Via the considerable charm of aging screen actor Richie (his offscreen self a careful creation over the years) and the slovenly wallop of young director Sigler (a Peckinpah caricature), a movie about the last months of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette emerges willy-nilly. Richie's initial Louis is an exquisitely fluted, minor Sun King; Sigler's Louis is a bloated leech feeding on the bowels ofthe people. Richie and Sigler collide and the tone ofthe finished product -- from gentle martyrdom to mutilation -- is almost a by-product ofthe conflict. Richie/Louis cannot avoid the new guard and Sigler/sans culottes (and sans clean underwear) cannot quite storm the barricade. Also as Richie's wife Kate (Princess Lamballe) and mistress-to-be Annie (Antoinette) are absorbed into their roles, the historical identities take over and resolve some pending matters like Richie's impotence and Kate's unfulfilled marriage: as actor/king and actress/princess "they claimed each other, strangers once again."