Dangerous Exile

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Dangerous Exile
"Dangerous Exile" (1957).jpg
Directed by Brian Desmond Hurst
Produced by George H. Brown
Earl St. John
Written by Robin Estridge
Based on novel A King Reluctant by Vaughan Wilkins
Starring Louis Jourdan
Keith Michell
Belinda Lee
Richard O'Sullivan
Music by Georges Auric
Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth
Edited by Peter Bezencenet
George H. Brown Productions
Distributed by J. Arthur Rank
Release date
1957 (UK)
10 October 1958 (US)
Running time
91 minutes
Country England
Language English

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.[1]


The Duke Philippe de Beauvais smuggles his own son into the prison cell where Louis XVII is kept. Thus Louis XVII can escape unnoticed to England. Unfortunately the aerostat, steered by Duke Philippe de Beauvais, lands accidentally on a remote island. There an American spinster, Virginia Traill, takes care of the strange child. She finds the dauphin profoundly traumatised and not interested in becoming a king. Meanwhile, Louis' uncle in Vienna has declared himself the new French king. In order to safeguard his claim on the throne, he sends assassins who shall murder the dauphin. Being unaware of the exchange, he has Richard de Beauvais killed. But now the dauphin's torturers recognise they have been deceived. Informed by a message of an English spy they send a ship to the island where the real dauphin hides. They attack the house of Virginia Traill and stop at nothing to detect the dauphin's hiding-place.



The film was shot in Pinewood Studios and on location in Cornwall in 1957.[2] Lee was injured when her hair caught fire during a scene.[3]


The Manchester Guardian called the film "monstrous twaddle" with "just one merit - its beautifully colored photography".[4]

The New York Times called it "a beautifully mounted tale" which "rarely comes to life, except in the superb, effectively colored period settings... Under Brian Desmond Hurst's rather unimaginative direction, the action simply lacks sustained suspense, instead of crawling with it... 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."[5]


  1. ^ David Sterrit, "Dangerous Exile", Turner Classic Movies accessed 26 January 2014
  2. ^ Dangerous Exile at Louisjourdan.net
  3. ^ "Star's Hair Ablaze From Candle". The Canberra Times. 31, (9,154). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 27 April 1957. p. 3. Retrieved 20 July 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ EALING TEAM NEEDS A REFRESHER Our London Film Critic. The Manchester Guardian (1901-1959) [Manchester (UK)] 14 Dec 1957: 3.
  5. ^ Review of film at New York Times

External links[edit]