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>
This film was a joint preservation project of the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film in cooperation with the Czechoslovak Film Archive. It was restored in conjunction with the project American Moviemakers: The Dawn of Sound. See more »
During the naval battle sequence a modern bridge can be seen in the far distance. See more »
The Divine Lady is a fantastic silent film, a gem of early American cinema that we are lucky to have discovered. Once thought to be lost, The Divine Lady was found along with its original vitaphone score. Since its rediscovery, the movie hasn't raised much commotion in the film community. It has aired on Turner Classic Movies only a handful of times, and it has not been offered for sale on home video. Despite all of this neglection, The Divine Lady is as important and significant as it is entertaining. Garnering an Oscar nomination for its lovely star Corinne Griffith (who, after seeing all the nominees from that year, I have decided should have won) and an Oscar win for Best Direction (for Frank Lloyd). The opening scene is upbeat and humorous. The deliciously hammy Marie Dressler is a delight as the English cook, Mrs. Hart. When her and her hussy of a daughter Emma (Griffith) arrive at the home of the Honorable Charles Greville (Ian Kieth) to work, Sir Charles is skeptical and doubts allowing a vulgar young gamine to enter his home. After her persuasions, however, the man changes his mind and begins to romance Emma. Anxious to inherit the fortune of a rich uncle Sir William Hamilton, Greville sends Emma to live with him in Naples. His motivation is that Sir William could never bring himself to marry such a woman, and that she will exist as his mistress; thus, he himself will inherit the fortune of his uncle when he dies unmarried. When Emma learns that her love will not be joining her, however, she foils the plans of her suitor and marries Sir William. One day, a young naval officer, Horatio Nelson (Victor Varconi), comes to ask a favor of Sir William. Instead, he meets his lovely wife and the two are attracted to one another. When, after a great deal of success, Nelson returns, the two carry out a much-gossipped-about affair. Struggling for the peace and tranquility they desire, the two settle down to live a quiet life. But when Napoleon becomes a threat to England again, the lovers must separate and Nelson must go fight another naval battle. Dripping with beautiful production values, the Divine Lady is a wonderful film, even today. The characters are portrayed vividly and realistically. The photography is some of the best ever, at times similar to the much-touted 'Sunrise.' Over all, the film is a massive experience. It is truly one of the best silents of American film!
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