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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

1988? Or 1938?

6/10
Author: Euphorbia from Oregon
2 July 2005

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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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

great bodice-ripper yarn

Author: ignazia from Canada NW
19 April 2003

Get a grip you guys - this is not supposed to be great theatre. It's a fun, tongue-in-cheek adaptation of your typical bodice-ripper tale only rather better done than most (I'm thinking of the American equivalent offerings such as "Black Swan" (1942) or any of Errol Flynn's efforts). True - the transcription to DVD is about the worst I've ever seen outside of old kung-fu movies but just enjoy it for what it is - an early airing of Hugh Grant's talents with some great supporting actors. Everyone takes their part extremely well - especially Christopher Cazenove as the slimy Rudolph Vyne.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

:)

Author: leonard1 from Wisconsin, USA
24 August 2002

I loved this movie growing up, it was a lot of fun and always amusing to know you were a fan of Hugh Grant before he became famous ;) This movie was released as "SilverBlade" in Australia where I grew up and first saw it, and it wasn't until I came to the United States that I found out it had another name. So if there are any Aussies out there wondering if this is the same movie - it is - I have seen both SilverBlade and The Lady & The Highwayman and they are exactly the same.

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

If you're thinking of buying the DVD...

3/10
Author: teelbee
5 January 2003

Don't! Oh, I know it's cheap - looks like a real bargain, eh? NOT! Put the wallet down and don't throw away your money. It's not even worth the $1.25 it routinely lists for on EBAY and HALF.com.

In a decent print, this might be a fun bit of fluff. But, the DVD print is far from decent. It looks for all the world like an old re-copied and re-copied video tape. The poor video quality completely spoils the viewing experience - it's flat, muddy, blurry, and dark. I've never seen anything even remotely this bad in any retail video product, much less a DVD.

It wasn't the greatest material to begin with - the script, dialogue, and acting are a bit dodgy and *quite* stagy. Some worthwhile stars are not allowed to shine (Oliver Reed, Hugh Grant, Michael York, John Mills). However, the costumes and sets are really quite nice - pity we can't appreciate them in this release.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great fun......

Author: Estella from Weston-Super-Mare, England
18 November 1998

I first saw The Lady and The Highwayman, the year that Four Weddings And A Funeral came out. I barely knew who Hugh Grant was at the time (and at the time was not interested in Four Weddings) but I sat down to watch The Lady and The Highwayman which was on TV. I loved it, and last Christmas it aired again, so I recorded it. It's great fun. I love Emma Simms bitchy Barbara Castlemaine, and Lysette Anthonys sweet Panthea Vine, and of course Hugh Grant as the dashing Silverblade. Great fun!

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Worth every penny...and not a dime more!

2/10
Author: from United States
2 June 2005

I picked this film up on DVD at WalMart for a dollar. I figured I couldn't go wrong with a swashbuckler and an all-star cast. There was nothing wrong with the acting as it turns out either. However, the dialogue is awful, the backstory is embarrassingly clumsily handled, and the lines are so wooden that Olivier couldn't make them sparkle. The story is based on a Barabara Cartland book as it turns out, and she's famous for QUANTITY, not QUALITY. I imagine this is pretty representative of her work. Still, for a buck, it was nice to see two of the 4 Musketeers again (Oliver Reed and Michael York) plus Hugh Grant with very, very bad hair.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This is a romance-drama with tragedy , murder, passion , a love story , twisted plot and incredible ending

6/10
Author: ma-cortes
12 March 2013

Enjoyable drama based on the romance novel titled ¨The Lady and the Highwayman¨ with luxurious scenarios and spectacular production design ; where a passionate young lady in 17th-century England falling for an outlaw . Nothing too inspired here but seems to be amusing . It's an entertaining film and regency romance fans will appreciate the attention to period detail . TV adaption of the Barbara Catland historical romance finds the young lady Panthea Vyne (Lysette Anthony) falls in love with the handsome rogue nicknamed Silver Sword (Hugh Grant) , a highwayman who saves her from her cruel , wealthy husband (Ian Bannen). He kills him in a fair fencing duel . Lucius Vyne or Silver Sword is wanted for treason and the following reward : one thousand Guineas . Later, when Charles the 2nd (Michael York) is reinstated as King of England , gorgeous Panthea attends the royal court along with her uncle (Claire Bloom). But here she becomes the enemy of the king's former mistress (Emma Samms) and unfortunately is framed of killing his former husband . The rebel Lord Lucius Vyne engaged to marry her and he's sworn to protect . Trouble is, she can't marry to him, until to be solved the murder they say she committed . Lucius attempts to help him clear this accusation , but she is judged , accused and condemned for penalty death : beheading . Meanwhile , a brutal officer (Oliver Reed) hiding a number of secrets is plotting a long-awaited vengeance in a twisted finale . Naturally, such as all Barbara Catland novels there's a happy end.

This is a TV adaptation of the Barbara Catland romance novel, it displays murder , passion ,swashbuckling , twists , final surprise and consideration to period detail . Nothing too original , although regency romance buffs will value the attention to historical background . This is a costume drama that never quite goes anywhere , though results to be entertaining and fun . Wel set in a turbulent period when being executed (1649) king Charles I by beheading , took over a Republican government led Cromwell (1648-1660) , being succeeded by a royal reinstating crowned by Charles II well played by Michael York . Excellent main and secondary casting, as Oliver Reed , John Mills , Michael York as King Charles II, Claire Bloom as Lady Emma , Gareth Hunt , Ian Bannen , Christopher Cazenove , and the final film role of Gordon Jackson , Robert Morley and a very old Bernard Miles as a grumpy judge , among others .

The motion picture was professionally directed by John Hough , though with no originality . In fact , belongs to quatrain movies directed by Hough , such as 'Hazars of hearts (Helena Bonhan Carter, Marcus Gilbert)', 'A ghost in Monte Carlo (Lysette Anthony, Sarah Miles)' and the best, 'Duel of hearts (Alison Doody , Benedict Taylor , Geraldine Chaplin)'. All of them realized by the same producers (Sir Lew Grade, Albert Farnell), musician (Laurie Johnson : The avengers) , author (Barbara Catland) and similar actors . John Hough has an eclectic and overlong filmmaker career , beginning in television series (The avengers , The protectors), making Hammer movies (Twins of evil), classic terror (Legend of hell house) , average horror movies (Howling IV, American Gothic) , family fare (Return and escape to witch mountain). The flick will appeal to romantic drama enthusiasts.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Can't believe I've found it!!

Author: qcgirl from Staffordshire, England
23 October 1999

I saw this movie a year after it came out when I was ten and I haven't seen it since. I could only remember small details like Lysette having her dog killed by her new husband (I cried, but I was only ten!) and also the executioner remarking that it will only take one blow to lop Lysette's head off. It is one of the best adventure stories for young kids (and old ones), up there with Blackbeard's Ghost and the Goonies! If you can find it, watch it, and then watch it again!!

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

this is a caution, not a critique!

5/10
Author: 11-111
14 July 2006

This is a CAUTION to any considering the purchase of this title. My comments should not be taken as critical of the production. The key here is to carefully preview any copy of this title marketed by "EXTREAM DIGITAL MEDIA". I picked up a VHS copy at a video close out store. The sleeve had clear images of the principal actors, but the video quality was so poor I could not view the film. Thus my score should NOT be considered as valid. I had to enter something to continue. The video is not viewable, the quality of the image is so poor one could imagine it was made by using a cheep video camera to copy the film from a TV screen. There was not sufficient detail to identify the actors. Copies from other sources may provide a perfectly clear image, but not the copy in my possession distributed by Extreme Digital Media, bar code 674639501834

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Lowbrow "romance", mainly interesting for its campiness

3/10
Author: elwinter
20 October 2002

This is truly goofy romantic tripe. Mainly notable for an early performance by Hugh Grant, who is probably embarrassed when clips are trotted out. Main value is its campiness, and laughs where the filmmakers never intended them.

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