Film Review and Rating / Synopsis

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  • The Divine Lady (1929) - Plot Summary - Silent historical melodrama set during the French Revolution, with synchronized music and vocals. A new cook (Marie Dressler) and her beautiful daughter Emma (Corinne Griffith) arrive at the English estate of Charles Greville (Ian Keith), who immediately disapproves of Emma's behavior as "vulgar". Handsome Greville doesn't want to hire them, but is struck by Emma's beauty. She continues to embarrass him by singing in public - yet he kisses her inside cover of horse and carriage. His uncle, Sir William Hamilton (H.B. Warner), is interested in her too and thinks some lessons could turn her into a "divine lady". Greville is Sir William's sole heir but is warned he could lose the inheritance if Sir William were to marry. So - Greville sends Emma (who he considers inappropriate for marriage to a rich gentleman) to Naples to be taught to be a lady under Sir William's guidance. Emma is heartbroken to leave Greville, who she has fallen in love with - but months later he writes her a "Dear John" letter indicatiing he is contemplating marriage to someone else. Devastated, Emma is comforted by Sir William who asks her to marry him - without love, she accepts. Now she is Lady Hamilton, an ambassadress, and soon meets up with the famous Admiral Horatio Nelson. Emma begins an emotional love affair with Nelson as she helps save England at the height of the Revolution.

    Review - Entertaining late silent era costume drama, nicely photographed, and featuring tons of emoting by Corinne Griffith - the most expressive eyebrows in town! Unfortunately for the film, actor Victor Varconi, as Admiral Nelson, is rather stiff in his role - hard to see the love match between the two characters. Note: Marie Dressler's part in this is, unfortunately, very, very small. The film includes synchronized music and vocals when Corinne Griffith's character sings. A nice film, worth a watch - I did enjoy Corinne Griffith's very melodramatic performance in this. Rating - * 8/10 stars *

    Director: Frank Lloyd
    Film Genre: Historic / Period Melodrama
    Film Runtime: 98 minutes

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10 = Absolutely Fabulous/Superb
9 = Really Good/Excellent
8 = Good
7 = Fairly Good/Decent
6 = So-so, some flaws
5 = Mediocre
4 = Not that good, many flaws
3 = Poor
2 = Very Poor/Stinker
1 = One of the worst BOMBS ever filmed

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