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Dangerous Exile

1957 : Dangerous Exile(UK)
Le Prisonnier du Temple(Fr)
de Brian Desmond Hurst
Avec Belinda Leen, Anne Heywood & Richard O'Sullivan.
Dans le rôle du duc Philippe de Beauvais

What if the Dauphin of France managed to escape the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution? That's the premise of the opulent British swashbuckler Dangerous Exile. Louis Jourdan stars as the Duc de Beauvais, who manages, at great personal sacrifice, to smuggle the son (Richard O'Sullivan) of King Louis XVI into England. The boy takes up residence in Wales, where he is protected by local lass Virginia Traill (Belinda Lee) and her wealthy Aunt Fell (Martita Hunt

Dangerous Exile is a 1957 British historical drama film directed by Brian Desmond Hurst and starring Louis Jourdan, Belinda Lee, Anne Heywood and Richard O'Sullivan. It concerns the fate of Louis XVII, who died in 1795 as a boy, yet was popularly believed to have escaped from his French revolutionary captors

Belinda Lee & Louis Jourdan

Synopsis : The Welsh town of Tenby is disturbed by the local Militia discovering a young boy and a beautiful American girl, who have been deposited in the graveyard by a French balloon. The year is 1795 and Britain is at war with the Republic of France. The Boy (Richard O’Sullivan) is Louis XVII, son of the executed King of France. His protector, Virginia Traill, (Belinda Lee) seeks refuge for them both at her aunt’s home - a castle on nearby Caldy Island. Meanwhile, the Duc De Beauvais returns to France to rescue his own son Richard, who had been used as a substitute for Louis. Finding his son murdered, the Duc De Beauvais finds himself pursuing St. Gerard back to Caldy in order to save Louis and Virginia’s lives.

Belinda Lee & Louis Jourdan in Polish magazine 1958

Richard O'Sullivan, Belinda Lee & Louis Jourdan

on the set


The New-York Times Review
Published: October 11, 1958
By Howard Thompson.

MINUS much electricity or dramatic flair, the British offer a beautifully mounted tale of France's lost Dauphin in "Dangerous Exile," which opened yesterday at the Sutton. Even with a situation hinging on one of history's most beguiling legends — the fate of young Louis XVII immediately after the French Revolution, this J. Arthur Rank entry rarely comes to life, except in the superb, effectively colored period settings.

As adapted by Robin Estridge from a novel by Vaughan Wilkins, the new picture has a pretty good cast headed by Louis Jourdan, Belinda Lee, an impressive newcomer named Keith Michell and that seasoned scene-stealer, Martita Hunt. Actually, there is enough material on hand for two or three tingling historical, cloak-and-dagger packages.

It opens as an errant balloon, carrying young Richard O'Sullivan, the heir apparent, lands on a remote English island. A beautiful American, Miss Lee, protectively hides the befuddled boy in the castle of her aunt, Miss Hunt, and the trouble—what should have been the fun—begins.

The remote castle itself, even with two intelligent mistresses, is wide open for local spies, who alertly contact the bloodthirsty Parisian Republicans, already hoodwinked by a substitute lad. Three factions eventually go after Master O'Sullivan, in a welter of intrigue that cuts back and forth from Paris to the island, where Mr. Jourdan, a Royalist, arrives to protect the young prince. A nick-of-time sword battle saves the day, without shedding much light on one of France's timeless legends.

Under Brian Desmond Hurst's rather unimaginative direction, the action simply lacks sustained suspense, instead of crawling with it. Mr. Jourdan's tender romance with the wide-eyed Miss Lee and even their concern for their young charge flattens against such a hollow phrase as "kings must have no feelings."

The most harshly convincing scenes, in flashback, show the competent Master O'Sullivan under sadistic Republican torture, Mr. Michell, as a firm-jawed but understanding Republican, is excellent; Finlay Currie and Anne Heywood are picturesque spies; and Miss Hunt, as usual, is tartly delicious.

But the lavish, meticulous castle interiors, the sweeping, azure-tinted coastal landscapes, and the murkiness of the Paris dungeons — all these have been woven into a striking background tapestry by Jack Maxsted, the art director. A royal backdrop, unlike the rest of "Dangerous Exile," worthy of little Louis XVII of France, whatever really happened to him.


DANGEROUS EXILE, screen play by Robin Estridge, from the novel, "A King Reluctant," by Vaughan Wilkins; directed by Brian Desmond Hurst; produced by George H. Brown for J. Arthur Rank. At the Sutton Theatre, 205 East Fifty-seventh Street. Running time: ninety-one minutes.
Virginia Traill - Belinda Lee
The Due de Beauvais - Louis Jourdan
Colonel St. Gerard - Keith Michell
Louis XVII - Richard O'Sullivan
Aunt Fell - Martita Hunt
Mr. Patient - Finlay Currie
Glynis - Anne Heywood
Chief of Police - Jean Mercure
Director of the Republic - Raymond Gerome
De Castres - Jean Claudio


Illustrierte Film-Bühne Magazine Cover

Pressbook for the film