The Divine Lady
|The Divine Lady|
|Directed by||Frank Lloyd|
|Produced by||Frank Lloyd
Richard A. Rowland
|Written by||Forrest Halsey
Harry Carr (intertitles)
|Based on||The Divine Lady: a Romance of Nelson and Emma Hamilton
by E. Barrington
|Music by||Cecil Copping|
|Cinematography||John F. Seitz|
|Edited by||Hugh Bennett|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
The Divine Lady is a 1929 Vitaphone sound film with a synchronized musical score and sound effects, as well as some synchronized singing sequences. The film, however, featured no spoken dialogue. The film tells the story of the love affair between Horatio Nelson and Emma Hamilton. It featured a theme song entitled "Lady Divine" with lyrics by Richard Kountz and music by Nathaniel (Nat) Shilkret. The song became a popular hit in 1929 and was recorded by numerous artists such as Nat Shilkret, Frank Munn, Ben Selvin (as The Cavaliers), Smith Ballew, Adrian Schubert, Sam Lanin, and Bob Haring.
The film was adapted by Harry Carr, Forrest Halsey, Agnes Christine Johnston, and Edwin Justus Mayer from the novel The Divine Lady: a Romance of Nelson and Emma Hamilton by E. Barrington. It was directed by Frank Lloyd.
This is also the only film to ever win Best Director without a Best Picture nomination. Though one year earlier, Two Arabian Knights won for Academy Award for Best Director of a Comedy Picture, without being nominated for Best Picture.
In the late eighteenth century, Lady Hamilton has had a somewhat turbulent relationship with the British people, especially the aristocracy. Born Emma Hart from a very humble background (she being the daughter of a cook), she was seen as being vulgar by the rich, but equally captivating for her beauty. In a move to protect his inheritance, Honorable Charles Greville, Emma's then lover and her mother's employer, sent Emma to Naples under false pretenses to live with his uncle, Sir William Hamilton, where she would study to become a lady. Surprisingly to Greville whose deception Emma would eventually discover, Emma ended up becoming Hamilton's wife in a marriage of convenience. But it is Emma's eventual relationship with Horatio Nelson of the British navy that would cause the largest issue. A move by Lady Hamilton helped Nelson's armada defeat Napoleon's fleet in naval battles, which Nelson would have ultimately lost without Lady Hamilton's help. Beyond the dangers of war, Lady Hamilton and Nelson's relationship is ultimately threatened by the court of public opinion as both are married to other people.
- Corinne Griffith - Emma Hart
- Victor Varconi - Horatio Nelson
- H.B. Warner - Sir William Hamilton
- Ian Keith - Honorable Charles Greville
- Marie Dressler - Mrs. Hart
- Montagu Love - Captain Hardy
- William Conklin - Romney
- Dorothy Cumming - Queen Maria Carolina
The film still survives intact along with its Vitaphone soundtrack. This film was a joint preservation project of the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film in cooperation with the Czechoslovak Film Archive. It was restored in conjunction with the project American Moviemakers: The Dawn of Sound.
In 2009, the film was released on manufactured-on-demand DVD by the Warner Archive Collection.
- The Divine Lady at the Internet Movie Database
- The Divine Lady at AllMovie
- The Divine Lady at Virtual History