17th-century beauty Barbara Worth starts her career of crime by stealing her best friend's bridegroom. Her next exploit is to recover gambling losses by donning mask and cloak and taking to the roads as a highwayman! The thrill of these ventures proves addictive...especially when she meets a male highwayman who becomes her lover. Together, the two desperados lead a gay secret life, pursued by the local magistrate Sir Ralph Skelton...Barbara's husband! To what further crimes will the wicked Lady Skelton descend?Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Valerie White was originally cast in the role of highwayman Capt. Jerry Jackson's doxy. The actress developed appendicitis and Jean Kent took over the part. The first scene in which the character appears, Lockwood breaks into the room and Mason's in bed with her; we only actually see her back, and it is White's back we see. See more »
The costumes are hilarious! They just grabbed what was in the warehouse, styles dating between 1640 and 1840 -- and some from 1940. It's bizarre to see a conversation between people from different centuries. See more »
The mid 40s were definitely the richest years for Gainsborough films - Madonna Of The Seven Moons, Love Story, Caravan, The Magic Bow, Millions Like Us, 2000 Women, The Man In Grey, Fanny By Gaslight, and the enticingly thrilling Wicked Lady. Of the main six Gainsborough players, four grace the screen in this latest - Lockwood, Mason, Roc and Kent (Calvert and Granger sitting out). Let's talk about Miss Jean Kent for a moment. Not the main character in The Wicked Lady, but her small part as Jackson's "Doxy" was integral to the plot and to Barbara's actions. Since I've seen the movie, I've noticed a fair bit of dispute over Kent's billing. On the box for the video, she was billed 5th - not bad! At this site, she's last. At the beginning of the movie, she was 8th, and at the end of the movie in the "full" credits list, she didn't even get a mention. Perhaps she was so highly billed on the box just because she *was* Jean Kent, and if some unknown girl had played her part, they would have remained in obscurity forever. The part of Doxy is not dissimilar to her Vittoria from Madonna Of The Seven Moons - the "other woman", the lover of the male lead, who eventually drives the female lead to murder. Though Barbara (Wicked Lady) was obviously a lot more jealous of Kent's charms than Rosanna (Seven Moons) was, and Rosanna's murder was because she thought her Nino was with another woman that wasn't her or Vittoria.
But I digress. The Wicked Lady is a fantastic movie, and it's understandable how it was the highest grosser of the above mentioned. Margaret Lockwood is purely wicked, not even loveable, as Barbara, but she's thoroughly exciting and if you don't hate her you at least have to admire her spunk. 30 year old Patricia Roc is perfectly cast as 19 year old Caroline, all sweetness and innocence, trying to believe for as long as possible that her cousin Barbara is the nice, friendly playmate she had as a child. Barbara comes to visit at the time of Caroline's impending wedding, and it's not long before she's stolen the fiancee and married him herself. And that isn't the worst that the Lady Skelton does - not by a long shot!
I read in Miss Lockwood's autobiography that they had to reshoot the entire film a year later with the only change being higher necklines because their low-cut dresses were deemed far too inappropriate for the censors to allow them an American release. After seeing the original version of the movie, I can see why a few old stuffies might have been a bit shocked - the entire movie absolutely sizzles, and the abundance of cleavage doesn't help cool it down. And that's another reason why I give this 10/10 - it's just too darn HOT! ;-)
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