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Interesting Look At The Political Intrigues Of The Tudor Court
sddavis6327 February 2002
For anyone interested in the history of England's Tudor dynasty, this is definitely a must-see film. The most famous of the Tudors are King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, but this film offers up a look at the intrigues within the court in the period between Henry's death and Elizabeth's accession, as Catholic Princess Mary strives to gain the throne after the death of her Protestant brother King Edward VI. The religious divisions caused by Henry VIII's embrace of the Reformation are well documented and believably portrayed.

Helena Bonham Carter plays the title role - Lady Jane Grey - cousin of the young King Edward and a fanatical Protestant who is manouvered into taking the throne after Edward's death at the age of 15. Jane - also 15 - is at first overwhelmed by the thought of being Queen, but then embraces the throne. Her immaturity, however, and wilfullness (not surprisingly for a 15 year old) get the better of her and lead to her downfall after only nine days on the throne, and Mary's accession. Carter was excellent in this role. Cary Elwes also offered up a strong performance as Guilford Dudley, whom Jane is forced to marry against her will, but whom she falls passionately in love with. The supporting cast included performances - all of them quite good - by Sara Kestelman as Jane's mother Frances, Patrick Stewart as her father Henry, John Wood as the Duke of Northumberland (Guilford's father), Warren Saire as the young King Edward, and - playing this role absolutely perfectly - Michael Hordern as Dr. Feckenham, confessor to Princess Mary. In fact, there really wasn't a sub-par performance in this movie.

It isn't perfect, mind you. It's a little bit too long, and I found myself, particularly in the last hour or so, wondering when it would end. Some of the history is questionable. Many historians think that neither Jane nor Edward were as innocent in the plot to keep Mary from the throne as the movie portrays them, and the love story between Jane and Guilford is, as I understand it, largely fictional. But the basics are quite correct, the behind the scenes plotting believably portrayed and the religious struggle of the time absolutely authentic. It's well worth watching this movie if you are interested in this period of English history.

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Cheesy as it sounds, I laughed, I cried, and I was awed.
trepidatio29 October 2002
The first thing to love about this movie is how good it is at being a historical drama. It opens by telling you what has come before, and the ending is made even more poignant (if that is possible) by knowing what will come after. In between, it stays far more authentic than many "historical" movies ever bother to with little apparent effort. This ease is due not only to the gripping bit of history being told, but to the superb acting by all the major players.

While none of the performances are bad, or even mediocre, some bits manage to shine even brighter. Jane Lapotaire as Princess Mary is wonderfully haunted by longing and desperation behind the strong, poised front. Patrick Stewart shows us ever so briefly that his Henry Grey is not only a cold-hearted conspirator and dominating patriarch, but a father who desperate needs to make things right for his little girl. Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes play superbly off each other as Lady Jane Grey and Guilford Dudley, bringing out nuances in each other's performance that cement the core of this beautiful story.
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Very memorable
gweniviere9 May 2002
This is one of those movies where after you turn it off, it sticks with you. The acting is exquisite and the whole movie is executed with sensitivity. After watching it, I felt like I had to know more about Lady Jane Grey's real story. The truth, as the history books tell it, isn't quite as pretty or romantic as the movie made it seem, but other than that it is very historically accurate as most period piece movies go. I would strongly recommend this film (10 stars!) and would see it over again.
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Beautiful and Moving
wildebeest-213 April 2001
It's hard for me to be objective about this film as I find both the main actors so divine, but I thought the portrayal of the developing romance extremely moving, by the time the film ended I was sobbing, and I say that about almost NO movie.

The cinematography was stunning, both indoor and outdoor shots were beautifully visualised and captured. The sets and costumes also were extremely well done.
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The most romantic period movie ever made
belinda_au12 June 2007
This is definitely a tissue box movie girls, so keep a full box handy.

I first met this young couple, Lady Jane and Guildford, in 1990 and watched it over and over until I had my favourite quotes down pat, like all those mentioned on this site.

The music and drama draw you into the movie, from the opening scenes with the pounding horse hooves to the passion and love found in the closing scenes.

Seeing the movie 15 years later renewed old emotions, dreams and memories of the past. I've encouraged friends to watch it with me, including my new husband! He won't admit it, but even for a period movie, he enjoyed it. He also enjoyed teasing me when I was blowing my nose through the final scenes. I cry every time! It's such a touching and inspirational movie, of the excitement of first love, family torment, and just wanting to experience life and make a difference.

I highly recommend this movie, it has something in it for everyone.
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Historical and yet not for History Buffs
Tim Ewing5 May 2002
"The next time I see your face, I want it for eternity." If you know much at all about Lady Jane Grey and her unfortunate marriage to Guildford Dudley, you must know this cannot at all be what she said to him as they were parted for the last time. Yet the story branches away from the historical aspects of Jane's life and builds up a romance completely created in the minds of the writers, who have done an excellent job. In the beginning, the scene at Bradgate in Leicester, with the dance for the King, is extremely well shot. The plot thickens between the cunning Earl of Northumberland and the cold, greedy Duchess of Suffolk, while Jane argues theology with the Catholic doctor. Comparing this with history, I believe this was also very well written; from what I've read on Jane Grey (I have done extensive Tudor period research) I know she was very Protestant and, unlike the later Queen Elizabeth, very willing to argue on the topic of religion. Perhaps my favorite scene in the entire movie is the one where Jane goes to visit the Princess Mary. In this scene the Renaissance class system is extremely well depicted. The outwardly friendly but rather sneaky nature the Princess' maid (I believe that is Lady Anne Wharton) conducts herself shows the "subservience of the lesser nobility"; the proud way Jane speaks to the maid shows what the upper nobility could do; and then the regal, majestic, icy cold way the Princess Mary enters the room and "embraces" her second-cousin is the perfect example of a Princess of two royal bloodlines. Later, the love that blooms between Guildford and Jane will, without a doubt, sweep you off your feet. If you've ever been in love, I guarantee you'll relive some fond memories there. Overall, an excellent movie and highly recommended.
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4 stars
Forbes-321 February 1999
I first saw this movie in 88 on cable, and have seen it numerous times since. I never tire of watching it. It was the first Elwes movie I saw, and was so moved by his performance, that I have become a dedicated fan of his since. Although in real life Jane and Gilford never loved each other, the on screen love story is very moving. Lady Jane is an excellent, yet, overlooked, piece of work, and I highly recommend it.
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God is in the details
Sophie-33 August 2001
It's difficult to know how to take a film that begins with a history lesson (to the self-important sound of a beating drum, no less) and ends with a quote from Plato. Between the two is a narrative that wants to be both a conventional love story and an unconventional period film. It doesn't quite succeed at either, but for viewers of LADY JANE, the pleasure is in the details, and there are plenty of those.

To first dispense with the glaring historical inaccuracy that lies at the film's center, Lady Jane Grey, the Nine-Day Queen of England in 1553, did not in truth have a passionate love match in her husband, Guilford Dudley. Theirs was an arranged marriage, highly political in nature and masterminded by Dudley's ambitious father, the Duke of Northumberland. In reality, Jane resented and distrusted her husband, who was a spoiled and rather empty-headed young man with none of the high intellectual achievement so prominent in Jane.

For the second dispensation, Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Jane, is still unskilled at acting in this, her first role. She can furrow her brow with admirable dexterity to denote every emotion from confusion to embarrassment to sexual fulfillment, but there's little evidence of much going on behind, in the furrows of an actor's brain. However, since those afore-mentioned details surround her, it becomes fairly easy for a more demanding audience to overlook her callowness.

Now for the details, beginning with everyone else in the cast. Has John Wood ever utilised his supercilious half-smile to better advantage? As Northumberland, he's perfect - driven by the need to consolidate his power when Jane's cousin Edward VI falls into a fatal illness, he conceives a scheme that will require relentless control over nearly everyone at court. While his fellow ministers, all burly toughs, inevitably knuckle under to his combination of silken flattery and outright threats, he's thwarted by two seemingly weak women - Jane and Mary Tudor (played with real grit and bitterness by Jane Lapotaire). It's a tossup whether Wood is better at the threats or at two points of emotional breakdown - one, when he must cast the die and order the agonising prolongation of Edward's death to complete his plans, or when, mud-pelted and dishevelled following his defeat by Mary's army, he ends up in the Tower, where all he can offer to his sons and followers is a weary, `I'm sorry.' It's the rare film where Wood's comic instincts don't get the better of his serious performance - this is one of them.

As Jane's equally controlling parents, Patrick Stewart and Sara Kestelman are almost as good. Stewart's character, the Duke of Suffolk, isn't a bright man, but his pursuit of his ambitions never quite overrides his notion of family honor, and this keeps him sympathetic, as all the supposed villains of the film remain. That's another of the details that deserves cherishing - the refusal to go for simplistic characters. Stewart is especially good when he throws all caution to the wind and raises an army to rescue his daughter, overriding even the objections of his formidable wife.

Other details are in the costuming, the suitably squalid tavern and brothel scenes, the bit where the aristocratic Kestelman chows down on her dinner, gnawing on a greasy chop and wiping her mouth with her sleeve, and the achingly beautiful winter deer hunt that runs under the opening credits. All this and more make up for a downbeat ending and a central failure to come up with a satisfying examination of that most enigmatic of queens, Lady Jane Grey.
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Wonderful Film!
spot_n_race_goil16 October 2002
I had to watch this movie for a British History course, and I was fully expecting to be bored during the entire thing, but I was so pleasantly suprised! This was a great movie - great acting, directing, plot, settings, etc. And apparently it's a great movie to watch to get a feel for that period in England, 'cause my professor made us watch it. I would definitely recommend this movie to anybody who has ever watched and enjoyed any period drama before!
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Moving tale of love and betrayal
burningviolin25 December 2001
Although it has been more than a decade since I saw Lady Jane, I remember that it moved me greatly. The ambiance and characters are fully developed. Helen Bonham Carter was quite young, perfect for the role, and turned out to be quite a revelation. I saw the film in Madrid. I'll never forget the sight of a middle aged Spaniard (male) in the audience weeping at the conclusion. (The Spanish nobility were the "bad guys" of this drama).
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The Nine Days Wonder
James Hitchcock3 September 2012
Lady Jane Grey, the "Nine Days' Wonder", is a controversial figure in English history, one of a small group of English "monarchs" whose right to that title is accepted by some historians and denied by others. (Others include Queen Matilda, King Louis and King Philip, the husband of Jane's nemesis Queen Mary I). To some, mostly Protestants, she is Queen Jane, the rightful Queen of England for the nine days between 10th and 19th July 1553. To others, mostly Catholics, Mary was rightfully Queen from the death of her half-brother Edward VI and Jane a mere usurper.

Legally, in fact, the position was complicated. Mary, like her sister Elizabeth, had been declared a bastard by their father Henry VIII. Towards the end of his life, however, Henry had passed the Third Succession Act, which restored his daughters to the line of succession without formally legitimising them. Edward, as he lay dying, had executed a will excluding Mary and Elizabeth from the succession and naming his cousin Jane as his successor, although, because this will had not yet been ratified by Parliament at the time of his death, Mary's supporters argued that it carried less weight than Henry's Act. Jane was proclaimed Queen by the Privy Council, who then promptly abandoned her when they realised that Mary enjoyed more popular support and that attempts to prevent her accession were doomed to failure.

"Lady Jane" was the third British film about Jane's life after a silent version from the 1920s and "Tudor Rose" from 1936, neither of which I have seen. It was made in 1986, during the "Thatcher Years", to a script by the well-known left-wing playwright David Edgar, so it is perhaps unsurprising that it is essentially Tudor history rewritten to suit the Guardian-reading classes of the 1980s. It is a curious mixture of costume drama and political tract, of fact and fiction. It follows the essential outlines of Lady Jane's story but contains two major divergences from historical fact.

The first of these concerns the relationship between Jane and her husband Lord Guilford Dudley. At first Edgar paints them as they are portrayed in most history books- Jane as intellectually precocious, scholarly and devoutly religious, Guilford as a debauched young man more interested in frequenting taverns and whorehouses than in reading Plato. Both are initially reluctant to marry and have to be coerced by their parents, who see the match as politically and financially advantageous. In the film, however, Jane and Guilford quickly fall deeply in love, although the historical evidence suggests that they disliked one another intensely throughout their marriage.

Edgar's second major divergence from history is his attempt to introduce twentieth-century politics into the period. During their brief reign Jane and Guilford are so shocked by the poverty of their subjects that they introduce a reformist political agenda- distribution of land among the peasantry, state-funded relief of poverty, universal free education based upon progressive principles and the abolition of corporal punishment. At times I thought I was watching an alternate history fantasy about how England, under the enlightened rule of Queen Jane the Good, became the world's first socialist welfare state nearly four centuries before such ideas caught on in the rest of the world. In the film it is this reformist agenda, as much as any popular support for Mary, which causes Jane's Council to abandon her cause, her Councillors all being wealthy Establishment figures with much to lose from such socio-economic reforms. Also, Mary's determination to marry Philip of Spain was due more to political considerations than to romantic love, and Thomas Wyatt's rebellion did not aim to restore Jane to the throne. (By 1554 England's Protestants had turned to Elizabeth as their champion).

And yet, despite Edgar's tendentious distortion of history, this was a film which I enjoyed in many ways. The love story of Jane and Guilford, however ahistorical it might be, was touchingly handled. Helena Bonham Carter, in her second major film role, was not as good as she had been in "A Room with a View" the previous year, making Jane perhaps rather too priggish. Cary Elwes, however, is good, playing as Guilford as that familiar figure from coming-of-age dramas, the truculent, rebellious teenager who matures into a sensitive, caring young man when he finds true love. Jane Lapotaire is also good as Queen Mary, making her more sympathetic than one would expect given her popular reputation as the tyrannical "Bloody Mary". It is a far more subtle portrayal of the Queen than Kathy Burke's demented fishwife in "Elizabeth". Other good performances come from Patrick Stewart and Sara Kestelman as Jane's overbearing parents, John Wood as her devious, scheming father-in-law the Duke of Northumberland, Warren Saire as the tormented King Edward and Michael Hordern as Doctor Feckenham, the elderly Catholic theologian who vainly tries to convert Jane to his faith. (Despite Edgar's modernising agenda, he does not try to hide the religious controversies of the period, with Jane's fervent Protestantism and Mary's equally fervent Catholicism much to the fore).

The film was directed by Trevor Nunn, best-known as a stage and television director. It is one of only three feature films he has made, the others being adaptations of Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" and Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night". Yet on the basis of this film and "Twelfth Night" (I have never seen "Hedda") it seems a pity that he has not worked more in the cinema. Here he handles his material well, the story moves fluently and there are a number of memorable scenes. I was particularly struck by the one where Jane and Guilford announce their wishes for the country, with each wish smashing a wine-glass with the exclamation "Then it is done!" Even though it might tell us more about the 1980s than the 1550s, "Lady Jane" is still a very watchable historical romance-drama. 7/10
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The Making of a Love Affair
klangfordj24 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
An avid reader, at fourteen I viewed Lady Jane and was immediately hooked on historical fiction and all things period and/or international. At the time I had no idea who Cary Elwes and Helena Bonham-Carter were, let alone the Tudors. Eighteen years later I still remember this moving film. The issues of making the world a better place, arranged marriage, consequences of religion or faith, political manipulation, minding your parents, and (let's face it) girls wanting to wear big fancy dresses are still relevant. I highly recommend this movie, but have started to consider my Rennie status. Should we really be excited about upcoming faires where we may be emulating political figures who did some very awful things? If I had not been home sick that day from school and had a mother who rented the video for me to keep me occupied (a new novelty in our house at that time), I might not have been intrigued and motivated to study history, enter the world of creative anachronism, and then question my assumed romantic vision of the Renaissance.

Bring on more period pieces..
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Inaccurate, but excellent
sbojo324 January 1999
I had to watch this movie; I was doing a report on Lady Jane Grey, and typically when you're forced to watch a school-related movie, it's not a pleasurable experience. But I truly enjoyed this movie. I liked the love story, and I cried at the end. It was a moving, emotional, picture. I've learned of the inaccuracies, but it was worth it to create this movie.
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Tudor Romance
bkoganbing12 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
To see the real story of where Lady Jane Grey's tragic life had it start one might look at the Disney film, The Sword and the Rose. In that one, soldier of fortune Charles Brandon (Richard Todd) wooed and won Henry VIII's sister Mary (Glynis Johns). Their grand daughter was Lady Jane Grey who for a brief nine days was recognized by some as the Queen of England.

Jane Grey (1537-1554) was a quiet, learned, and pious young woman who was a pawn in a power play by the Duke of Northumberland played by John Wood. The minor King Edward VI was a sickly lad who inherited the throne from his father Henry VIII. His original guardians were his uncles Thomas and Edward Seymour, but they got to quarreling and both eventually made it to the executioner's block. In fact Lady Jane Grey opens with Edward Seymour's execution and the Duke of Northumberland assuming guardianship.

But he knows he's got a sickly dying king and to preserve the newly formed Anglican church that will go by the boards if the Catholic Mary Tudor inherits the throne, he needs a Protestant on the throne. Of course he wants to insure his own dominance.

To do that he and Jane's parents get an arranged marriage with his youngest son, Guilford Dudley who mostly is interested in sampling the fleshpots of whatever town he's in. Still he's a handsome bloke if I do say so.

Lady Jane gives you the politics, but concentrates on a legendary romance that actually developed out of this arranged marriage. Cary Elwes as Guilford and Helena Bonham Carter as Jane are one appealing pair. They may or may not have been that taken with each other as presented here, but why let that get in the way of an appealing story.

By all accounts John Wood as the Duke of Northumberland was as big an intriguer and egomaniac as presented here. Allegedly he had one overbearing personality and the royal council went to the Catholic Mary rather than deal with him any longer. A lot of them had reason to regret that shortly.

Sara Kestelman and Patrick Stewart are Jane's parents, a pair of greedy rogues if there ever were. Stewart gets his just desserts, but Kestelman as Frances if anything was downplayed. She actually gave up her place in the line of succession for her daughter because between all of them, they thought they could control Jane and Guilford. By all accounts she was one malignant witch of a woman who actually survived it all.

The most touching performance here is young Warren Saire as the terminally ill Edward VI. The kid who changed places with a doppleganger beggar boy did not have a happy reign while he was in his minority. He so wanted to live and secure a Tudor succession.

Lady Jane isn't accurate history, but it's still a fine film with a good cast and thoroughly enjoyable.
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Well done on the whole
TheLittleSongbird20 November 2014
Lady Jane had much going for it, including a talented cast, that it had Trevor Nunn directing and that it was covering an interesting but not-quite-as-well-known part of Tudor history. And while it has its imperfections it is more than worthwhile. Some of the first part of the film is sluggishly paced, the film is often over-scored in both a bombastic and syrupy way(though also with some lovely moments) and a lot of the supporting roles are written in a stock way(ie. Duke of Northumberland, as untrustworthy as the man was I'm not sure whether he was quite the scheming villain that the film made him out to be, could be wrong though). There is also one unbelievable scene which was when Jane swore that her husband would never be given the title of king, that would have made sense if the film had maintained that Jane and Guildford hated each other but instead it makes them madly in love which was rather conflicting.

However, there is much to recommend. If you're wondering how accurate Lady Jane is to history, in places it does play fast and loose(the romance being the biggest one) but most of the time it is accurate(especially with Jane's execution), at least it didn't feel grossly distorted and gratuitous like Henry VIII with Ray Winstone did. First off, Lady Jane is incredibly well-made, the costumes, sets and scenery are colourful and immaculate in detail(perhaps too much so at times), the lighting is dynamic and the photography is beautiful. The script doesn't do as good a job with developing the supporting roles but does a wonderful job with Jane, who goes through several character stages. The dialogue is thoughtful and avoids being too mawkish. The story is compellingly told and plausible on the whole, despite a few pacing lulls and that one conflict in the central romance, there's plenty to be entertained by and the ending is truly emotional. The romance is not 100% believable and has an 1980s feel at times, but it was also rather touching and the chemistry between Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes smolders. Trevor Nunn directs beautifully, and Lady Jane is very well cast and acted. Helena Bonham Carter is both sexy and fiery but in the later parts she's heartfelt as well, while Cary Elwes is similarly excellent. John Wood's Northumberland is one of his serious roles and he does great at being sinister and Patrick Stewart plays a scheming, cold-hearted character menacingly and movingly. Jane Lapotaire is a haunting Mary and Michael Hordern and Sara Kestelman's performances are fine too.

In conclusion, imperfect but well done. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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Interesting Costumer describes the turbulent and brief ascension to the throne of Lady Jane Grey and Guilford Dudley
ma-cortes30 September 2013
A dramatization of Lady Jane Grey's short life ,as the death of King Henry VIII throws his kingdom into chaos because of succession disputes . It deals with Jane Grey (a very young Helena Bonham Carter) from her forced marriage , which she resisted at the beginning , though after falling in love for Guilford Dudley (Gary Elwes, director Trevor Nunn personally chose him to star this role , Nunn later offered Elwes to join the Royal Shakespeare Company) to her brief reign as monarch of England , his early downfall and finally , to her ultimate beheading . The film portrays her as an innocent set up for the slaughter while the scheming courtiers and pretenders to the throne barely pay her mind, as they stab each other in the back in their attempts to gain power and influence . Anxious to keep England true to the Anglican Reformation, a scheming minister John Dudley , the Duke of Nothumberland (John Wood) marries off his son to Lady Jane Grey, whom he places on the throne after Edward VI dies . Thomas Wyatt was the leader of the rebellion, proclaiming her Queen of England , her father, Henry, was a part of this rebellion. But all of them cannot withstand the course of power which will lead to their definitive fall . In 1553, Lady Jane Grey ruled the throne in Britain for just nine days. Jane was imprisoned along with Guilford ; in reality, Lady Jane and Guilford Dudley barely knew each other and were not together during their imprisonment . She was aged sixteen years when she was the Queen of England . She was the Grand Niece of King Henry VIII. Jane Grey is rarely referred to as Queen Jane and is more commonly known as Lady Jane .

This is a correct portrayal about political intrigue , lovers and war during Edward VI , Henry VIII's weak son , is on his deathbed . As are splendidly recreated intrigues , treason , turmoil and power fight of its time , including the troublesome days and machinations surrounding . It deals with a wonderful love story between Lady Jane Grey and Lord Guilford ; at first hostile to each other, but later they fall in love . It's magnificently captured by marvelous sets , splendid production design and glamorous gowns . This elaborate , colorful costumer drama packs outstanding performances from an extraordinary support cast . As the film was cast with several members of the Royal Shakespeare Company . These included prestigious players as John Wood, Michael Hordern, Patrick Stewart, Sara Kestelman, writer David Edgar, and the film's director, Trevor Nunn, who was also the Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company . This was the third filmed for the cinema version of the Lady Jane story . The tale had been filmed twice before for the big screen, the most recent at the time was half a century earlier in 1936, as The Tudor Rose , and before that, the first time in 1923, about sixty-three years earlier, as Lady Jane Grey ; or, The Court of Intrigue.

Colorful as well as glowing cinematography , being final British film shot by veteran English cinematographer Douglas Slocombe , the picture was also the penultimate film overall lensed by Slocombe, whose final film was Indiana Jones and the last crusade about three years later . Evocative musical score plenty of chores , lyrics and Baroque music , being the only ever cinema film score composed by music composer Stephen Oliver whose work was mostly in television. The motion picture was well directed by Trevor Nunn . This was first theatrical film for director Trevor in eleven years , the last had been Hedda in 1975 and the third and final was Twelfth Night or What You Will ; all three pictures are costume period films.
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A Superb Cast, Brilliantly Directed
The practiced craft of UK drama shines brightly in "Lady Jane," made when Helena Bonham Carter was barely 20 and able easily to pass for the teenage Lady Jane. Nearly every role in this film is filled by a seasoned veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and it is directed by Trevor Nunn, one of the most celebrated of the RSC's directors. Bonham Carter and Patrick Stewart are well known to American audiences but John Wood, Michael Hordern and others, though justifiably famous in the U.K., are much less celebrated on this side of the Atlantic. More's the pity because, unlike many American stars, they play the character; the characters are not arranged to suit their mannerisms. Unlike other dramas depicting the tumultuous period reigned over by the House of Tudor, "Lady Jane" has a fanciful script which makes Lady Jane into a dedicated reformer who falls quickly in love with the young man she is forced to marry, and their personal tragedy is elevated into something grander than it really was. Lady Jane, in real life, was "a brief candle" quickly extinguished in the struggle between the Catholic Church in the person of her cousin Mary, Henry VIII's eldest daughter, and the Church of England which subsequently triumphed when Elizabeth, Henry VIII's younger daughter, succeeded Mary as queen. Elizabeth is never seen in this film and more is made of the "love affair" between Lady Jane and her consort than of the intrigues which were at the center of this episode in British history. A film truer to the facts might (or might not) have been a better film -- but it would have given us less of Helena Bonham Carter, already near the peak of her beauty and her power as an actress.
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Sympathetic portrait of the Tudor Era's brief tragic queen
roghache5 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I love these historical Tudor dramas, such as the earlier Mary Queen of Scots with Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson. However, I confess that I caught this one on television and missed a few parts. Unfortunately, I'm not an expert either on the history of its title character, nicknamed the Nine Days Queen, so am going somewhat by others' comments on the historical accuracy.

The film chronicles the succession chaos following the death of Henry VIII. When the new king, Henry's sickly teenage son, Edward VI is dying, a scheming minister, John Dudley (Duke of Northumberland), concocts a scheme to ensure a Protestant succession by marrying off his own son, Guildford, to the young king's royal cousin, Lady Jane Grey, a devout Protestant. Lady Jane is merely a pawn forced by her parents to acquiesce to this arranged marriage and claim to the throne. Although at first she detests her new husband, as time passes, the couple fall passionately in love. However, all is not well. Henry VIII's daughter, Mary, claims the crown for herself and must therefore eliminate the young usurper, resulting in the execution of both Jane and Guildford.

This is an interesting tale of Tudor court intrigue, with the period costumes, castles, and scenes all beautifully done.

Helena Bonham Carter, a very young actress herself, brings a sympathetic portrayal of the 15 year old bookish, devout Lady Jane, coerced by her parents into an unwanted marriage. Also, this young queen's willingness to sacrifice her life rather than renounce her faith (if this is indeed historical) serves as an inspiration for us all. Patrick Stewart is particularly forceful (as always) in his role as Jane's domineering father, Henry Grey, who eventually springs to his daughter's defense by leading a rebellion on her behalf.

My problem lies mainly with the historical accuracy. If there is no evidence of true love existing between Jane and Guildford Dudley, it isn't acceptable to simply concoct a sort of Romeo and Juliet type romance out of the story, in order to keep audiences entertained. Perhaps a bit of dramatic license is tolerable with historical figures, but not to this extent. I remember being quite touched by Jane's genuine friendship with her cousin, the sickly young King Edward, which is perhaps more historically based.

Lady Jane's claim to the throne was indeed a weak one, and the crown went to Henry VIII's closer kin, his two daughters, first Mary and then Elizabeth. Mary was his older Catholic daughter by his divorced first wife, Katherine of Aragon. This tragic, much maligned figure, who came to be known as Bloody Mary, was poorly treated by both her father and her husband, Philip of Spain, with whom she failed to produce an heir. Elizabeth, Henry's younger Protestant daughter and offspring of his second wife (Anne Boleyn), enjoyed a long reign as Elizabeth I. Lady Jane Grey's story is indeed a tragic one, but she was merely Henry VIII's great niece, a much more distant relative than his daughters.
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Carter and Elwes shine.
CLW20 November 1998
This film beautifully demonstrates the abilities of both Carter and Elwes. I enjoyed the delicate love-story involved, however historically innacurate it may be.
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wonderful film
badgerrah8 September 2001
I first saw Lady Jane by accident on cable. Since then, I have watched it many times. The costumes, scenery and dialogue are all first rate. After visiting London (and its Tower) twice, I wanted to see it again and again. The historical inaccuracies are noted, but the historical representation of the Reformation and the Monarchy make this worth showing in every history class! Jane's true faith, her ability to express it, her intense love for her young husband and her quest for justice make this movie worth watching again and again. I recommend this movie, especially if you love English and/or Reformation history.
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A movie that moves to educate
RayeRaye3 November 1998
Following my first viewing of LADY JANE(1986), I was moved to further

educate myself on the actual Lady Jane Grey, former and brief Queen of England, during the turbulent period of the English Monarchy during

the 1500's. The main characters, Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes brilliantly portrayed an innocent carefree love that is often shared by two young people. The love story, although slightly altered for

cinematic purposes, is beautiful and heart wrenching. This, plus the

fine acting in general, fantastic scenery and costuming, provides for an

excellent period movie. However, it would not be exactly fair to

classify this as a period movie; its story of faith, strength, courage

and love, is pure and timeless.
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interesting but overly sentimental
earthward1 May 2005
Interesting historically and visually impressive but I found it too slow and sentimental.

A number of scenes could have been left out or shortened considerably. It seems like the writers conjured the romance between the leads (which wasn't historically accurate) to make the movie more palatable to audiences. But most of the love scenes were dull and dragged on way to long.

A lot of the historical detail was observed so it's worth seeing if you're interested in the history and don't mind fast-forwarding through the cheesy bits.
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This movie lifted my mind and soul to new heights
thrillcats16 January 2004
I saw Lady Jane when I was about 18 and fell in love with it (and with Cary Elwes). Jane is such an inspiration. She gave up her life for her beliefs. who does that anymore? I love the quote "the soul takes flight to the world that is invisible..." There are so many things I love about this movie. I judge how good a movie is by the impact it has on me.Sometimes I leave the theater and can't even remember the plot.

THIS movie changed my life, for the better. Lady Jane is unique and wonderfully produced, acted and edited.
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Angela L30 May 2001
the story is absolutely wonderful. i recently went to Tower of London in England, and there I saw where the actual Lady Jane was beheaded. And also, where Guildford (so they say) engraved the name of Jane. I loved the movie because it was simple, romantic and historical.

Full of sorrow and mystery, it makes me want to watch it again or go back to Tower of London to see the marks left behind.
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A greatly moving story of a love doomed by the system
TLHarlot28 December 1998
Lady Jane, from the symbolic hunt of the buck and doe at the beginning to the noble end is a great story, which everyone could enjoy, if they'd only discover it. It is engaging, poignant, dramatic and well worth watching. It's pace is steady and fated, and its characters portrayed deftly by actors on the cusp of their stardom.
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