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Robert Walker Jr.
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Film critic Pauline Kael once said of this movie featuring the Lord Byron character that "the film seems to have been made by a square Ken Russell". About thirteen years later, Russell actually directed a movie based on a Lord Byron story, the film being Gothic (1986). Gabriel Byrne played Byron in that picture. See more »
ADC to Wellington:
[Caroline has just slashed her wrists]
Good God, your Grace! She just tried to kill herself!
Duke of Wellington:
Nonsense, me boy. No difficulty about killing yourself, if you really mean to.
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I gave the movie an 8 out of 10 stars--because I thought the actors gave convincing portrayals of a drug-addled Caroline Lamb, and an ambitious William Lamb 2nd Viscount Melbourne, and an equally ambitious mother of William Lamb. Without seeing Lady Caroline Lamb as one addicted to laudanum, the viewer misses an important part of the Sarah Miles portrayal; I was convinced from the acting and make up that Lady Caroline was addicted and emotionally disturbed--the cropped hair, the pale--wan look, the bugged eyes. Lord Byron, played by Richard Chamberlain came across as the cad Byron was in real life. The other actors more than fulfilled their contract and gave exemplary performances.
As always, anything from Hollywood and its environs in England or Italy or Germany, etc. is to be suspect. The business of Hollywood is to tell a story, not to describe history. Apparently Lady Caroline Lamb died at the early age of 43 (in January 1828) of influenza-- the dramatic collapse of Lady Caroline is just that--drama. The viewer can readily conclude from the movie that addiction to laudanum severely compromised her health. One turns to books to verify the information in the movie.
The movie portrays William Lamb as long suffering with an unstable and unfaithful wife--where in reality, William Lamb himself was no slouch in the infidelity department. William Lamb did not become Lord Melbourne till his Father's death in 1828-- after Caroline had died; Melbourne did not become Prime Minister till 1834--again, years after Lady Caroline died.
The movie is available on YouTube and is worth spending the two hours it takes; like I say, I'm glad I didn't spend the $2 to see it in 1973. There were many better movies to see at that time.
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