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Lisa Arrindell Anderson
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Based on historic deeds about intrigue and power-fight in Philip II court
This costumer movie is partially based on historical events . It's developed in the court of Felipe II (Juanjo Puigcorbe) , the Prudent King , also called the Noon demon . The situation of Low Countries ruled under Juan of Austria , his illegitimate brother is extremely dangerous . The protestant rebellion and the harassing by William of Orange make Flandes an uncomfortable place . Duke of Alba (Fabio Testi) regaining the king favour attempts to force measures over the rebels . Meanwhile , Ana of Mendoza (Julia Ormond) married one of Philip's minister , bore sons , and soon became a widow Duchess of Pastrana and princess of Eboli . She wears a patch over her right eye and is an ambitious woman with selfish aims . Antonio Perez (Jason Isaacs) is the first secretary to the Crown . Ana of Mendoza and Antonio soon become lovers and create a scandal in court , always the scenario of perpetual intrigue . Escobedo , John of Austria's personal secretary (Joaquim De Almeida) is sent to ask for liberation of Mary of Scotland and help to stifle revolts . He comes from Flandes to Madrid, but he aware passionate romance between Antonio Perez and Ana Mendoza . Then , a deadly conflict takes place ..
This is a lavish but slowly-paced costumer that has Julia Ormond wearing a black eye-patch as the one-eyed Ana of Mendoza whose gorgeous beauty is difficult to resist . Ormond is marvelously photographed throughout but the role , as written , and she gives her little opportunity to really shine , though being wasted . Jason Isaacs gives a convincing character as astute and mean Antonio of Mendoza . Jordi Molla plays with enormous distinction as Mateo Vazquez , the incorruptible priest . Personality and charisma of Juanjo Puigcorbe's portrayal as one of the most remarkable European kings that ever reigned . The rest of the supporting cast is average , as Blanca Jara as Morisca Desirea and Jurgen Prochnow as Espinosa , but neither the love story , nor the characters have much interest with the result which this duo doesn't work either as romantic couple . Extraordinary costume design by Javier Artiñano , accompanied by colorful , though some misty , cinematography by Carlos Suarez . Luxurious sets make excellent use of real locations in Spain and has a look of a great production . The motion picture was professionally directed by Antonio Del Real .
In 1955 was filmed by Terence Young an inferior version about these historic deeds titled 'That lady' starred by Olivia De Havilland in the role of Julia Ormond ; Gilbert Roland , role of Jason Isaacs ; Dennis Price, similarly to Jordi Molla character and Paul Scofield , role of Juanjo Puigcorbe , among others. And recently a TV series starred by Belen Rueda as Princesa de Éboli , Hugo Silva as Antonio Pérez and Eduard Fernández as Felipe II .
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