A magnetic presence, an actress in total command of her craft, Norma is also at her most unguarded here. She creates sudden, mysterious excitement-gestures, movements, reactions where the dividing line between the instinct and conscious theatrical effect seems to disappear. In prison: learning of her husband’s execution, she clings to the wall of her cell as if afraid the whole world is falling away, then collapses like someone shot through the heart. On the way to the guillotine: eyes fixed on the far side of despair and her mouth tightly, proudly closed with a wan smile.
Marie Antoinette (1938) Norma Shearer