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>
Lavish costumer from best-selling historical romance...
Kathleen Windsor's racy best-seller lost some of its punch in transition to the screen--mainly because censorship restrictions forced a complete whitewash of Amber St. Clair's exploits in bed-hopping. What is left is mild compared to today's graphic depiction of sex--but since the story unfolds against an interesting historical background in London during the reign of Charles II, it is worth viewing. Linda Darnell was not the first choice for Amber--Peggy Cummins began the role but after filming several scenes was dismissed as being too immature. Linda makes a voluptuous, willful Amber. Cornel Wilde is excellent as Bruce Carlton, her true love--although an unrequited one by the film's end. George Sanders does a terrific job as Charles II, spouting some of the film's wittiest dialogue and clever in his cat-and-mouse game with Amber. Richard Haydn as the Earl of Radcliffe gives perhaps the most interesting performance in the entire film, particularly during the fire sequences. The London fire is staged with authority, as are the scenes involving the Black Plague. David Raksin's musical background is a sumptuous, richly textured score (now available on CD from Marco Polo records). A film full of rich details under Otto Preminger's direction--but not as strong because of censorship restrictions and the inability to tell the story the way Windsor wrote it. The ending is entirely too abrupt in the video print with the original lengthier ending missing for some reason. Fans of Linda Darnell and Cornel Wilde will especially like this one.
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