Amber St Clair means to get on in life and despite a poor background knows she has the assets to do it. Husbands, lovers, prison and a liaison with King Charles II form a tapestry of apparently calculating ups and downs, although in fact the one love of her life, Bruce Carlton, is never far from Amber's thoughts. Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
Forget the facts of The Stuart Restoration and realize this is Gone With The Wind before Scarlett!
I had not seen Forever Amber since I saw it in a theater as a young girl and was completely captivated by the intrigue and the flash and dash of it all.
Seeing it now as a MUCH older woman, I see the holes, mostly in the lighting which is quite dim even when it should be bright. Perhaps the set designer was trying to give the effect of period lighting.
I was struck by how much the story follows the bare-bones of Gone With The Wind, in particular the way it ends and the glamorous and enigmatic Baron Carlton- Cornell Wilde, walk away with the child while Amber watches from the window. A perfect opening for the sequel that never came.
Forever Amber doesn't even pretend to be a GREAT film, but it is a good one with good acting and some wonderful touches, especially George Sanders' terrific "Snidley Whiplash" aka James II. as he calls his brace of King Charles spaniels "children".
Linda Darnell is lovely but not as accomplished an actress as Vivian Leigh (or as beautiful). Cornell Wilde is NOT Clark Gable-but who was? Still, both manager to give satisfactory performances.
Wilde's best scenes are with the child who looks very much like him. There is a warmth and humor about Wilde when he is interacting with the child that is charming. His Baron Carlton is aloof and something of a snob with everyone else. He is aware of his station in life and unable to break his code of behavior even for Amber. I have no doubt he likes her, but I don't think he ever loved her in the same way she loved him. He never really seems to empathize with her struggles, but is genuinely grateful to her for saving his life and delighted with his young son. He is an puzzle wrapped in a conundrum.
Amber is all surface. She has the depth of a parking-lot puddle and I find myself wishing Maureen O'Hara had been cast. Then REAL sparks would fly. In Darnell's Amber we get a smudge-pot. Oh well.
The glimpses of the court and old London, the plague and the fire are interesting and, in general the film is FUN.
My one REAL regret is that we never see enough of Wilde fencing. He was a National fencing champion and on the 1936 Olympic Fencing team, but his fencing scene in Amber is shot through fog so dense you can hardly see him. That's a shame!!
Enjoy that barn-burner for what it is, not what it could have been!
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