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The Wicked Lady (1983) Poster

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Faye Dunaway turned down a role of Regan in a British television production of King Lear (1983) starring Laurence Olivier to be in this movie.
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Reportedly, Faye Dunaway had fifty hand-made silk dresses imported from France and Italy to wear as costumes in this movie.
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This movie is notable for a whip-fight between two women, which was not in the original novel but was already in the 1945 version. The scene caused a controversy, as the British Board of Film Classification wanted to impose a cut, and director Michael Winner refused to cut the notorious sequence, lobbying with such fellow director colleagues as Lindsay Anderson, Karel Reisz and John Schlesinger as well as novelist Kingsley Amis to defend retention of the scene. The scene stayed, but the film's release was delayed.
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Second of a number of pictures in the 1980s made for Cannon Films by director Michael Winner.
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Some of the silk on the 17th century silk dresses worn by Faye Dunaway was so delicate and fragile that it had to be mounted on other fabrics so as to protect and preserve it.
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Director Michael Winner once said how he wanted to make this film ever since he was a boy and saw the original The Wicked Lady (1945). He felt the original film deserved better, as it suffered from being studio bound, with fake trees and painted backdrops.
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This movie screened out of competition at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival. Menahem Golan once said of this: "There was a dispute in Cannes that year. They appointed me as a judge in the festival and then, out of the blue, informed me that they had invited someone else instead of me. I sued them, and to settle it, they agreed to screen The Wicked Lady (1983) in the competition. But it wasn't worth much because the film wasn't good."
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This was the debut feature film score for composer Tony Banks, who is best known as the keyboardist of the rock band Genesis.
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This movie is based on the true story of highway-woman Lady Kathleen Ferrers. The Wicked Lady lived at the Markyate Cell manor in the village of Markyate which was near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. The name Lady Kathleen Ferrers was changed to Barbara Skelton for the novel written by Magdalen King-Hall. This book was adapted for both this film and the earlier version The Wicked Lady (1945).
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John Walker in 'The Film Year Book Volume Two' described John Gielgud in this movie as "wearing a modified Harpo Marx wig . . . ".
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This is one of few movies in film history where a highwayman has been a woman i.e. a highway-woman.
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'Rating the Movies' described this movie as a "send-up of the original" The Wicked Lady (1945).
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Director Lindsay Anderson once described this picture as being "A first-class piece of popular entertainment."
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Faye Dunaway once joked about a sequel to this movie to be entitled 'Daughter of Wicked Lady' where she would reprise the role of Lady Barbara Skelton, playing a the character older, more matured and mentoring a wicked daughter.
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Halliwell's Film Guide wrote of this movie's controversial whip-fight sequence: "The fight owed much to a similar scene in Idol of Paris (1948) directed by Leslie Arliss in 1948." Arliss directed The Wicked Lady (1945), which featured already a whip-fight, and co-wrote this remake. That reference was dropped since Halliwell's 2nd edition.
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Despite above the title billing and being second on the cast list, Alan Bates does not turn up until 40 minutes into the film.
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Playing a male highwayman in this movie, Faye Dunaway's performance in these scenes can actually be considered "drag".
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Gregory Peck was asked to play Capt. Jerry Jackson but shunned the project because he thought the script was "dire".
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The film cast two Oscar winners: Faye Dunaway and John Gielgud; and two Oscar nominees: Alan Bates and Denholm Elliott.
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Movie debut of actress Marina Sirtis who would go on to play Counsellor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
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The actor Mark Burns appeared in the film as King Charles II, but during the filming Michael Winner could not afford to pay him even the Equity union minimum fee. Burns told him to make a donation to the Police Memorial Trust, which was run by Winner. Years later when Burns appeared at a magistrates court on a charge of speeding, Winner, appearing as a character witness, told the bench that the actor had given "his entire fee" for a major film to the fund and Burns was subsequently discharged.[
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According to Marina Sirtis, right before filming her whipping scene, Michael Winner cut her costume off with a pair of scissors and told her to get on with it.
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In the documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014), Marina Sirtis said that she saw this film as Michael Winner's way of climbing the ladder of respectability as a director. She felt that by putting naked women in the film, he sabotaged his own production.
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