When compulsive gambler Sir Giles Staverley has lost his estate and all his money playing dice, he realises that he only has one thing left of value: his daughter Serena. In a final game, ... See full summary »
Helena Bonham Carter
Weary of her very public life in Paris, an aging courtesan takes her orphaned niece from her convent home and relocates to Monte Carlo to begin a new life. Determined to bury the past, the ... See full summary »
This is the story of the Charles Heidsieck who opened the market for Champagne sales in America just prior to the American Civil War. He is a reluctant French spy and is captured and spends... See full summary »
Lady Caroline Faye meets Lord Vane Brecon and is attracted to him. When she finds out that he is being accused of a murder he did not commit, she sets out to prove him innocent, and takes a... See full summary »
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The film is situated in the time when Mary Shelley wrote her novel "Frankenstein". It describes the relationship between Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelley during various voyages through ... See full summary »
In 15th century England, a civil war called Wars of the Roses is being fought between two rival houses who want the throne. Fresh from battle, a knight finds his family dead. He joins the outlaws led by the Black Arrow to seek justice.
The young lady Panthea Vyne falls in love with the handsome highwayman who saves her from her brutal husband. He kills him in a fair duel. Later, when Charles the 2nd is reinstated as King of England, she attends the royal court. But here she becomes the enemy of the king's former mistress and the plot against her thickens. Written by
Lord Lucius Vyne:
There's not much time, Milord. The boat back to France will be waiting in the next cove.
King Charles II:
Lord Lucius, I am glad you persuaded me to risk coming out of exile in France to see for myself. I know now that the people are for me. They're sick of Cromwell and his Commonwealth! They want their Charles II. But you have made powerful enemies. When I am back on the throne, if you should need me, send me this.
[hands Lord Lucius his ring]
Lord Lucius Vyne:
I am honored, sire, but I fear you will have enough ...
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Although filmed in 1988, this British made-for-TV movie captures the look and feel, the melodrama and romance, even the stagy lighting, of a big-budget 1930s Hollywood swashbuckler. By 1930s standards, it is a first-rate film. By today's standard, well, that's not really a fair standard to judge it by. It lacks the scale and fancy visual effects of "Braveheart," or "Gladiator," but in its quirky old-fashioned way, it is a better movie than either of them. And it is miles better in every possible way (including historical accuracy) than the egregious BBC/A&E "Charles II" mini-series (USA title "The Last King"), set in the same time period, with many of the same characters, that was broadcast in 2004.
"The Lady and the Highwayman" is based on a Barbara Cartland romance novel, and set in Restoration England of the 1660s. Yet with a shift of locale, and a slight re-write, it could just as well be a western. Think "Zorro." Indeed it borrows lots of bits and pieces from classic westerns -- such as Hugh Grant's character jumping from atop a 30 foot wall on to the back of his horse.
"The Lady and the Highwayman" was filmed in England, using several real period castles and manor houses as locations. Both the detailed sets and the lavish costumes mesh seamlessly with the period buildings. The costume department did a great job, as much with the soldiers' uniforms, armor, and weapons, as with the courtiers' finery.
The cast is excellent, and the dialog, by Terence Feely, was well written. 28-year old Hugh Grant looks young and suave, but doesn't say a whole lot. The star is young Lysette Anthony, then 25, and she is terrific. Oliver Reed is a menacingly villainous Phillip Gage. Michael York is a dashing King Charles II.
I just saw the film on a $1 DigiView DVD sold by WalMart. It was definitely not a digital transfer -- but its graininess and off colors actually enhanced the impression of its being a 1930s film, rather than 1980s. It's no classic, but I enjoyed watching it, and I've seen plenty worse. 6/10.
For another quirky and retro view of 17th century England, check out "Winstanley" by Kevin Brownlow.
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