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 ... See full summary »
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The King & Queen of Naples depicted in the movie are Ferdinando IV and Maria Carolina d'Austria. Ferdinando IV was member of the Bourbon/Borbon/Borbone family, a French dynasty which came to Italy by way of Spain. (When the kingdoms of southern Italy were "rebooted" after the Napoléon Bonaparte Wars, this king's designation was changed to Ferdinando I of Two Sicilies, so you may find him listed as such in reference books.) Ferdinando's elder brother was King Carlos IV of Spain, and their first cousin King Louis XVI of France was married to Marie Antoinette, sister of Maria Carolina. The latter's fanatical personality as shown here was fueled by grief over the French Revolutionary executions of Louis and Antoinette in 1793. The close connections between all these rulers are a testament to the incestuous nature of European international politics in the 18th century. See more »
In 1798, Nelson was in the White squadron and so would not have been made Rear-admiral of the Blue. In fact, the highest rank he attained was Vice-Admiral of the White. See more »
Lord Horatio Nelson:
Gentlemen, you will never make peace with Napoleon! Napoleon cannot be master of the world until he has smashed us up, and believe me, gentlemen, he means to be master of the world! You cannot make peace with dictators. You have to destroy them, wipe them out!
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Screen biography of Emma, Lady Hamilton, whose love for Lord Nelson (the British naval hero of the Napoleonic wars) scandalized the Regency world.
Vivien Leigh is in almost every frame, and completely dominates the film. The story is all about Lady Hamilton and her unhappy marriage, her love for Nelson, and the consequences of leaving her stodgy husband to live adulterously and with the man she loved. (He was already famous before Trafalger, this was the "Monicagate" of its day) It's a fine soap opera, centered around a performance that can only be called luminous.
The camera doesn't just love Leigh, it gets down on its knees and worships her. Even in GWTW she never looked so unbelievably beautiful, and she's also completely charming and sensitive. The great Sir Laurence Olivier doesn't have a chance, he barely registers. He's handicapped by a serious lack of screen time and a dreadful red pony-tail wig, but the director seems to have decided to give him short shrift so he can squeeze in a few more exquisite close-ups of Leigh being enchanting. And she is, oh is she ever...
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