Philip Kaufman (The Right Stuff) directs Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet in this lavish portrayal of the infamous French aristocrat, the Marquis De Sade, who was banished to an insane asylum for his sexual indiscretions. There, his notoriety takes on a life of its own, in spite of sinister attempts to silence him once and for all.
The superb support cast includes Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine, Patrick Malahide and Billie Whitelaw. Geoffrey Rush's real-life wife, Jane Menelaus, plays de Sade's wife.
The genuine model head cast from the real Marie Antoinette (and on loan from Madame Tussaud's wax museum in London) is in the basket of aristocratic victims; the tune the Marquis de Sade keeps humming throughout the film is the French children's song "Au Clair de la Lune"; Geoffrey Rush directed the play that the asylum residents put on.