THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES – Review by Susan Granger

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F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” That’s never been more evident than in Lauren Greenfield’s socially relevant documentary about a billionaire family and their financial challenges, including foreclosure, in the wake of the economic crisis. 73 year-old David A. Siegel made his money selling subprime time-share mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them and brags how he got George W. Bush elected president in ways that were not necessarily legal. 43 year-old blonde, Botoxed Jackie acquired an engineering degree, modeled and was a beauty queen before becoming Mr. Siegel’s trophy third wife.

In 2007, they decided to build a 90,000-square-foot mansion in Orlando, Florida, modeled on France’s Palace at Versailles. Designed with 30 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, 10 kitchens, a ballroom, a cavernous 60×120-foot long grand hall, theater, bowling alley, roller rink, two tennis courts, baseball field, separate wing for their seven children and a grotto with spas behind an 80-foot waterfall, it has his-and-her offices with a 12-foot aquarium, formal gardens and an underground garage for 20 cars.

Out of 19 servants, 15 have now been fired, prompting Jackie to confess: “If I’d known I wasn’t going to have nannies, I wouldn’t have had so many kids.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Queen of Versailles” is an extravagant yet surprisingly compassionate 8, a unique chronicle of the collapse of the real estate market.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.