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Wicked Lady
     

The Wicked Lady

Director: Michael Winner, Faye Dunaway, Alan Bates, John Gielgud

Cast: Michael Winner, Faye Dunaway, Alan Bates, John Gielgud

 

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Faye Dunaway stars in Michael Winner's labored re-make of the 1945 swashbuckler, which was co-scripted by Leslie Arliss, the original director of the 1945 film. Dunaway is Lady Barbara Skelton, a lady of the royal class, who becomes a highway robber, taking up with Captain Jerry Jackson (Alan Bates), a highwayman and her lover. Because of a notorious whiping scene in

Overview

Faye Dunaway stars in Michael Winner's labored re-make of the 1945 swashbuckler, which was co-scripted by Leslie Arliss, the original director of the 1945 film. Dunaway is Lady Barbara Skelton, a lady of the royal class, who becomes a highway robber, taking up with Captain Jerry Jackson (Alan Bates), a highwayman and her lover. Because of a notorious whiping scene in which Lady Barbara and Jackson's girlfriend (Marina Sirtis) take horsewhips to one another, tearing their clothing to strategically-placed ribbons, the film was held back from release because Winner refused to cut the salacious footage. After corralling author Kingsley Amis, and directors John Schlesinger, Karel Reisz, and Lindsay Anderson to attest to the redeeming social value of the scene, the scene stayed in the film.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
There is something about the story of Lady Barbara Skelton, aka "The Wicked Lady" of the title -- the character a fictional creation of author Magdalen King-Hall (1904-1971) -- that just ends up giving censors the shivers; or, at least, something about the character that encourages filmmakers in the telling of the tale to drive censors up a wall. Perhaps it's just the notion behind the character, of a bored upper-class seventeenth century lady of the title taking to the road as an outlaw, disguised as a man, that brings out the roguishness in writers or filmmakers. First, there was Leslie Arliss's original 1945 film adaptation, starring Margaret Lockwood, James Mason, and Michael Rennie, made a fortune in England, though it disturbed J. Arthur Rank, the owner of the studio that made it sufficiently to divest himself of the services of its director; additionally, its US release was delayed, and parts of it had to be re-shot because of the revealing design of the gowns worn by many of the actresses. And then there's this 1983 remake by Michael Winner, scripted by Arliss, which managed to leave the censors aghast, over a scene -- actually lifted by Arliss from another movie of his, Idol Of Paris (1948) -- in which two female characters (played by Faye Dunaway and future Star Trek: TNG co-star Marina Sirtis) attack each other with carriage whips. And would that the rest of the movie had shown some of the energy of that scene, which was eventually passed by the censors, The Wicked Lady might have done better at the box office. As it is, there are a lot of fine performers here, including Alan Bates, Denholm Elliott, Sir John Gielgud, Prunella Scales, and Oliver Tobias, who are wasted, both by the script and director Michael Winner. Neither he nor the producers and screenwriters could seem to decide if they were doing a star vehicle for Faye Dunaway (which is what this turned into), a colorful period drama, or a period comedy/satire a la Tony Richardson's Tom Jones, which seems to have been what they were aiming for intermittently. (Ironically, Richardson was one of the panel of experts engaged to evaluate the movie's [and the questionable scene's] artistically redeeming significance). That doesn't mean, however, that The Wicked Lady isn't worth seeing. Any picture that gives us Prunella Scales -- best remembered as Sybil Fawlty on Fawlty Towers -- plus Elliott, Gielgud, Bates et al in period costume can't be utterly valueless, and each does what they do well, even if the movie does little with it. And in addition to its limited cinematic virtues, the film is also probably worth seeing by fans of the rock group Genesis, whose keyboard player and co-founder Tony Banks provided the score.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/21/2015
UPC:
0738329152727
Original Release:
1983
Rating:
R
Source:
Lorber Films (Kino)
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:38:00
Sales rank:
10,770

Special Features

Original trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Faye Dunaway Lady Barbara Skelton
Alan Bates Jerry Jackson
John Gielgud Hogarth
Denholm Elliott Sir Ralph Skelton
Prunella Scales Lady Henrietta Kingsclere
Oliver Tobias Kit Locksby
Glynis Barber Caroline
Joan Hickson Aunt Agatha
Helena McCarthy Moll Skelton
Mollie Maureen Doll Skelton
Marina Sirtis Jackson's girl
Nicholas Gecks Ned Cotterell
Hugh Millais Uncle
Guinevere John Landlady at Inn
Lucy Hornak Actor
Judy Maynard Actor
Terence Mountain Law Officer
Derek Francis Lord Kingsclere
John Savident Squire Thorton
Dermot Walsh Lord Marwood
Mark Sinden Lord Dolman
Mark Burns Charles II
Teresa Codling Nell Gwynne
David Gant Clergyman at Church
Ewen Solon Clergyman at Tyburn
Roger Brierley Clergymen at Tyburn Prison
Arthur Whybrow Storyteller at Tyburn
Tony Martin Vendor at Tyburn
John Pierce Jones Ringleader at Tyburn
Robert Putt Man at Tyburn
Cyril Conway Doctor
Malcolm Mudie Courtier
Celia Imrie Servant at Inn
Ellen Pollock Mrs. Munce
Marianne Stone Customer in Shop
Catherine Neilson Customer in Shop
Fiona McArthur Bridesmaid
Pamela Cundell Coach Passenger
Maggie Rennie Coach Passenger
George Tovey Man at Inn
Norman Mitchell Man at Inn

Technical Credits
Michael Winner Director,Screenwriter
Leslie Arliss Screenwriter
Tony Banks Score Composer
John Blezard Art Director,Production Designer
John Bloomfield Costumes/Costume Designer
Jack Cardiff Cinematographer
Arnold Crust Editor
Yoram Globus Producer
Menahem Golan Producer
Albert J. Whitlock Special Effects

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Wicked Lady
1. Chapter 1 [11:34]
2. Chapter 2 [12:51]
3. Chapter 3 [18:33]
4. Chapter 4 [11:59]
5. Chapter 5 [7:53]
6. Chapter 6 [8:04]
7. Chapter 7 [14:45]
8. Chapter 8 [13:11]

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