THE DIVINE LADY
(director: Frank Lloyd; screenwriters: Forrest Halsey/Agnes Christine Johnston/story by E. Barrington; cinematographer: John Seitz; editor: Hugh Bennett; music: Cecil Coppin; cast: Corinne Griffith (Emma Hart-Lady Hamilton), Victor Varconi (Horatio Nelson), H. B. Warner (Sir William Hamilton), Ian Keith(Honorable Charles Greville ), Marie Dressler (Mrs. Hart), Dorothy Cumming (Queen of Naples), William Conklin (George Romney), Montagu Love (Capt. Hardy), Michael Vavitch (King Ferdinand of Naples), Helen Jerome Eddy (Lady Fanny Nelson); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Walter Morosco; Warner Bros.; 1929-silent)
“Outdated historical melodrama.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Frank Lloyd (“The Last Command”/”Blood on the Sun”) directs this outdated historical melodrama about a lady of low-birth who gets the title of Lady Hamilton after marrying a nobleman and then having an affair with Lord Nelson. It might have been fit for its time as a silent but just doesn’t click when viewed today. In 1782, the obese Mrs. Hart (Marie Dressler) is accompanied to her new job as a cook for the conceited nobleman Charles Greville (Ian Keith) by her attractive daughter Emma (Corinne Griffith). Greville is attracted to her even though she’s coarse. So he grooms her to be a lady. When he tires of her, he ships mom and daughter to live in Naples, Italy, with his uncle, Lord Hamilton (H.B. Warner), the British ambassador to the Court of Naples. He falls in love with her and they marry, as she becomes Lady Hamilton even after telling him that she doesn’t love him. When she first meets the married heroic British naval Capt. Horatio Nelson (Victor Varconi), who is serving as confidante to the queen of Naples (Dorothy Cumming), a risky romance develops. They soon live openly in his country estate, as he leaves his wife Fanny (Helen Jerome Eddy). After Nelson becomes the hero of the Napoleonic wars and suffers serious wounds, he gallantly dies at the Battle of Trafalgar.It was adapted from E. Barrington’s The Divine Lady: a Romance of Nelson and Emma Hamilton. The screenplay is by Forrest Halsey and Agnes Christine Johnston. Director Frank Lloyd won an Oscar® for Best Director.
REVIEWED ON 4/13/2018 GRADE: B- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/