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Sir William Hamilton, a widower of mature years, is British ambassador to the Court of Naples. Emma who comes for a visit with her mother wouldn't cut the grade with London society but she gets along well with the Queen of Naples. Emma likes being Lady Hamilton and life goes smoothly until Lord Nelson pays a visit. Sir William decides at first to let his young wife have her fling and pretends not to know what is going on. But the real life lovers, whose first screen romance was in "Fire Over England" (1937) have an even more burning passion for each other in this film. Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
Nerot's Hotel (or Hotel Nerot, London) opened in 1776 in King Street on the site of the former townhouse of the Earl of Ranelagh. It was a very fashionable hotel and Nelson met his wife and his father there after his return in 1800 from the Battle of the Nile. It relocated to Clifford Street in 1811, with the original building being demolished in 1835 and the St James Theatre being built on the site. See more »
At a victory party for Nelson in 1798, a band plays "A Life on the Ocean Waves," the Royal Marines March written by Henry Russell in the 1830s. See more »
[Emma has just recounted her story to her cellmate, ending with her learning of Nelson's death]
What happened after?
There is no "then". There is no "after".
See more »
One of the best known stories of adultery in British history is the one between Lord Horatio Nelson and the enchanting Emma Hamilton. This film by Alexander Korda takes that story and does not disappoint.
In the pivotal role of Emma, Vivien Leigh shines in a role that came not long after her international triumph in 'Gone With The Wind'. Her Emma is flirty, scheming, and delightful, and you can see why she captured the heart of Nelson. The part of Nelson is taken by Vivien Leigh's real-life husband, Laurence Olivier, and his stuffed-shirt persona suits the role perfectly.
In support, Alan Mowbray (as the cuckolded Lord Hamilton), and Gladys Cooper (as the snide Lady Nelson), are excellent, and the standard of script, photography, and direction is high throughout.
This was said to be Winston Churchill's favourite wartime film, and you can see the attraction. It was given a coda which showed that Emma didn't profit from her liaison but this is a small price to pay for such a sumptuous and engaging film.
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