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 »
Queen Elizabeth is running this show. The men in her court should be thinking about how to add to the glory of the Elizabethan Age and how to foil those pesky Spanish who got far too much ... See full summary »
William K. Howard
Cleopatra hasn't been on the throne of the pharoahs of Egypt very long when Julius Caesar pays a visit. Caesar finds the prospect of romance more tempting than he expected, since Cleopatra ... See full summary »
On the sidewalks of the London theater district the buskers (street performers) earn enough coins for a cheap room. Charles, who recites dramatic monologues, sees that a young pickpocket, ... See full summary »
Critics and the public say Karen Stone is too old -- as she approaches 50 -- for her role in a play she is about to take to Broadway. Her businessman husband, 20 years her senior, has been ... See full summary »
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 »
When the calendar changes to 1 January 1800, Nelson says it's a new century, making a mistake people frequently make. Mathematical logic dictates that centuries begin in years ending with 01, not 00. See more »
...and I forgot London, and the old ways. I was young. I healed quickly. I learned French and Italian, music and dancing. And one day, I had more than I ever dreamed of. I became his wife... Emma, Lady Hamilton.
See more »
Told by Emma Hart (Vivien Leigh) as a flashback on her life when she was on hard times later in her life, the film portrays her rise to courtly fame and fall from social grace after her affair with the Lord Horatio Nelson (Lawrence Olivier).She is supported by her mother, (Sara Allgood) and makes the acquaintance of the British envoy (Hamilton) to Naples in about 1798.The latter is looking for a trophy wife to add to his collection of sculptures being something of an aesthete and he manages to successfully disabuse Emma from the idea that her fiance will follow her onto Naples.Later he pursades Emma to marry him, more as a platonic relationship to show off.(Nothing has changed).All goes well and Emma further rises in court circles by befriending the King and Queen of Naples.
One day a 21 gun salute announces the arrival in the bay of Naples of the Lord Horatio Nelson on a diplomatic mission.Inevitably he and Emma have their grand affair and the British envoy seems to take it on the chin, (high society did not marry for love in those days).Unfortunately although it is love, Mrs Nelson(Dame Gladys Cooper) will not give Horatio the divorce he craves and his career could mean you were years between meetings with your spouse.The affair will not help his career with the Admiralty either.Of course the day dawns (October 21 1805) off the Cape of Trafalgar (Spain) when Britain took on the combined French and Spanish fleets under Nelson's command.Why did he decide to go on his flagship Victory's quarter deck against good advice showing all his medals and braid, thus making him an obvious target for the sharpshooters in the rigging of "Le Redoubtable"? Was it an unconscious desire to end his life because his private life was then untenable?After his great victory and national rejoicing, his body was preserved in a keg of rum in preparation for a state funeral at St. Paul's Catherdral, London after the voyage home.Trafalgar Square was built in his honour and was laid out in about 1840.When Hamilton dies, Emma graciously refuses to profit from his estate to the detriment of his legitimate son and heirs.With no financial support from her dead love, she falls on hard times.
Obviously Leigh and Olivier had a natural chemistry together because of their marriage and previous affair.Vivien looks utterly exquisite and this film would look sumptuous if a colourised version could now be made available to film connoiseurs.After seeing and reading several versions of Winston Churchill's biography, it was obvious he had a great admiration for historic British martial heros, so it came as no surprise to me that this was his favourite film.Unmissable if you are a Larry and Vivien film fan.I rated it 7/10
12 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?