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That Hamilton Woman

Vivien Leigh , Laurence Olivier , Alexander Korda    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Drama based on real people Feb. 1 2010
By Marcia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
That Hamilton Woman

History comes to life in this vivid, glamorous film staring that dashing duo Vivian Leigh and Sir Laurence Oliver. This academy-award winning film, visually dazzling, tragic love story is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. The scandalous love affair between Lord Horation Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton, the wife of a British ambassador draws the viewer in visually and emotionally.It's a classic in every sense of the word.

I can only guaranttee the one I bought at bbccanada.ca for $36.98. Alexander Korda's production is newly restored in HD, black and white digital tranfer. 2 hours on one disc. Contact Amazon to see it you are getting the same DVD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 2 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is one of my favourite movies & I decided I wanted to have a copy to keep.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emma and Vivien much alike July 12 2004
Format:VHS Tape
They both died in their early 50s and indeed supported tirelessly their men(Nelson & Olivier). Because of their women; they became Lords... Vivien Leigh is really playing herself in this Korda-production(made as propaganda in order 2 get the States involved here in the Europeen-conflict)... When u read Vivien`s letters(as u can in the biography by Hugo Vickers) you`ll see that Vivien`s Emma is a variation of herself...
Vivien Leigh is the all-time-great-actress from a bygone era - don`t miss this film - her only film as Lady Olivier. Vivien set aside; the film offers a lot in dialogue, photography, performances, set design and music. Winston Churchill(his favorite movie) tortured his visitors who had to sit through it on more than 1 occasion hehehe.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great period pieces June 28 2009
By calvinnme - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This is one of my favorite historic epic/romantic films. It stars Lawrence Olivier as Lord Nelson and Vivien Leigh as Emma Hart Hamilton, with Vivien Leigh fresh from her triumph in "Gone with the Wind" and at a time when the real-life romance and marriage between the two stars (Leigh and Olivier) was new. Up until now this film has only been available on expensive out of print VHS copies or Region 2 DVDs. Now Criterion is releasing a copy that will have all of the extras. The extras are:

New, restored high-definition digital transfer
Audio commentary featuring noted film historian Ian Christie
New video interview with author and editor Michael Korda, Alexander's nephew, who discusses growing up in the Korda family and the making of That Hamilton Woman.
Theatrical trailer
Alexander Korda Presents, a 1942 promotional radio piece for the film
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by Molly Haskell

The film is largely accurate, which is unusual for an historical drama of its time since these usually took great license with the truth. The departures from the truth that the film took were largely to satisfy the production code of the time. The truth is that William Hamilton, Emma's older husband, accepted and even encouraged the affair between his wife and Lord Nelson. When Emma set up housekeeping with Lord Nelson in England, William Hamilton lived there with them in a menage a trois relationship that fascinated the public of the time. In 1941 this would have been unacceptable on the screen.

The implication of the film is that Emma's daughter by Lord Nelson died. In fact their daughter married a man of the cloth, had ten children, and died at the age of 80. Emma's end as it is portrayed in the film is sadly accurate. Women of Emma's time were largely dependent upon their station in life and upon the whims of the men in their lives. If those men died, even if the man was great, women often found themselves in desperate poverty.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A TALE OF STAR CROSSED LOVERS... Oct. 1 2001
By Lawyeraau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
This film is based upon the real life love affair between Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton, wife of the British Ambassador to Naples. Real life husband and wife team, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, as the star crossed lovers, give magnificent performances. Ms. Leigh is absolutely enchanting in the role of Lady Hamilton. Mr. Olivier is likewise effective in his role, though Ms. Leigh is definitely the star of this show. The supporting cast also gives superb performances, particularly Alan Mowbray in the role of the cuckolded husband, Lord William Hamilton.

The story tells the viewer of the rise of Emma Hart, a blacksmith's daughter with a scarlet past, who by dint of her beauty and determination rose out of poverty and obscurity to become the wife of Lord William Hamilton, the British Ambassador to Naples. After their marriage, she is known as Lady Hamilton and becomes the toast of Naples. She then meets Admiral Horatio Nelson and her life changes, yet again. Defying social conventions, she and the also married Nelson begin a love affair that was to become public knowledge and lead to great scandal. What happened to them is memorably dramatized.

This is a wonderful film that all who love period pieces and historical dramas will enjoy.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars LORD AND LADY OLIVIER. Nov. 10 2001
By "scotsladdie" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier make a beautiful pair as they portray Lady Emma Hamilton and Lord Horatio Nelson in THAT HAMILTON WOMAN! Trivia buffs should know that this was Winston Churchill's favourite film; he had it screened many times. Only part of the astonishing life of Emma, Lady Hamilton is told in this big, sprawling Alexander Korda movie, which makes of Napoleon an earlier Hitler and of Naples an 18th Century warning to America. Her real name was Amy Lyon. Before she married aging Sir William Hamilton, British Prime Minister to the Kingdom of Naples, she had lived in the London slums, passed from hand to hand, bore several illegitimate children and posed as Circe, Cassandra, Nature, Joan of Arc and Mary Magdalene for George Romney, the great English portrait painter. At Naples, she created endless scandal, became the crony of Queen Maria Carolina and met young English Naval Captain Horatio Nelson. From then on, their lives were constantly intertwined, making choice chatter for London gossips. Meanwhile, the young captain chased Napoleon's fleet around the Mediterranean, lost an eye and an arm, became the idolised "Victor of the Nile", the immortal Lord Nelson who died of a sharpshooter's ball at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). Producer Korda makes of his heroism an epic of British defiance to dictators, of Emma's sordid life - a romance in the lush PRISONER OF ZENDA style.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Winston had to be an incorrigible romantic Aug. 14 2006
By Joseph Haschka - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Released in early 1941 during the time when England was at its most beleaguered, THAT HAMILTON WOMAN is reputed to have been Prime Minister Winston Churchill's favorite film, which, if true, is prima-facie evidence that he was an old softie at heart.

A frothy historical romance as only Hollywood could create, the film is broadly faithful to the facts. Low-born Emma Hart (Vivien Leigh), the courtesan lover of the English aristocrat Charles Greville, is shipped off in 1786 to Naples to be, unbeknownst to her, the mistress of Greville's uncle, England's envoy to the Kingdom of Naples, Sir William Hamilton (Alan Mowbray). But, William is so smitten by Emma's beauty as to marry her, and the latter becomes Lady Emma Hamilton in 1791. In that capacity, she first meets Horatio Nelson (Laurence Olivier) in 1793, when he anchors his ship in Naples to officially seek the kingdom's help in providing reinforcements against the French. They don't meet again until five years later, after Nelson's famous victory in the Battle of the Nile, by which time he's lost an arm and his health. The latter is restored to the Admiral while under the Hamiltons' roof and Emma's care, during which time Nelson and his nurse fall in love. The rest is history. The Hamiltons and the Admiral returned to England where, in 1801, all three - or four, if you count Horatia, Nelson's daughter by Emma - moved into a house near present day Wimbledon purchased by Horatio after spurning his legal wife, Frances. William Hamilton died in 1803. Nelson died a national hero at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Ignored by the British government, Emma became destitute and died an alcoholic in Calais in 1815. Indeed, it's in Calais that THAT HAMILTON WOMAN opens and closes; Emma tells her story in flashback form to a fellow prison inmate (Heather Angel) after being arrested for public disorderliness.

THAT HAMILTON WOMAN is perhaps typical of the genre of the time. It's a good film, not great. The chief reason to watch is to discern its appeal to Churchill, who obviously found inspiration and a kindred spirit in the Tinseltown Nelson, whose impassioned speeches against the continental tyrant (Napoleon) and the need for his country to fight the dictator even if England stood alone reflected Winston's own feelings about the battle against Hitler and Nazi Germany in the months before Pearl Harbor and America's entry into the war, the salvation so desperately sought by the PM.

From an historical point of view, the serious or casual student of the Trafalgar naval confrontation between the British and Franco-Spanish fleets will likely find fault. The battle scenes, using ship models, show vessels blowing up in great cataclysms of fire and smoke, and one actually capsizes. Trafalgar wasn't like that. Tactics dictated that opposing battleships maneuver up close and personal and fire withering volleys of hard, non-explosive shot at each other at point blank range to take down masts, reduce the decks (above the waterline) to kindling, and kill as many opposing sailors as possible. Only then would a ship surrender and be taken and converted to prize-money by the victorious captain and crew. To this end, actual sinking of an opponent was counterproductive. For a better understanding of Trafalgar and naval tactics of the period, I recommend Adam Nicolson's excellent book, Seize the Fire : Heroism, Duty, and the Battle of Trafalgar.

Any Vivien Leigh fan will find much to like in THAT HAMILTON WOMAN though, since GONE WITH THE WIND had been released only a couple of years prior, I kept half-expecting Leigh's character to break into a southern accent and pine for Tara. I especially liked the melodramatic ending when, after Captain Hardy (Henry Wilcoxon) rides his gallant steed off-camera after breaking the news of Nelson's death to Emma, the latter shuts the drapes across a massive window and collapses in a faint - a nice allusion to "the final curtain" closing on an epic love story. How "Hollywood" can you get?

Since this DVD was produced by Buddha Video in Taiwan, there's the unusual (to American audiences) availability of Chinese subtitles. Turn them "on" to view with Chinese take-out.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars that hamilton woman Dec 31 2003
By edna g whitley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:VHS Tape
This movie is without a doubt Vivien Leighs greatest movie. It tells the true story of one of histories best known, albeit, illicit love affairs. Lady Hamilton begins and ends life sad and without means, but oh those years in between! Emma and her co-adulter Lord Nelson share a wonderful yet tragic love, unfortunately a child was born of this union and shuffled off to a boarding home,evidently without sharing in the love the parents nurtured for many years, actually until death took Lord Nelson. What a shame that many of Viviens roles paralleled her own sometimes tragic life. Mores the pity she didn't make many, many movies in her younger years when she showed such beauty and vitality, before her mental illness robbed her of much happiness and success and tuberculosis robbed her of her life.
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