Acting spouses Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh star in Alexander Korda's tragic tale of the adulterous love affair between Emma Lady Hamilton and Lord Horatio Nelson. The story begins in 1786, as the young and vivacious Emma Hart (Vivien Leigh) marries Sir William Hamilton (Alan Mowbray), the British ambassador to the court of Naples. Seven years pass and British naval hero Lord Horatio Nelson (Laurence Olivier) arrives at court to gain the king's assent in the war against Napoleon. Lady Emma and Lord Nelson fall in love. When they return to England, Emma and Nelson unashamedly begin to live together, although Nelson's wife refuses to divorce him. When the war takes a bad turn, Emma convinces Nelson to resume command and Nelson goes off to lead the victory at Trafalgar, where he is mortally wounded. After Nelson's death, Emma falls into depression and despair. ~ Paul Brenner, Rovi
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You don't need a Ph.D. in history to appreciate this film... or be someone over 50, for that matter. It is a grand romance, beautifully photographed in black and white, and featuring one of the most sensational movie couples of all time--Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. Certainly it must have inspired audiences in 1941, as dark clouds of war clustered overhead. Kudos to Criterion for reissuing this great film! They do such a fantastic job keeping international classics alive for new audiences to discover.
I heartily recommend this movie, made at Winston Churchill's urging at the beginning of WWll. A true story featuring Britain's greatest admiral & the love of his life, portrayed by the beautiful Vivien Leigh. The fact that she & Laurence Olivier had just been married added to the chemistry between them - they were not just playing a part. I marveled that the producers could make such an outstanding film in such a short time & in such difficult circumstances.