Dangerous Beauty

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Dangerous Beauty is a movie which you ought to watch with your beloved. You will thank your good fortune that you were not born in Venice in the Sixteenth Century and that if you did live then that you would not fall in love with someone of another social class, nor run afoul of the Inquisition.

it is a wonderful period piece, well acted by all with wonderful dialog and an impressive finale. It is not a chick movie but the heroine is just that, a heroine, with beauty and a creative mind. She is a poetess who stands up to authority in a most delightful way.

Most amazing of all is that this is purportedly based on a true story.


I searched the forum and it is listed once as number twenty five on Pross' list of his favorites. I just watched it with my wife last night and consider it deserves a place of its own.

www.campaignforliberty.com 105836; 6Mar 105909 7MAR 105941


Edited by galtgulch
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*Dangerous Beauty* (1998) is a movie you absolutely must see. (Alternative titles are “A Destiny of Her Own,” and “The Honest Courtesan.”) It is among my most favorite movies of all time. It was first brought to my attention by Objectivist Joshua Zader, perhaps on the original We The Living e-lists a decade ago. It is based on the true story of a heroine of the Venetian Renaissance, Veronica Franco (1546-1591), a poet and very liberated individual for that time and place. Played by Catherine McCormack (who played the wife of William Wallace in *Braveheart*), Veronica comes to life.

Veronica was also a courtesan, i.e., an extremely high-class and well-educated prostitute/companion, sometimes being sought out for her intelligence, wit, conversation and learning as much as for her sexual allure. The path of courtesan was actually recommended to Veronica by her mother, of all people (played well by a sublime Jacqueline Bisset), and the reasoning was that a normal middle-to-upper-class woman in Venice could look forward only to a loveless arranged marriage and with no chances to read or learn. Veronica’s mother collected her daughter’s fees.

Women were normally not allowed into the great Renaissance libraries of Venice, but a courtesan was. Also, if a woman was passionately in love with a man, she could only have him illicitly as a courtesan’s client. Veronica passionately loved books, poetry, and Marco, a man she would never be permitted to marry according to the class-structured norms of the day because his family was much richer and more powerful than hers. Marco is played by Rufus Sewell in the best role I’ve ever seen him play.

There is a tension between Renaissance freedom of thought versus the clinging barbarity of Dark Age Christianity. Veronica did not have an easy life.

My favorite line (paraphrased): Marco: “I stand for Venice, and for this woman.” You’ve simply got to see this moment to believe it.

An extraordinarily romantic film. Highly recommended.


-Ross Barlow.

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