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Nell Gwyn (1934)

 -  History  -  August 1934 (UK)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 52 users  
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King Charles II first meets Nell Gwyn after seeing her do a turn at Drury Lane. They soon become close, the King preferring her feisty irreverent company to that of the aristocratic French ... See full summary »

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Title: Nell Gwyn (1934)

Nell Gwyn (1934) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anna Neagle ...
...
Jeanne De Casalis ...
Muriel George ...
Meg
Helena Pickard ...
Mrs. Pepys
Dorothy Robinson ...
Mrs. Knipp
Esme Percy ...
Miles Malleson ...
Chiffinch
Moore Marriott ...
Robin
Craighall Sherry ...
Ben
Lawrence Anderson ...
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Storyline

King Charles II first meets Nell Gwyn after seeing her do a turn at Drury Lane. They soon become close, the King preferring her feisty irreverent company to that of the aristocratic French Duchess of Portsmouth. Nell becomes his most loyal subject, while ever-ready to take the Duchess down a peg. But the actress can never hope to be fully accepted by the King's circle despite his constant attentions. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

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August 1934 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Hertiginnan från gatan  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When the movie was presented to the American censors, they asked for 35 cuts, and suggested a "moral" ending with Nell marrying the King! See more »

Connections

Remake of Nell Gwyn (1926) See more »

Soundtracks

Merrymakers Dance
from "Nell Gwyn Suite"
Music by Edward German
Played over main titles
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User Reviews

 
NELL GWYN {Edited Version} (Herbert Wilcox, 1934) ***
18 March 2014 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I opted to check this out after I realized that I had a number of films dealing with the life and times of British King Charles II (a character, albeit prior to his occupying the throne, around whom the recently-viewed THE MOONRAKER {1958} revolves); incidentally, I was under the impression that the surname of the titular figure had an extra 'n' at the end – which made it difficult for me to locate its entry on IMDb! Furthermore, it transpired that the copy I acquired – albeit sourced from the official R2 DVD edition – ran for a mere 72 minutes (in PAL mode) against the official 86!

The film was obviously proposed as a vehicle for leading lady Anna Neagle – who, as it happened, was director Wilcox's spouse and one of Britain's top stars of her time. She plays an orange-seller (though often mentioned, she is never shown peddling this trade!) and stage actress who catches the eye of the King (played by Sir Cedric Hardwicke – managing, in spite of the nature of the role, to largely eschew the cheerlessness that marks much of his work!), openly becoming his mistress even though he is officially betrothed to a haughty French Duchess! The two women's sparring for royal attention takes up much of the running-time (with the noblewoman even maneuvering to make Nell look like she is playing Hardwicke for a fool by inventing a liaison with Hay Petrie as the ambassador of her own country!) – but the result is certainly good-looking (this being an early assignment for celebrated cinematographer Freddie Young) and professionally enough assembled to rise above "woman's picture" fare. That said, just as prominent are the musical numbers (that smack rather more of 20th century music-halls than Restoration-era England!) in which audiences – the King included! – enthusiastically join in.

The plot traces the central relationship to its bitter end, when Nell (having already suffered the ignominy of being looked down upon by the aristocracy) is barred from sharing the King's final moments (while the Duchess sensibly flees the scene of her own accord) and leaves the royal quarters alone. Even so, her earthy background – which sees her rubbing elbows daily with scarred but pensionless war veterans (among whom, presumably, is Will Hay regular Moore Marriott…but I sure did not recognize him!) – leads her to instigate a reform of this kind, shown via superimposed footage of the institution concerned as it stood in 1934! By the way, the script is credited as only having "additional dialogue" by Miles Malleson (here also playing one of Hardwicke's closest collaborators) – with the majority supplied by the characters themselves (including MP Samuel Pepys, with the narrative appearing as though it were 'torn' from his personal diary)! For the record, I have a number of other Neagle/Wilcox efforts in my collection – among which is her second turn as Queen Victoria in SIXTY GLORIOUS YEARS (1938), which I may just get to in the current Easter epic marathon...


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