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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
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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