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That Hamilton Woman- Criterion Collection
That Hamilton Woman- Criterion Collection
Actors: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Heather Angel, Leonard Carey, Julie Compton
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
NR     2009     2hr 8min

One of cinema's most dashing duos, real-life spouses Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier enact their greatest on-screen romance in this visually dazzling tragic love story from legendary producer-director Alexander Korda. Se...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Heather Angel, Leonard Carey, Julie Compton
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance, Classics, Military & War
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 09/08/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/1941
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1941
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 2hr 8min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 21
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 10/01/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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."
scotsladdie | 11/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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."
That hamilton woman
edna g whitley | lucerne, california United States | 01/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."
One of the great period pieces
calvinnme | 06/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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."