Lady Godiva of Coventry

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For the 1951 British comedy film, see Lady Godiva Rides Again.
Lady Godiva of Coventry
Theatrical release poster by Reynold Brown
Directed by Arthur Lubin
Produced by Robert Arthur
Written by Harry Ruskin
Oscar Brodney
Based on Story by Oscar Brodney
Starring Maureen O'Hara
George Nader
Victor McLaglen
Rex Reason
Music by Hans J. Salter
Cinematography Carl Guthrie
Edited by Paul Weatherwax
Release dates
  • November 2, 1955 (1955-11-02)
Running time
89 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Lady Godiva of Coventry is an American historical drama film, directed by Arthur Lubin and released in 1955. 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'.



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.[1] It was made at Universal, where O'Hara had a one-film-a-year contract. The script was described as "semi-historical".[2]

Lex Barker was reportedly going to play the male lead but O'Hara objected, claiming audiences would only see him as Tarzan.[3] Jeff Chandler was signed instead.[4] Victor McLaglen joined the cast as Chandler's helper.[5]

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.)[6]

Filming started on 30 August 1954.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] The sequence was shot on a closed set.[10]

See also[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Drama: Merian Cooper Paid Honor in Washington". Los Angeles Times. 25 February 1954. p. A12. 
  2. ^ Thomas M. Pryor (25 February 1954). "IT'S BEEN 14 YEARS AND FILMS CHANGE: So Pine-Thomas (We Want to Make a Million) Switch to Million-Dollar Movies". New York Times. p. 25. 
  3. ^ Hopper, Hedda (14 August 1954). "Looking at Hollywood: One Good Role Brings Another for Bob Stack". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 14. 
  4. ^ Parsons, Louella (10 July 1954). "Boss Plans to Keep Jeff Hopping". The Washington Post and Times Herald. p. 6. 
  5. ^ Thomas M. Pryor (23 August 1954). "HESTON KEPT BUSY IN 4 SCREEN ROLES: Completing 2 for Paramount, He Is Set for Films With de Mille and Universal". New York Times. p. 21. 
  6. ^ Thomas M. Pryor (26 August 1954). "NADER TO REPLACE CHANDLER 2D TIME: Actor Will Be Co-Star With Maureen O'Hara in 'Lady Godiva' Film at U.-I.". New York Times. p. 24. 
  7. ^ Schallert, Edwin (14 August 1954). "Brisson Will Produce Saroyan Stage Musical; Widmark Mulls Three". Los Angeles Times. p. 11. 
  8. ^ Edwin Schallert (4 September 1954). "Leo Genn Purchases Old Mexico Story; Rex Reason's Name Restored". Los Angeles Times. p. 11. 
  9. ^ Philip K Scheuer (5 September 1954). "A TOWN CALLED HOLLYWOOD: Lady Godiva, Member of Horsy Set, to Ride Again". Los Angeles Times. p. D2. 
  10. ^ Hollywood (12 September 1954). "LONE RANGER". New York Times. p. X5. 

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