Divine Lady, The (1929) B-
Corinne Griffith received an Oscar nomination for playing Lady Hamilton in this silent version, which Frank Lloyd both produced and directed, winning an Oscar for it.
“The Divine Lady,” Hollywood’s take on the 19th century romance of Lord Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton, is inferior to the 1941 British version, “That Hamilton Woman,” an Oscar nominated epic starring husband and wife Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier.
Sporting a blonde wig, Griffith is appealing but but not compelling as Lady Emma, while Hungarian-born Victor Varconi is miscast as the very British Lord Nelson.
Both stars play second fiddle to Marie Dressler, who steals the show, even if she’s mugging as Lady Emma’s ambitious mother.
The scandal surrounding the leading characters’ illicit affair is secondary to the film’s attempt to depict Nelson’s celebrated sea battles.
Dorothy Cumming plays the Queen of Naples.
Technically a silent, “Divine Lady” was released with a Vitaphone musical score and sound effects. However, lost in the shuffle during the switch over to talkies in 1929, “Divine Lady” is largely forgotten today.
Frank Lloyd (who retired in 1955 after “The Last Command”) is one of few directors to win the Oscar for a film not nominated for Best Picture.
Oscar Nominations: 3
Director: Frank Lloyd
Actress: Corinne Griffith
Cinematography: John Seitz
Oscar Awards: 1
The winner of the Best Actress was America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford for “Coquette.”
The winner of the Cinematography Oscar went to Clyde DeVinna for “White Shadows in the South Seas.”
Both Griffith and Seitz were unofficial nominees, but appear in the annals of AMPAS.
Running time: 100 Minutes
Directed by Frank Lloyd.
Released: March 31, 1929.
Warner (First National)
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