Film / That Hamilton Woman

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That Hamilton Woman, originally titled Lady Hamilton, is a 1941 black-and-white historical film drama which takes place during The Napoleonic Wars, and tells the story of the rise and fall of Emma Hamilton, dance-hall girl and courtesan, who became mistress to Admiral Horatio Nelson. Produced and directed by Alexander Korda, it stars Vivien Leigh as Emma, Lady Hamilton and Laurence Olivier as Horatio, Lord Nelson.


This film contains examples of:

  • Bookends: The film starts and ends with Lady Hamilton, having become an ageing woman, being imprisoned into a debtors' prison.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Not only is the story well-known in Britain, but also the movie uses a framing device.
  • Historical Beauty Update: While Lady Hamilton was noted for her great beauty, and as such being played by Vivien Leigh seems fitting, Lord Nelson was noted more for his accomplishments than for any physical handsomeness, whereas in this film he's played by Laurence Olivier.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Napoleon Bonaparte, mostly because the film is, on another level, about Britain's then-ongoing war against Adolf Hilter. Nelson makes a big scene of how he "means to be master of the world." In actual fact, the Napoleonic Wars were started by England when they broke Napoleon's treaties and declared war first.
  • Honor Before Reason: Lord Nelson insists on wearing all his medals in battle, even though this makes him an easy target for enemy snipers.
  • Lady of War: Lady Hamilton turns out to be one, against her own wishes, when the Napoleonic Wars come knocking.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: Lady Hamilton is always understanding of putting Nelson's higher calling first.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/ThatHamiltonWoman