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>
Director Lloyd picked up the Best Director Oscar for this film, which is the main reason why anyone remembers or talks about it today. While that might be the reason the film is remembered today, the film itself is still pretty good and holds up fairly well. The film tells the story of the doomed love affair of Lady Emma Hamilton (Corinne Griffith) who married Sir William (H.B. Warner) only to cheat on him with Captain Horatio Nelson (Victor Varconi). I'm not overly familiar with the true events but I've been told this movie isn't too close to the truth but that's to be expected. Whereas Hamilton is shown as a rather cheerful and charming person here, apparently in real life she could be twisted and cruel and those sides aren't on display here. With that said, I found the movie to old up fairly well in certain fields but the melodrama has dated quite badly. The entire love story really isn't all that interesting even though the performances carry it for the most part. I found the love triangle to be rather forced as I never really bought into why Hamilton would marry Sir William in the first place. The money might be obvious but I felt that the film really rushed their relationship and that William's entire motivation and feelings are overlooked. The ending is pretty tacky and unemotional, although I'm sure many fell for it back in 1929. The entire look of the film from the cinematography to the amazing sets are a reason to watch the film as are the performances. I found Griffith to be quite charming and she certainly carries the film on her own. The two men turn in fine performances as well. Marie Dressler is pretty much wasted in a thankless role. What really makes this film worth watching is a battle sequence out at sea that happens towards the middle of the picture. The action sequences are very exciting and the stuff dealing with the ships being torn apart look very realistic.
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