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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>
Memories differ as to how long Peggy Cummuns filmed on the feature: "Look" magazine claimed it was 39 days, Philip Dunne recalled it was 6 to 10 days while Vincent Price said it was 2 months. The February 1989 edition of "Films in Review" asserts that because of the large number of production stills were taken, Price's estimate is the most plausible. 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?
See more »
Story takes place in 1660 England. Strong willed 16 year old Amber St. Clair (Linda Darnell) falls in love with bland Bruce Carlton (Cornel Wilde). She follows him to England but he doesn't love her. So Amber decides to become rich and powerful no matter what.
The book this was based on was a HUGE bestseller in the 1940s. It was (for its time) a racy book that makes it clear that Amber sleeps her way to the top. Also the book was historically accurate and (even at 800+ pages) a fascinating read. 20th Century Fox took the book, jettisoned all the racy stuff (more or less) and spent great care and no expense in bringing this to the screen. It's in beautiful color with gorgeous costumes and sets. Sure, there are plot holes and bad acting but this is never dull and speeds along. Even at 140 minutes it didn't seem too long.
Darnell is beautiful and pretty good in the lead. George Sanders matches her playing Charles II. He's clearly enjoying himself. Richard Greene is good also popping up as a friend of Ambers. However Wilde is pretty bad as Carlton--you keep wondering what Amber sees in him. The silly wig he wears doesn't do him any favors. It's kind of funny to realize this was considered pretty dirty back in 1947. It wouldn't raise an eyebrow today and, as it is, the movie never makes it clear that Amber is sleeping around.
So it's colorful, elaborate and well worth catching. The book was better but this is easier than reading it! An 8.
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