A historical drama of epic proportions, the 1994 version of La Reine Margot is an authentic balance between period sumptuousness and realistic grittiness, held together by fine performances. Writer-director Patrice Chéreau doesn't flinch in his depiction of the political machinations at play in late 16th century France and the butchery that occurred as a result. Though the labyrinthine plot escapes the director's control at times, the film has a flamboyance which keeps it compelling. At the center of this storm of a movie is Isabelle Adjani, whose maidenly, distant, yet passionate manner is perfectly suited to a period drama. Virna Lisi received a good deal of critical attention for her role as the villainous Catherine de Medici. The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre also served as the background for one of D.W. Griffith's segments of Intolerance (1916) and was the focus of 1954's La Reine Margot.