Based on historic deeds about intrigue and fight -power 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 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 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 become lovers and would 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 revolt.He comes from Flandes to Madrid,but he aware passionate romance between Antonio Perez and Ana Mendoza .
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, gives her little opportunity to really shine and she's 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 is 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 and Paul Scofield, role of Juanjo Puigcorbe, among others.
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