel Georges du Roy de Cantel, or just plain Georges Duroy – hastily makes up the bed between “visitors.”  The credits lists a “Scenic Artist” who probably painted the paneling and the screen.  You can just barely see into the bathroom behind the screen.

 

 

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Poor Clo, Georges is confessing some sin to her.  Look at the darling embroidered bedspread.  How much fun it must be to be a set decorator – or a props buyer!

 

 

 

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A close up of the green painted upholstered headboard.  The fabric is a matelassé in peach.  Poor, long suffering Clo.  Ricci looks especially pretty here.  As a side note, the director made all the women grow out their underarm hair to be more authentic!!  Ricci especially hated it and wonders now why she didn’t just refuse to do it? 

 

 

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                              A close up of he details in the love nest – the painted screen with butterflies and monkeys and fruit.  A lace portiere acts as a door.  The vanity has a marble top with a gilt mirror.

                           

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And Clo at the dressing table.  Her bodice has to be tied back up with double knots – just like her husband would do.  As for where this was filmed – was it in a real house or not?  I think maybe this was actually filmed on a built set on a sound stage.  The lighting doesn’t look real – it doesn’t look like the sun is shining through the windows like it does in the blue and white apartment.  And it doesn’t look quite as sturdy as the other two apartments.  Also on a TV interview, Christina Ricci talked of filming the love scenes for the movie and she said – “there wasn’t a ceiling” – causing me to think it was set.  I did try to search for the love nest for a few days, but just gave up thinking no one but me really cared !!    Still, the love nest is really a darling set regardless if it is on a soundstage or not!

 

 

“CANNES’

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A change of scenery comes when Madeleine leaves Paris to visit her house in Cannes.  Instead of Cannes, the film crew went to this gorgeous home in Tihany at lake Balaton near Budapest to film the outside scenes only.

 

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Georges arrives to visit Madeleine in a horse driven carriage.  Notice her beautiful blue dress with the green velvet cuffs and collar.

 

 

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The front of this beautiful, summery dress.

 

 

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Georges is also dressed for the summer weather, carrying his cane, leather gloves, and alligator luggage.  He is really stepping up in the world from his borrowed dinner jacket.

 

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I loved this set – with its white painted wood floors and white  furniture with the French doors.  There are even seashells laying about.  This scene was actually filmed in England – and again – not sure if this is a set or an actual location?  I am going to say this was filmed in an actual house – the doors and shutters look too authentic.   And again, I searched forever to find where this was filmed, but never did.  All I do know is this interior shot was filmed in London, while the outside of the house was filmed in Hungary.

 

 

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This is the only scene where Georges isn’t wearing black.  Instead he is wearing his summer suit in Cannes.  I love this room with the white painted Swedish inspired furniture and the sconce holding the pretty clock.

 

VIRGINIE’S MANSION

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Virginie (Kristin Scott Thomas) lives in a mansion.  This room is my least favorite of all the sets.  The dark wood paneling is too heavy for me.  But, the story of the set is the most interesting of all!   Georges breaks up this tea party to bring Virginie pears that he lies about and says he got from his father’s orchard. He is such a liar!!!  Too bad he is so cute!

 

 

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And here are the lied-about pears.  Notice the window seats.  

 

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Later Georges comes back to the same exact room for a concert and dinner.  It’s the same room where he brought the pears to Virginie.  Notice the distinctive fireplace.

 

 

 

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And at the same party – in a different room, with a different fireplace. Notice the jib door in the corner.

Both of these dark paneled rooms were filmed at Balls Mansion, the 17th century country house where Jane Austen visited and was inspired to write Pride and Prejudice.  The house and its over 60 acres was eventually sold and became a college for many years.  A few years ago, a company bought the house and demolished all the school buildings on the estate.  They then refurbished the mansion making it a home again instead of a business.  Many movies and TV shows are filmed here.  Once the property was restored, several new buildings were erected containing apartments.   Even in the mansion – several apartments were carved out the stately rooms.

 

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Notice the fireplace in this living room?  Yes, it’s the same room from above where Bel Ami was filmed.  Today  – it has been turned into a 2 bedroom apartment that sells for over $1 million pounds (about $2 million dollars!)  Through the door on the right is where Georges brought his pears to the tea party!

 

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And in the corner – notice the same jib door.  The radiator was removed for the film.

 

 

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And remember   this room where the tea party was and where Georges brought the pears?

 

 

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Here is that same room – with the paneling painted yellow instead of brown.  See the same window seats and fireplace?

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And here it is again – notice the fireplace?  It looks so different painted white instead of dark brown!  This is the second room in the apartment that is now for sale at the Balls Park Mansion.  Through the door, you can see the living room of the apartment – there are also 2 bedrooms. 

 

 

Here is what the Balls Park mansion looks like.  The property is really interesting.  Imagine living in a 17th century Grade 1 listed country house.  You get to act like a lord or lady without the title or expense!   The apartment I showed you is actually in the west wing on the left of the center section of the mansion.   It was added to the house several centuries after the main part was built.  The apartment’s ceilings are not nearly as beautiful or as detailed as the ones in the original section of the house.  The entire house is centered around an atrium that was roofed in a few hundred years ago.   Today, the atrium is a three story wood paneled room that has starred in many motion pictures.

 

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An aerial view of Balls Park.  The original mansion is shown on the left with the covered atrium in the middle.  The stables are at the right front – these are converted into apartments too.  And the two u-shaped buildings at the very back are newly built apartment buildings.  The apartments in the old mansion and stables are more expensive than those in the newly built buildings, of course.  The entire estate is over 0ver 60 acres.

 

 

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The atrium – in the center of the mansion is now covered by a skylight.  Apparently, converting old grand country mansions in England into apartments is something that is done often.   To read all about the Balls Park mansion conversion – go HERE.

 

 

REVISED:   VIRGINIE’S NEW MANSION:

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After Virginie’s husband makes a huge amount of money from cheating the government, they move into a big mansion.  Here, her husband and their daughter Suzanne walk down the grand staircase at their big open house party.  Isn’t her dress divine?!!!

 

 

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All the young men stare as the very eligible Suzanne makes her way down the stairs – including that scoundrel in the middle by the door!  Notice the two huge blackamoors flanking the doorway – I’m dying to know if they are antiques or not.

 

 

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The mansion has this beautiful ballroom completely covered in white marble and gilt frames.  Can you spot the scoundrel Duroy checking it out?   

 

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Another view of the white marble ballroom with damask chairs and gilt everywhere.  Suzanne’s dress is so soft and feminine in silk lilac.  What is that child doing with the older Georges du Roy de Cantel or just plain Georges Duroy?   You’ll have to watch to find out.

 

The reason this story is so late in coming is I got so involved in the research – looking at all the houses that are rented to movie companies – some of them are gorgeous.  One web story took me to another and then another and then another until I finally forced myself to quit, thinking I am probably the only one who cares and there’s probably no one even reading this!  That’s the problem with blogging when you love research – you never know when to stop.   In short – I never could find where these two rooms – the marble ballroom and the paneled stair hall - of Virignie’s new mansion were filmed at.  It’s possible there were filmed at Balls Park Mansion, but I doubt it.  It’s also possible that all this white marble is faked – just painted on the walls.    I’ll probably never find the house this was actually filmed at – so I just need to let it go and forget about it.  I will say, that it does look like it is a real house – and not a soundstage.

*REVISED*

After five days, I thought I had finally put this story to bed!  There were still 3 sets that hadn’t been identified and I just had to give it up and admit defeat:  The Love Nest, Cannes-Interior, and Virginie’s New Mansion.  As I was reading the comments, I realized I should have given you the URL for the blue and white apartment so you could see all of the house if you wanted to - here it is:  http://location-collective.co.uk/location-search.html?inpSearchText=6361 (you can download a pdf if you want to see the bigger photos).  As I was looking at the web site, I thought, one more time!  And there I found it – Virginie’s New Mansion!!!   Here is the URL:  http://location-collective.co.uk/location-detail.html?id=6384&cid=227   And here is the rest of the story!

 

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Viriginie’s New Mansion was filmed at this grand house, located within the city limits of London.  It looks like there is a golf course in its front lawn!!  The house has incredible frescos and paintings.  The marble ball room and its landing is the focal point of the house.

 

 

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 Suzanne and her father come down the grand stairway during the open house party for their new mansion.  Suzanne is played by Holliday Granger or Holly as she is called.  Interestingly, she and Robert Pattinson had starred together in another movie – a year before his Twilight fame:  The Bad Mother’s Handbook.   

 

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And here, you can see the distinctive stairway. 

 

 

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In the mansion – here is the real stairhall.  You can see the same painting on the left – with the angel’s feet barely showing.  Through the door is the marble ballroom.

 

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And, the same runner as in the movie.  Notice the carved balusters – exactly the same as seen in the movie.

 

 

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The top of the stairs leads to this landing.  The ceiling in the stair hall must be over two stories high.

 

 

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Here, in this scene in the brown paneled room, you can see the blackamoors at the door which leads into the marble ballroom.  Notice in the ballroom – the blue rug is covered up.

 

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And in real life – the same doorway without the blackamoors.  They must have been brought in by the set decorators.   The actors are looking at Suzanne on the stairway – but in real life, the stairhall is in another room.  Sneaky!!!  And notice the fireplace – one of two in the room.

 

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Another view of the room with the second fireplace, notice the huge carved figures on the mantel.  The entire room is frescos over paneling.  You don’t see the blue rug in the movie, it was either removed or just not shown.

 

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The white marble ballroom is gorgeous.  It is two stories tall – with a landing from the second floor which encircles the room.  Above the ceiling are frescos and a trompe l’oeil rotunda. 

 

 

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It’s  hard to tell if they brought in a rug or just covered the carpeting with painted paper?   They definitely brought in the furniture and accessories like the clock and candlesticks.  

 

 

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And in this scene, you can see Virginie in the paneled room with the blackamoors.  She doesn’t look too happy!  Wonder why???

 

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Right above the painting shown in the above picture is this landing which encircles the marble ballroom.  Incredible!!  You can see the figures over the door in the marble ballroom in this picture.

 

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In this view of the room – you can just barely see the landing on the upper left corner. 

 

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I call this the marble ballroom, but in reality, I believe it is really the front hall.  You can see the door on the far right and the check in desk next to it.  Wow. How to ruin such a gorgeous room and that rug!!!! Awful!  See the figures above the door?  And all t hat marble!  This mansion must have a cost a fortune to build.

 

 

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And here – looking up at the ceiling above the landing is the trompe l'oeil – the fool the eye – rotunda.  It is so realistic looking!  

This ends the revisions – the rest of the story is the same as the original.  I’m so glad I tried one more time to find this!!  It was so worth it.  If I come across the Love Nest – I’ll add that too.

 

 

 

 

DUROY’S CARRIAGE:

image You have to admit this is a very handsome man.  Plus he is such a great actor – he steals the scene from all the actresses – and poor Kristin Scott Thomas – she gets the brunt of it!    While all the interior rooms were filmed in England,  the street scenes and all exteriors of buildings were filmed in Budapest – but made to look like Paris.   Apparently, this city is filled with wonderful architecture that really does look like Belle Epoch Paris.  George’s carriage is used in several key scenes – it’s like a home away from home.  It’s all very mysterious – with the drapes that close off the back and how dark it is inside.   Plus the sounds it makes – the horses clomping away on the brick streets – it’s all so romantic and such a prettier way to travel than going by car!

Once Georges becomes successful, he quits wearing his flat top bowler hat and starts wearing this top hat.  Also he carries a cane at all times and usually an overcoat – he looks exactly as a prosperous man would look back then.  His collar becomes quite a sex symbol that he is constantly having to rip off his neck.  One time, he doesn’t remove his stiff collar and it almost chokes him.  Aw, poor Georges! 

 

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 Here he is dressed for church in his finest, including his watch chain and black gloves.  And no, he’s not here to pray.  He’s here to snare another woman into his net.  This scene is one of the best ones in the movie I think!  He is just such a vile creature!!   ha-ha  The churches – there are two in the movie – are also really beautiful. 

 

 

 

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By comparison, here is Madeleine Forestier dressed for church in her finery.  The aqua and blue look so pretty on Uma.  I don’t think the movie will win any Oscars for the sets or costumes – it’s not that big of a budget movie, but for me – I just loved Bel Ami because of both the clothes and the furniture and antiques.

 

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Writing this story, I watched the movie over and over again – trying to get better and better screencaps – and every time they went into the blue and white apartment…..

 

 

 

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  I loved it more and more –I only wish that all movies had such beautiful sets!!  Do you have a favorite movie set, one that makes you look more at the furniture than the actors?   My other favorites are of course Something’s Gotta Give and The Holiday.  But, I will say, my first ever movie set that I loved was Pollyanna with Hayley Mills.  I’ll never forget all those crystals that caught the light in the house!!

 

 

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On a final note on Bel Ami - the funniest moment for me came when the penniless Georges Duroy is sitting in his squalid loft – on a deconstructed French chair – horsehair stuffing and burlap coming out ripped old fabric.  I just wish the scene was brighter so you could see it better.  Wonder if the set decorator bought this at Restoration Hardware or is it a real antique???

To watch Bel Ami tonight on your TV or computer, go HERE to read how to get it.  Enjoy!

 

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And now for a few shameless plugs – my niece has launched the cutest fashion blog.  It really is darling, especially when she writes about her aunt, moi!  Well, I deserve it after keeping her puppy Riley and having him ruin my curtains!!   So, if you have a daughter or niece who reads blogs and is into fashion – tell them about Brooke’s StyleWise.  It’s really a fun and informative read!  To read the story about me – go HERE.

 

 

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And, if I’m shamelessly plugging my niece, I have to plug my daughter Elisabeth.  She had a cute blog during high school and gave it up – but recently got back into it with a blog called Him and Her DelRay – which both her and her boyfriend were going to write.  Except, boyfriend didn’t really have the time nor the inclination.  So, she started back with her old blog – This Card Is Maxed Out.  And  yes, I can promise you – it IS maxed out.  OY!  She’s only got a few posts up – but spread the word to your own daughters or nieces or younger friends.  This Card is Maxed Out HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90 comments:

  1. Goodness me, Uma is stunning!
    SImply gorgeous.
    Must see this one!

    Looking forward to visiting the new blogs!

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  2. I can't believe that you like this set and this decorating. It is the antithesis of all that you usually show. I do love it though, and it looks gorgeous - not to mention that Bel Ami is wonderful!
    Cluny

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    1. seriously? really? are you a long time reader?

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  3. Joni, your sleuthing abilities are amazing!!! Yes, it would be fun to be a set decorator and you'd make a great one but with your talent and eye for detail, shouldn't you be out there saving the world by finding cracks in nuclear power plants or something?

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  4. Yes! Pollyanna!!! I watched it so many times over the years...can't believe that you loved it, too!
    And thank you for letting us (me!) know about this movie. We have a great 'small movie' house near here and we find the best movies there. I will be on the lookout! I love period movies on the big screen where I can spy on more interiors, etc. Sometimes, I lose the storyline while perusing the 'scenery! LOL!
    I love historical fiction, period pieces and this looks perfect...
    and...he was PREYING in church!
    Thanks, Joni!
    xoxo, Chris

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    1. Yes - preying in church. but you can actually get this on your tv this month - on cable is you really want to see it.

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  5. Oh my goodness! What a stupendous post! I am revelling in every detail. Unfortunately must trip back to my real life but will return as soon as possible to devour some more! Am speechless and in absolute awe of your sleuthing. And of course your analysis is second to none. Cannot wait to return to enjoy again! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

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  6. Amazing Joni... WHat incredible research... I want to watch it again now! Loved the sets on Bel Ami too... fantastic!
    I will pass the blogs onto my girls... xv

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  7. ..if i were going to live alone...i would choose the french...if i were going to live with other people...i would choose the english...people living within a space...will always define a space...

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    1. hmm. well the French live with people too? but yes, it's a more feminine look.

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  8. The sets are truly amazing, I love seeing the anatomy of film sets and how they historically represent the design of a period! I cannot wait to see what they do with the Great Gatsby set too. Uma Thurman looks stunning in this film!

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  9. I love it when you bring movies up close and personal for us to see the sets. I usually watch movies like this several times and stop them along the way just so I can see a piece of furniture or fabric. I swear in my next life I'm coming back as a set designer with your amazing research abilities Joni...great job!

    XX
    Debra~

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  10. What a detective you are and what a huge amount of work you put into your blog posts. That probably explains why I never get tired of following you. You´re consistant, yet creative - and unexpected to just the right degree. Love this post.

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  11. Joni, this was the best morning coffee read I've had in a long time! Amazing dedication to bring your readers factual and fun content....what makes a great blog! I love certain elements of the Belle Époque style and you have shown us the good and not so good here....can't wait to download it! Thank you, N.xo

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  12. Stunning photos and wonderful commentary, as usual!!!! Joni, you are amazing! Loved seeing the real photos of the set locations. What incredible homes! Robert Pattinson is always easy on the eyes also....

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  13. Lovely! Oh my - I am so thrilled when I see you have posted and I certainly wasn't disappointed this time! LOVE the blue and white apartment and have a huge crush on Pattinson. Thank you Joni for chasing all of this down and sharing. I will be looking at this post over and over! Can't wait to watch the movie.
    Jamie

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  14. Hmm. Could the pink columns, could the pink granite columns, could the centuries old pink granite columns been left alone, because they were original to the house, and carved from pink granite or marble, some expensive pink marble from India from the same quarry as the Taj Mah hal just a thought

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    1. never thought of that- maybe they are granite. it's so hard to tell. that would make sense why the owners went with a pink and blue - but if it were me - i would do blush and cream instead of pink and blue. other parts of the house are horrid. i should have listed the url so you could see it.

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    2. My guess is they are marblized - I know it sounds snobby, but the house doesn't look grand enough for real marble columns in the drawing room - even so, what is weird is that their capitals (the top 40cm or so) as well as their bases are that same colour - which looks awful and is historically VERY incorrect. Those parts should definitely have been (off) white !

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  15. Gorgeous. The blue on blue bedroom reminds me of Jackie Kennedy's Sister Parish designed WH bedroom...one of my favorites, still beautiful

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  16. Yikes - you really do dog a subject until you are satisfied with the results! And we readers are the happy beneficiaries of that determination - loved reading this story. And I agree about Pollyanna - Aunt Polly's gorgeous home was another star in the film. Thank you!
    MJ

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  17. I loved reading your blog today! The sets were incredible. I also thought perhaps the pink columns were pink granite and the owners demanded no alterations here. However, if they really wanted the pink out of the room, they could've easily built wooden columns around the marble and painted whatever color worked, just as they built the fake wall in Uma's bedroom. Joni, I thought the painted wall behind the bed in the "love nest" looked much like the wallpapered walls of your bedroom! Very pretty.

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    1. i feel like an idiot that i didn't think that they were pink granite. i wonder if there is pink granite in england? I know in texas we have a huge pink granite quarry. our state capitol is made out of it - the quarry is right outside austin.

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    2. So much about Texas I still do not know! And tell Elisabeth she owes me money....I found Gilt through her blog, and already purchased a pillow from Amy Howard's store on Gilt (which is what I'm feeling right now for spending more money...guilt)

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  18. Wow! Great research, Joni. The sets were so pretty, but I think I liked the women's costumes, especially Uma's, even more. Perhaps those pink columns were some type of stone - wouldn't be surprised, and would make sense why they weren't painted. And possibly that's why the current owners went back to a pink and blue color scheme. As for movie sets, I always loved the Merchant Ivory films, especially Howards End. And I still love the (fake) English cottage in The Holiday. I'm such an Anglophile.

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  19. How in the world do you write these comprehensive posts? This post is amazing! My husband and and I saw the movie last weekend, it was beautiful but now I am getting to really enjoy it through your detailed eye. Wow Joni! How do you find the huge images, so impressive....

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  20. Thank you for a fabulous post. Very entertaining and educational. I loved the setting of Downton Abbey. I didn't watch it when originally broadcast, but started with Season 1 for free on Netflix on demand.

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    1. i know! me too! i missed it - but watched it on netflix and then bought season 2 on dvd. did you watch season 2? so many bloggers did downton abbey that i didn't do, but i would love to have done it.

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    2. Yep, I bought it (but on iTunes). First I had it reserved on Netflix and was going to wait but Netflix kept displaying "very long wait" for so long that I just broke down and bought it (and I'm a total cheapskate about things like that!). Thanks for the update. Yes, that carpet is *awful*! Ugh!

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  21. Joni well let me tell you I do appreciate all of your research (as I have done so in the past) Uma's apartment is my favorite, although throughout the film sets, the fabrics, the furnishings, and the attire all make me swoon! I cannot wait to watch this film!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

    Is that scoundrel at the desk endorsing checks!? Ha!

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  22. Oh and the owners are paid tons to allow the movie crews to come in and I am sure everything is professionally packed and moved.

    xoxo
    K

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  23. Love this post so much! I adore seeing the set decorations vs. the real life places. So much fun.

    Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I say they left the columns pink - and had the drapes in the bedroom pink - to represent Uma's skin. Notice how her corset is pink while Christina Ricci's is blue? Just seems like another way to use color to distinguish the women. Ooh - or maybe how underneath, the two women aren't so different? Christina wearing Uma's color, Uma wearing Christina's.

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    1. maybe, but everyone is saying the pink columns are granite. not sure why they did the pink curtains though.

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    2. Charlotte Des FleursMay 16, 2012 at 6:14 AM

      I suspect that the Pink "Granite" columns are not granite at all but rather wood faux painted to look like granite. That would be one reason the owners might have wanted them left pink - to retain the
      original finish. However, as you pointed out, the set decorators could easily have boxed in the columns with white ones, Or, in this world of CG, could even have used a computer to change the color.
      No, there is pink in that room because the director (or cinematographer) wanted it there. See my comments on the emotional symbolism of color.

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  24. Joni, this post is fabulous! Your research is incredible. I have to see this movie.
    thanks so much.

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  25. Lovely to be transported into a different era, however being British/Welsh I much prefer the original setting to the blue French one.I think the British taste is far more eclectic for me the blue is all too much ...... well blue !Nice to see the inside of these beautiful homes.

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  26. Oh my gracious goodness! First off let me say "I care!" Then I want to say "Bravo!" Once again your attention to detail is stunning. This movie had somehow escaped off of my radar. But it is ON now! :)

    I have spent over 30 minutes looking at each and every image making me now late. I know I will be coming back to this post and plastering my face to the computer screen again and again.

    Thank you so much Joni. I will be checking out and telling my daughter to check out the new blogs.

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    1. aw, thanks!!!! i hope they like it! my daughter still has a lot of work to do on her, but she would have gone crazy if i mentioned my niece's but not hers!

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  27. Joni, you're amazing!!! What a spectacular post, what a prodigious amount of work and research, and what a delicious film this looks to be! I'll admit that I do the very same thing...as soon as I finish watching a film , I run to IMDB and look up the filming locations. I, too, go on a hunt to find the houses or villages, especially if they're in France, but I could learn a lot from you about this kind of detective work!!! You asked about our fave movie sets? I started as a child with old movies like "The Enchanted Cottage" on late night TV. How I loved that little house!! Another one I can't forget is the house in "The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom", {a barely known Shirley MacLaine film]set in mod London in the '60s. Now this isn't a movie, but I wonder if you could turn your sleuthing skills to the petite Château de Morsan, Lillian Williams' gorgeous folie in Normandy. I heard it just went on the market one week ago, but I can't find it listed with any realtor. Talk about fabulous French interiors!!!
    Sorry this comment is so long, but I'm making up for months of silence!!! Will direct my students to your girls' blogs
    xx Luv. Your. Blog!!

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    1. wait - Lillian Williams? is that a real house?

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    2. Hello Ladies get ready for a great story...I just stumbled upon these comments about Lillian's folly in Normandy. Girls let me tell you I traveled over 5k miles to see it in April! From Houston to Normandy. It's been an obsession of mine for over a year. I tried to track down Lillian myself, but got nowhere (I even emailed a museum in Munich which holds a collection of her 18th century dresses). So I boarded a plane for Paris, picked up my chateaux chasing buddy and off we went in search of the illusive Chateau de Morsan. All we had was an iphone and google maps. Once we found the village of Morsan I instinctively knew it had to be found on the only road named Le Chateau... Naturally I nearly wet myself when we found it, in fact I cried. There it was being guardedly held behind large gates and overgrown hedges and trees. We circled the property many times trying to get a good picture. I even considered climbing through the brambles and making my way through the sheep pasture until I heard the roar of dogs. If there were dogs, there must be a caretaker...sure enough we spotted her coming out of the gate with the dogs. That's when my friend and I pounced! Once I told her the story of my obsession and how I had come from Texas to Normandy..and that I write for a magazine, she warmed up to the idea of letting us inside! "Madame" or Lillian to us Americans "likes to be in magazines" is what the caretaker said. So off we went...It was a died and gone to heaven moment that lasted for 4 hours! The story however doesn't stop there...it only gets better. The caretaker thought that I was actually interested in purchasing the chateau and immediately called "Madame" (Lillian) who happened to be in Paris at her and Ted's apartment. So, within 48 hours I was invited over to share why I was so interested in Chateau de Morsan (so I thought--I was actually being interview to buy the freaking place!!!!). At this point I was beyond dreamland...I had crossed over to seventh heaven! Lillian and I chatted about the chateau, about her life of living in the 18th century (she actually lives like she's an aristocrat and I honestly believe she thinks she is...her wealth has placed her there) So, after about a 5 hour visit and looking through old photos of her in San Francisco, her dressed up in 18th century costume and countless other publications she's been in, Madame and I parted ways and I actually thought we were to be friends after our parting. Her and Ted were so extremely nice and told me to keep in touch. To this day, I've sent 3 emails and have nothing in return. I apparently wasn't good enough to be in her circle of friends...I was secretly hoping she would bequeath the chateau to me since she has no children to leave it to..a girl can dream!

      So, now I just have this incredible story and a ton of photographs of Lillian's Paris apartment and Chateau de Morsan and a friendship with the caretaker that I keep as a memory of one hell of an adventure! My chateau chasing partner in crime did a blog post about our fun here: http://frenchmarketmaven.blogspot.com/2012/05/chasing-normandy.html

      And yes, it is on the market...but you won't find it listed anywhere because the Williams are EXTREMELY private. Anyone interested in purchasing it better have deep pockets and be fully prepared for a third degree interview by Lillian herself. She's not letting her Louis XV folly go to just anyone!

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  28. You are the world's preeminent Design Detective. You should have your own show.

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  29. Gorgeous blog post today! I, too, enjoyed it with my morning coffee! A great big thank you for all the time and effort you put into researching these sets! The blue suite is lovely, but so delicate and fragile. I personally prefer the substance of the pink English room with its heavier furniture and rugs. But it is ALL so beautiful!

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  30. This post is such a fabulous treat! I adore the Love Nest. I will open a bottle of wine and enjoy watching the movie thru Amazon this weekend! Period romantic dramas are my favorite movies. Especially when they have to do with a part of my heritage, the French.

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  31. Charlotte Des FleursMay 15, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Hi Joni,

    First let me say that I LOVED this post! Not to seem a sycophant, I really do LOVE almost every post you do.

    Having studied Set Design, I can explain some of the colors to you. Blue always means reliability and by extension power and control. I believe that one of the reasons Uma was chosen for the role is because she fits so beautifully in a blue room, NOT that the rooms and her clothing were blue because those colors flatter her. The pink columns are, well, how can I put it, a reference to sex. Red is always the color of passion. Pink suggests subdued passion, but passion none the less. Not having seen the movie I do not know who has the power, Uma's character or her husband. However, the tiny yellow flowers she favors represent her desire to break free and get out into the light!

    Nina Ricci wears burgundy - a red suggesting lusty passion - almost like visually drinking a strong red wine. As a "lady" she could not be too daring and wear the red worn by Scarlette O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. From your photos, the Love Nest looks pink, almost, dare I say, vaginal. The Matelassee on the bed is definately a flesh-toned pink. How overt is that! You say the room is gold and cream and I believe you. However, the pink roses brought by the scoundrel again symbolize passion.

    The very dark reds worn by Kristen Scott Thomas as well as the dark colors worn by the mature women symbolize passion experienced but in decline. The dark paneling and dark rooms also suggest the end of life.

    On the other end of the spectrum are the clothes worn by the young eligible daughter - soft shell pink. As you know white symbolizes virginity. However, shell pink symbolizes virginity on the brink of sexual awakening. There is a famous lushly scented, Old World rose called, in English, "Maiden's Blush". It is the faintest pink, almost transluscent, with a soft shell pink center. The French are much less straight-laced than the English. In France the rose is known by several names - La Seduisante (the Seducer), La Virginale (the Virgin) and my favorite, "Cuisse de Nymphe" (thigh of an aroused nymph!)

    I am rapidly fanning my face with my hand. Oo-la-la!

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    1. Oh my God! Maiden's Blush!! I am blushing right now. Go watch the movie you'll really be fanning yourself. hahah!

      thanks for the lesson in colors and set decoration!!! there is so much to learn!

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    2. Charlotte Des FleursMay 15, 2012 at 8:51 PM

      Joni, if you ever get a chance to purchase a "Maiden's Blush" rose bush - do it. Your back yard is fairly shady. "Maiden's Blush" is an Alba rose which does not need as much light to bloom as do most other roses. Also, "Maiden's Blush" is a rambler which means you could train it on a patio covered with an open overhead trellis. Think of the heady perfume and interesting thoughts you will have with such a rose in your yard!

      Plus, "Maiden's Blush" is a French antique rose. What a wonderful addition to your collection of other antiques.

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  32. I can't wait to see this film! Thank you so much for this well-researched post.

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  33. OMG! When you see a movie do you ever see it! It's wonderful to see it through your eyes... the detail you savor ... that is why you are a designer and that is why my house looks as it does... thank you for all the hard work to help us see it as you do

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  34. looooooved reading this. the blue apt is so beautiful and i love that wallpaper. some of my favorite movie houses are the one in High Society (love that atrium room & the foyer) & the o Parent Trap House with the open courtyard.
    xoxo,
    lauren

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  35. OHHH, how I adore me a good detective, and you are one + Your blog is wonderful! Will watch with interest this movie, Bel Ami. Having come from a production background, this was just tooo fabulous. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  36. Joni,
    You never cease to entertain. I saw this movie listed in 'upcoming films' while searching for a preview I had seen the other evening (but couldn't remember the name of it). I will definitely see this...I thought Pattinson did a great job with Water for Elephants. What a great blue and white set of rooms. So many pretty details. Love all 3 female leads in this movie.
    I've received a comment from your niece on my blog, and visited her blog...very fun and so youthful. I also visited your daughter's blog...great packing tips and since I am headed to Texas next week it will come in handy. Thanks for the leads.
    Karen

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    1. thankyou!!!!!!!!! yes - my daughter is the packer.
      Rob was so great in Water for Elephants. He was also so handsome in it too!! which is my #1 reason for watching him work, ha!!

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  37. Thank-you Joni for the trip down memory lane with the reminder of the scene in Polyanna about the crystals in the chandelier! I can still hear the tinkling of them and ever since I've been hooked on all things classic in decor.
    The painstaking work you did researching this movie set was remarkable and I learned a great deal. Especially to appreciate the details they go through to make a movie great.
    Mairi

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  38. I simply love this post! And, the research you have done is fantastic!! I cannot wait to see the film...trying to decide whether I will preview early or wait until released on big-screen...to see every detail even better!! Thanks so much for this great insight!

    Also...such cute blogs by Lizzy and your niece! My daughter is already adding these to her blog list!!


    Lisa

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    1. thank you! I know Brooke, my niece, will keep her blog up. I hope that Elisabeth will. I really encourage her, but then she just drops it. this is her 4th go at it i think. oh well.

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  39. Omg...talk about eye candy. And the interiors are nice too. Robert Pattinson is a beautiful man. Fantastic post. Do you know where in the UK the white house is? I would be very curious.

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  40. Wow, that blue and white wallpaper looks so similar to my foyer wallpaper. It is Cole and Son "Dorset" (mine is gray and white). It is made in the UK. Only thing I am missing is Robert Pattinson ;)

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  41. Hey Joni~
    Great to hear from you - hope all is well! I loved catching up w Elisabeth on her blog - she's a cutie w style, just like her mother. xo

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  42. Perhaps the pink columns are marble and as such cannot be painted.

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  43. Charlotte, Maiden's Blush being a rambler also means it is a one time bloomer per season. Is that your experience with this rose?

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    1. CharlotteDes FleursMay 16, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      Yes. Technically it is not really rambler (which can be house-eaters) but it IS quite a large bush. I have seen them trained as climbers so there might be a sport that is a climber. Maiden's Blush blooms but once a year but for a very long period. Unfortunately, most of these older roses just give you four to six weeks of glory, but what glory it is!

      I live in a warm but temperate climate (somewhat like Nice, France) and fertilize my roses Very heavily from March to November. I have some varieties of roses that bloom all the way from April through Christmas. Unless we have a very cold snap, I even have bushes that bloom in January. The only real rose problems I have are grasshoppers!

      Delete
  44. Hello Joni, I have been following your blog since 2008 and everywhere I go (I moved 8 times in 10 years) it's the place I go and say: "One day I will be able to decorate a house that I stay for a long time just like Ms. Cote de Texas!". Don't worry, we all love to hear about your research findings! Maria (currently in Miami)

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  45. Hello Joni!!!! Love your blog and I am so glad I found it! I love the painted upholstered headboard in "The Love Nest" and was wondering if there were any antique stores in Houston I might could try. I would love to hear from you and any sources I might could try. Keep up the fabulous work!

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    1. Charlotte Des FleursMay 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      Anon - "might could"? My goodness, you sound like my husband. Are you from Utah or Idaho? It will be hit or miss to find what you want as an antique. Here are some other sources:

      Fabulous & Baroque - on-line, ships from Austin, Texas. Several models of Baroque beds. Can be painted any number of custom colors and upholstered in your choice of fabrics. The owner, Danae, is VERY nice to work with. www.fabulousandbaroque.com

      Sweet Pea & Willow - out of the UK. Do not know if they ship to the US.

      Savoia Chairs- out of Toronto Canada. Ship to the US. VERY responsive to inquiries. Have a HUGE collection of unfinished French and Rococco bedframes, couches, chairs, and settees. Prices are very reasonable but you will have to have to paint or stain the furniture yourself. http://www.savoiachair.com/bed2/index.htm

      JC Penney of all places - Chris Madden French Country Bed. With distressed white finish and cane accents. Called the Avalon. Absolutely gorgeous and unfortunately no longer available. However, I would check ebay and Craigslist. Someone is eventually going to have one for sale. You could easily repaint AND upholster over the caning. It is done ALL the time. Time to bug JC Penney to get this Avalon Bedroom set back in stock!

      Nicky Cornell - out of the UK. Ships to the US. Have a number of Rococco Beds similar to the one in the Love Nest. http://www.nickycornell.com/subcategory.aspx?SubCatID=12

      Happy hunting!

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    2. Dear Charlotte! Thank you so much for the info. have found some great ideas and will continue to look. I like the look and price of a reproduction!!!! Just glad to know they can upholster and paint in your choice. I truly appreciate your help. I will be anxiously awaiting to see more great design on the blog.

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  46. Uma is my favorite actress !!! Simply perfect!

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  47. A thought about the pink columns -- I can't tell from the photos, but perhaps they are marble and that's why they couldn't paint them white? I worked with a set decorator once on a film that was shot in Charlotte. They purchased one home from a recently deceased old lady, including all contents, most of which were used on sets, and they rented two private homes for filming. In one home they didn't change much, but in the other home they moved out all of the homeowners' furnishings, repainted and wallpapered, elaborate custom window treatments (that's where I came in) and transformed a dining room into a bathroom with a claw footed tub. They even had a crane bring in huge, full grown trees that were lined up and sandbagged along the property line to screen the view of the neighboring home so no one would know it was in a neighborhood. Oh, , and they also built a facade of a stable behind the house. Amazing -- and then, after the final editing, they ended up cutting ALL of the scenes that were shot in that house that was completely redone inside! But I know that Sony Pictures' contract with the homeowner provided for the movie company to move everything out and then repaint and put everything back exactly as it was after filming.

    I have to download this movie tonight! Thanks for the tip. :-)

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  48. I'm always amazed by the time you put into your posts! I really appreciate all your research, and your eye for detail. The sets and costumes are gorgeous!

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  49. Joni,
    You obviously had a past life as Sherlock Holmes! Great sleuthing job again.

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  50. Charlotte Des FleursMay 17, 2012 at 7:00 AM

    Yes! WALLPAPERS for Bel Ami are made in Scotland. The website for the company, Mortan Young & Borland, said they made bespoke (custom) wallpapers for the film. They have several wallpaper styles available for purchase but they do not look exactly like those in the film.

    http://belamifilm.com/2011/02/14/bel-ami-era-lace-damask-wallpaper-is-all-the-rage-again/

    For those who want similar wallpapers, look for "tradional damask" patterns on line or at a paint store that carries wallpaper books.

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  51. Joni your in-depth research amazes me! I will definitely have to watch the movie now but in my mind I think it will always be classified as 'Joni's movie'. Those interiors are all SO gorgeously wonderful!
    I must admit I laughed and laughed at the one picture that clearly looked as if a dead man was on the bed and you were commenting on the painted floors! :) It was as if I could hear you saying 'Ignore that dead man and look at those fabulous painted floors!'.
    Thanks for this post! Maggie

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  52. What a fabulous post - I'm always much more interested in the background of movies than what the actors are upto !
    Just to say , the big mansion where the ball is filmed with the elaborate wall paintings is called Moor Park, and it is indeed a golf club - hence the boring furniture. It is famous for its incredible and very Italian decoration. I once just drove up and had a coffee, as the club was open, it's about an hour out of central London I guess.
    LOVE your blog and keep analysing these films.
    PS does the gorgeous mr Pattinson ever smile in this film - or in any film for that matter ?
    David

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    1. Charlotte Des FleursMay 17, 2012 at 2:12 PM

      Sadly, the gorgeous Mr. Pattinson is, in real life, a very crass young man. I read an on-line interviews with him. When discussing his nudity in the film, he joyously said you are going to see a lot of his "crack" in the film. He did not simply use that word one time, but several times. Tres declasse!

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    2. He is young and English, and the young English as a GENEREL rule are that way. I think I can safely say that most English people (despite our reputation as being very proper) would not be offended at all. In my experience the English are less proper or prim than your average American. Just look at all the nakedness in British advertising, Page 3, etc. People would be in uproar in the USA about stuff that doesn't make a Brit even blink.

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    3. By the way - when I said that Moor Park is a golf club - I forgot to add that it was originally built for a Duke in the seventeenth century and was , in 1732, tarted up by a newly rich trader with all the amazing ceilings etc. It must really have been a bit like a Russian oligarch mansion nowadays .... oops
      www.moorparkgc.co.uk

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    4. Charlotte Des FleursMay 18, 2012 at 4:00 PM

      Almost every new owner of a property puts his or her personal stamp on it. Thank goodness or there would be a lot of unemployed carpenters, plumbers, electricians AND decorators!

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  53. Thank you for posting this. It’s exactly what I was looking for!

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  54. i'm just gonna say it.

    i didn't think i could love this blog more. but then you went and plastered with the most lovely man in film!!! i cannot get enough stills, whatv of RPATZ and am eternally grateful you took the time to organize all this french eye candy.

    i cannot wait to see the film and think i ought to make an occasion out of it...like a girl's night in kinda deal...are you in?

    btw i am now following formally and would be pleased as paris if you followed me back!

    smiles.

    michele

    p.s.
    did i mention i am a twilight fan and proud? team edward, baby.

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  55. joni i am speechless!!! your research, your acute eye for detail and as always great commentary which made this movie come alive. have no idea how you do it but lucky us to be the recipients of such knowledge. cannot wait to see this movie previously unheard of by moi
    merci!
    debra

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  56. A close up of the cane headboard, you say?

    Uh huh.

    Louise

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  57. Again, Joni, you deliver!

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  58. Joni - the FBI or CIA should recruit you for your sleuthing abilities. My all time favourite movie houses are Something's Gotta Give (of course) and Gosford Park. If you ever decided to sleuth the Gosford Park locations that would be heaven.

    For once I am actually finding Robert Pattinson sexy instead of merely beautiful, that Clark Gable middle-parting of the hair seems to have done the trick. He's also got a bit of Elvis about him don't you think?

    I think the pink columns must be marble or granite, they wouldn't be allowed to paint them or if they did it would be a crime.

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  59. Hi Joni,

    Thank you so very much for this post. It is because of your post I even knew of this movie and I took my best friend for her birthday to go see it for the sets, furniture and costumes you described. It was such a delight yesterday to see all these splendid things on the big screen. Here in LA the Laemmle is the only theatre showing it. http://laemmle.com/viewmovie.php?mid=8093 I don't understand why the movie got such luke warm reviews. I really enjoyed it. Georges Duroy was a tortured soul for sure. I think Pattinson delivered a very good performance.

    Thanks again Joni!

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  60. it is really interesting post about Stewart and Pattinson's latest debut. thanks - Herman Swan

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  61. I just saw the movie and oh what a feast for the eyes. Right now, I would do anything for the headboard and bedding in the love nest. Do you know by chance where it can be purchased?

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  62. Thank you so much for this post. I had not heard of the movie but will watch as soon as I finish this email!! I watch "The Golden Bowl" over and over just to look at the costumes!!

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