A partly fictionalized account of history begins with the arrival of slatternly Emma Hart, a cook's daughter, at the home of Charles Greville. Greville takes her as his lover and grooms her until their relationship becomes an inconvenience. Greville then dupes Emma into traveling to Naples to live with his uncle, Lord Hamilton, ambassador to the court at Naples. Realizing that Greville has abandoned her, Emma agrees to marry Lord Hamilton. Soon, however, she meets Admiral Horatio Nelson of the British Navy. Emma plays a crucial role in convincing Naples to open its ports to Nelson during his campaign against Napoleon's French fleet. Soon, Emma and the married Nelson become romantically involved -- a relationship which will have consequences for them both. Written by
Shannon Patrick Sullivan <email@example.com>
"Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes"
Music by R. Melish (1780 ?)
Lyrics (poem To Celia) by Ben Jonson (1616)
Played on a harpsichord by an unidentified musician and sung by Corinne Griffith (but probably dubbed)
Used also in the score See more »
I know my summary sounds a bit flippant, but Emma Hamilton was, in every sense of the word, a tart. Although details of her early life are today a bit sketchy, she was apparently the Courtney Love of her time--living a very wild life. When this film begins, all the wildness and affairs of her early years has been erased--making her seem like a pretty nice lady--and rather innocent. 'Innocent' is certainly not a word to describe Lady Hamilton and her later affair with Lord Nelson became legendary. So, if you are looking to have a history lesson, I suggest you try another film.
So, if you ignore the fact that the film is only GENERALLY true and it takes great liberties with the truth, is the film otherwise worth seeing? Well, if you are a film historian, perhaps. The film is a transitional film and is a curiosity because of this. By 'transition', I mean that they call it a talking picture but it really is a silent with a few songs included--much like the first such film, "The Jazz Singer"--not a true all-talking film. But apart from that, the film is only okay. The costumes and sets are lovely but the story itself seems very episodic and, at times, dull. Also, the songs they included are, by today's standards, pretty dreadful. If you are NOT a cinemaniac or historian, then this film will be very tough going.
If you MUST see an inaccurate film about Lady Hamilton, try watching Vivian Leigh and Laurence Olivier in "That Hamilton Woman". It's better looking and lacks the bad musical interludes.
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