6.7/10
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20 user 14 critic

Forever Amber (1947)

In seventeenth-century England, Amber St. Clair aims to raise herself from country girl to nobility, and succeeds, but loses her true love in the process.

Directors:

Otto Preminger, John M. Stahl (uncredited)

Writers:

Philip Dunne (screenplay), Ring Lardner Jr. (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Linda Darnell ... Amber St. Clair
Cornel Wilde ... Bruce Carlton
Richard Greene ... Lord Harry Almsbury
George Sanders ... King Charles II
Glenn Langan ... Capt. Rex Morgan
Richard Haydn ... Earl of Radcliffe
Jessica Tandy ... Nan Britton
Anne Revere ... Mother Red Cap
John Russell ... Black Jack Mallard
Jane Ball ... Corinne Carlton
Robert Coote ... Sir Thomas Dudley
Leo G. Carroll ... Matt Goodgroome
Natalie Draper ... Countess of Castlemaine
Margaret Wycherly ... Mrs. Spong
Alma Kruger ... Lady Redmond
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Storyline

Amber St Clair means to get on in life and despite a poor background knows she has the assets to do it. Husbands, lovers, prison and a liaison with King Charles II form a tapestry of apparently calculating ups and downs, although in fact the one love of her life, Bruce Carlton, is never far from Amber's thoughts. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The spectacle ... the fire ... the plague ... swords that clash ... excitement that mounts ... lips that meet ... and adventure that sweeps the screen !


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

26 January 1948 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Aina vain Amber See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$16,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was assigned originally to write the score but had to withdraw because of illness and was replaced by David Raksin. See more »

Quotes

King Charles II: [to his spaniels] Children, children, what distressing behavior.
See more »

Alternate Versions

A couple of weeks after its record breaking premiere, studio heads finally caved into Catholic protests and re-cut the movie. Among the changes:
  • References to Amber's sex life and any acts of non-marital romance were cut.
  • SPOILER: A new ending in which Amber watches her son go off with Bruce.
  • Redubbed dialogue in the form of Cornell Wilde repentative of his behaviour: "In Heaven's name, Amber, haven't we caused enough unhappiness?" and "May God have mercy on us both for our sins."
  • Also a prologue was added that condemned the character's actions: "This is the tragic story of Amber St. Claire... slave to ambition.. stranger to virtue... the wages of sin is death".
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Night Watch (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Restoration Revelry
15 June 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

If Forever Amber were being made today the results would have been quite different. Without The Code and the Catholic Legion of Decency inspecting all the product that came from Hollywood, Amber St. Clair's sexual escapades during Restoration Great Britain would have been a far better film. Still it's not bad as it is.

Another reviewer compared it to Gone With the Wind. You can look at that in two ways, the interaction between Linda Darnell and Cornel Wilde and compare it to Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Lots of similarities there. But also the book itself was a blockbuster best seller in the Forties as Gone With the Wind was in the previous decade and brought in a built-in audience.

Kathleen Winsor when she wrote the novel was married to her first husband a football player who was a history student. For his honor's thesis he was writing about the Stuart Restoration. From his research material, Winsor became fascinated with the period and created her novel.

20th Century Fox and Otto Preminger got the rights and did a fine job in recreating the United Kingdom of the 1660s. Linda Darnell got one of her best roles in her career as Amber, a high spirited and vivacious girl like Scarlett O'Hara, who finds true love, but sacrifices it for ambition.

In class conscious times as those were there were few venues for people to rise, even less if you were a woman. Darnell rises from Newgate Prison to the court of Charles II where she becomes one of Charles's numerous mistresses. Along the way she uses many men, like highwayman John Russell, army captain Glenn Langan, nobleman Richard Haydn and even her own true love nobleman Cornel Wilde with whom she has a son out of wedlock.

Presiding over it all is a world weary and cynical George Sanders who plays Charles II. Sanders would play The Merry Monarch in another and vastly inferior film called The King's Thief. He does capture the jaded cynicism of Charles II so very well, it's one of his top five career parts.

If the title role in the film were about the male lead Bruce Carlton, I'm sure Darryl Zanuck would have cast Tyrone Power in the part as he appeared in several films opposite Linda Darnell. Instead Cornel Wilde steps in and he's a most dashing Restoration nobleman and seeker of fortune in the New World.

The most spellbinding performance and so against type is that of Richard Haydn as the elderly rake, Lord Radcliff. He's a widower who's looking for a 17th century trophy wife and finds one in Linda who at the point in time he first meets her is an actress. He's a coldblooded person of mystery and menace and really registers it well on the screen. He marries Linda and she inherits his title when he dies.

Haydn is killed in a thrilling scene involving the great fire of London which occurred in 1666. It's the highlight of the film and I can't say any more about how and why he's killed, but trust me it was one deserved end.

Though Forever Amber is a good film, it could have been far better, but for censorship problems. Still it provides Darnell, Sanders, and Haydn with some of their best career parts and is worth seeing.


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