Lady Godiva of Coventry
|Lady Godiva of Coventry|
Theatrical release poster by Reynold Brown
|Directed by||Arthur Lubin|
|Produced by||Robert Arthur|
|Written by||Harry Ruskin
|Based on||Story by Oscar Brodney|
|Music by||Hans J. Salter|
|Edited by||Paul Weatherwax|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
Lady Godiva of Coventry is a 1955 American Technicolor historical drama film, directed by Arthur Lubin. It starred Maureen O'Hara in the title role. Alec Harford, the English actor who portrayed Tom the Tailor, died eight months before the film's release.
The film is set in 11th century England. King Edward the Confessor (Eduard Franz) wants the Saxon Lord Leofric (George Nader), who rules Coventry, to marry a Norman woman, Yolanda. When he refuses, he is sentenced to jail, where he meets Godiva (Maureen O'Hara), the sheriff's sister. The two fall in love and soon they are wed. The times are turbulent and Godiva proves a militant bride; unhistorically, unrest between the Anglo-Saxon populace and the increasingly influential Norman French led to her famous ride.
The plot is quite notable by the striking leadership qualities of the Maureen O'Hara role. Released in 1955, late in the epoch of this style of historical adventure there are some playful subtleties, a touching opportunity to see the 69-year-old McLaglen in a competent action role, and a very striking example of an archery 'trick-shot'.
- Maureen O'Hara as Lady Godiva
- George Nader as Lord Leofric
- Victor McLaglen: Grimald
- Rex Reason: Harold
- Torin Thatcher: Lord Godwin
- Eduard Franz as King Edward
- Leslie Bradley: Comte Eustace
- Arthur Shields: Innkeeper
- Robert Warwick: Humbert
- Arthur Gould-Porter: Thorold
- Grant Withers: Pendar
- Anthony Eustrel: Prior
- Kathryn Givney : An Abbess
- Sim Iness: Oswin
- Thayer Roberts: William, Duke of Normandy
- Alec Harford: Tom the Tailor
- Clint Eastwood as First Saxon
In early 1954, it was announced that Maureen O'Hara would star in the film based on a script by Oscar Brodney produced by Robert Arthur. It was made at Universal, where O'Hara had a one-film-a-year contract. The script was described as "semi-historical".
Lex Barker was reportedly going to play the male lead but O'Hara objected, claiming audiences would only see him as Tarzan. Jeff Chandler was signed instead. Victor McLaglen joined the cast as Chandler's helper.
Shortly before filming began, however, Chandler was replaced by a Universal contractee, George Nader. Chandler was still making Foxfire which would finish only a day before Godiva was scheduled to start and wanted a break. (Nader had previously replaced Chandler on Five Rivers to Cross after the star was suspended by the studio due to a contract dispute.)
Filming started on 30 August 1954.
Rex Reason joined the cast. He had previously been acting for Universal under the name "Bart Roberts" but for this film the studio allowed him to use his real name.
Maureen O'Hara filmed the famous ride wearing a leotard, with her long hair covering the rest of her body. Arthur Lubin said he was inspired by the painting of Landseer. The sequence was shot on a closed set.
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