Lillie Langtry, trapped in a loveless marriage, takes full advantage of her beauty, attracting many lovers and admirers including the Prince of Wales and Oscar Wilde. As her husband slowly ...
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Lillie grieves over Bertie's death. Jeanne still holds the past against Lillie and refuses to see her. Prince Louis asks Jeanne to forgive him and Lillie. In New York, Lillie patronizes a dance hall ...
Lillie Langtry, trapped in a loveless marriage, takes full advantage of her beauty, attracting many lovers and admirers including the Prince of Wales and Oscar Wilde. As her husband slowly drinks himself to death, Lillie embarks upon a sensational career as a somewhat talented yet beautiful actress in Britain and the United States. Throughout her life she attracts rich and sometimes brutal lovers, endures financial ruin and scandal, yet maintains her dignity, elegance, and a certain amount of her beauty until the end of her life. Written by
Francesca Annis (Lillie Langtry) plays the mother of Joanna David (Jeanne Marie Malcolm) in the series even though she is only a year and a half her senior in real life. See more »
[Oscar Wilde is carrying a lily.]
I could only afford one bloom, and I told them it had to be the most perfect in all Covent Garden, as it was for you.
And you carried all the way here?
All the way on foot, and I hate walking. It was like a royal progress. As I passed down the Strand, I heard one pompous gentleman say loudly enough for all to hear, "There goes that bloody fool, Oscar Wilde." I bowed to him and said, "I am carrying this to Mrs. Langtry. Would you not gladly exchange places?"
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Engrossing biography of famed beauty/actress Lillie Langtry
Watching this on video it is hard to believe it dates from 1978 - it looks
as modern as today in its production values. Perhaps all there is to give
it away is the habit of using videotape only for scenes shot within the
studio, resorting to film when out of doors or on location (the very poor
quality of the film, its grain, washed out colors etc, were typical of the
stock of the time and can be jolting when sandwiched between scenes of the
impeccably crystal clear video stock).
Francesca Annis plays Lillie with grace, charm and a certain calculated
will - we rarely like her or what she does, but she is never deliberately
cruel or offensive. She is out for number one but manages to make all the
men in her menagerie feel she is devoted to their wishes. With almost a
dozen lovers under her belt in her long career, she cashes in on her beauty
when discovered in the London society of the 1870s and parlays it into the
life of the courtesan, eventually gaining prestige by going on the stage
touring America many times over. Annis amazingly plays Lillie from
adolescent tomboy through awkward young wife, self-assured celebrity and
finally doddering old age - with not a single wrong note. The make-up in
the last few episodes of both Annis and Denis Lill (Bertie)are
extraordinary. Along the way we have Jennie Linden's marvelous supporting
work as Bertie's ex and Lillie's lifelong friend, Patsy Cornwallis-West and
Peter Egan's perfect dramatization of the effete and erudite Oscar Wilde.
The sets are gorgeous and the costumes sumptuous - each one impeccably
designed. This is a most interesting and educational look at an era and the
survival of one very clever woman within its midst. One of the BBC's best
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