In 1660, with the return of Charles II to the English throne, theater, the visual arts, science and sexual promiscuity flourish. Thirteen years later, in the midst of political and economical problems, Charles II orders the return of his friend John Wilmot, aka the second Earl of Rochester, from exile back to London. John is a morally-corrupt drunkard and a debauched, cynical poet. When the King asks John to prepare a play for the French ambassador so as to please him, John meets the aspiring actress Elizabeth Barry in the playhouse and decides to make her into a great star. He falls in love with her and she becomes his mistress. During the presentation to the King and the French ambassador, John falls into disgrace with the court. When he is thirty-three years old and dying of syphilis and alcoholism, he converts to being a religious man.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Most of the film was lit using candles, rather than conventional movie lights. In order to keep the effect of candles, but still get enough light, Cinematographer Alexander Melman designed a special piece of equipment, a stand that held a bank of candles and a reflective backing. These were known on the set as "birthday cakes". See more »
The Earl of Rochester reads an insulting poem he wrote about Charles II which implies that the King is impotent, and insists this "is true." In fact, Charles II was a noted womanizer who fathered at least a dozen illegitimate children by seven mistresses. See more »
Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion, it is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don't. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing...
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Special thanks to Tracy, Billy and Stanley and all our Friends and Families See more »
With brilliant performances, it's a shame this is not a brilliant movie
The cast is amazingly brilliant. The direction was raw and honest-- no matter the subject. The play on which the screenplay is based is a great work in and of itself which gave me a cause to be rather expectant of the movie's release. Depp, Pike, Morton, Malkovich (who originated the lead role on the stage) and the supporting cast were all wonderful. The disappointment came with the unfolding of events, with the editing choices, and the decisions to cut and paste so roughly that ultimately resulted in a rushed story line and a confused audience. What had the potential for immense cinematic greatness was defeated by pace and form. Very disappointing, but 5 out of 10 simply for the beautiful cinematography and outstanding performance by the cast.
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