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William K. Howard
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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>
When Nelson first calls at Naples, he was captain of the Agamemnon in the Mediterranean. This meant he was part of the White Squadron and should have flown a white ensign, not a blue/ red one. Also, the ensign would have had a different flag in the canton as the cross of St Patrick was not added to the Union flag until 1801. See more »
[Greeting a lady in waiting for the Queen of Naples]
Good morning, your ladyship. My daughter, her ladyship, is still resting. And how is Her Majesty's sore throat? You know the best thing for a sore throat is to wrap a woolen sock around your neck before bed.
Sir William Hamilton:
Good morning, your ladyship.
[to Emma's mother]
Sir William Hamilton:
Is Emma still asleep?
She is asleep. In my village, a husband just turns round in bed to look for himself.
Sir William Hamilton:
Yes, and the Queen of Naples does not wear woolen socks!
See more »
If nothing else, 'That Hamilton Woman' proved two things: Vivien Leigh is just as beautiful in black and white as she is in the glorious technicolor of 'GWTW'; and when it comes to the cinema, her acting technique on screen is every bit as expert as Laurence Olivier's. (In fact, Olivier himself admitted this when he saw a screening of her Scarlett O'Hara performance.)
At any rate, my main interest in seeing this film was that I learned it was Winston Churchill's favorite movie during World War II, dealing as it does with the British admiralty and the threat of war and domination. As Lady Hamilton, Vivien Leigh narrates the story and since it is told from her viewpoint, she manages to dominate with her beauty and acting prowess. How she rises from abject poverty to become Lord Nelson's mistress makes up the bulk of the story--which sometimes seems a bit unbelievable. However, since both stars were at the time married to others, one can easily see that these roles suited both of them to perfection. Surely, if anyone could identify with these characters, they could!
Slow moving in spots, handsomely photographed in black and white, it is interesting to note how very British Leigh actually was when not assuming a more American way of talking (as in 'GWTW') -- proof indeed that she was a good actress. Of all of her films after "Gone with the Wind", I prefer her in 'Waterloo Bridge' (with Robert Taylor). Following that, I would choose this one.
Some of the ships are obvious models--but other than that, the production is a handsome one. Worth seeing for the two stars alone.
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