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Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
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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>
The Catholic Legion of Decency condemned the film for its "glamorization of immorality and licentiousness", and they demanded that the studio (20th Century-Fox) make changes so they could remove the film from the condemned list. The studio defiantly refused to initially, but when the actual boycotts began to occur, the studio caved in. During a period of about two months, 20th Century-Fox and representatives of the Legion of Decency discussed how the film could be changed so as to meet Catholic approval. Among the new scenes added was a narrated prologue over the credits that said that the main character would be punished for sins, a new ending in which Amber watches Lord Carlton leave for Virginia and ends up accepting a supper invitation from the King's equerry, plus the deletion of many scenes that suggested that Amber had many lovers and the addition of new scenes to condemn her immorality. After these changes were made, the Legion of Decency took the film off of the "condemned" list and moved it to the "Class B-Objectionable in Part" listing, but the film's bookings had been severely cut due to the earlier condemnation. 20th Century-Fox president Spyros P. Skouras later apologized to the Legion, not for offending them, but for refusing to conform to them. See more »
King Charles II:
[at a royal ball]
Look at them. My loving subjects. You'd never know that half of them danced in Puritan garb while my father went to the chopping block.
Amber St. Clair:
No wonder you seek solace in amusement, sire.
Amber St. Clair:
Can a common trollop help you to forget?
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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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