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Film / Lady Caroline Lamb

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Lady Caroline Lamb is a 1972 British historical drama film written and directed by Robert Bolt and starring Sarah Miles, Jon Finch, and Richard Chamberlain. The supporting cast includes John Mills, Margaret Leighton, Ralph Richardson, and Laurence Olivier.

The film is about the life of Lady Caroline Lamb, wife of William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (later Prime Minister), and specifically her scandalous affair with Lord Byron. Richardson and Olivier appear as King George IV and The Duke of Wellington, respectively.

This film features examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Caroline falls for the bad boy Lord Byron, whom she called "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" before they even had their affair.
  • Artistic License – History: The film shows Lady Caroline dying "of a broken heart" soon after her separation from her husband, apparently at the same age as the actress portraying her (Sarah Miles was 30 at the time). In reality, while she did die prematurely, she lived on to age 42, many years after the end of her marriage, and died of influenza. The film also makes no reference to the fact that she was addicted to laudanum, which is generally thought to be one of the contributing factors to her death.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Caroline and William seem to be doomed to a loveless marriage.
  • Betty and Veronica: The infamous Lord Byron proves to easily be the Veronica to the boring William's Betty and Caroline's Archie.
  • Bungled Suicide: Caroline attempts suicide, but she survives.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lord Byron, as expected. After he tells Caroline and Buckham that he has been in Turkey after they watched him bare-knuckle boxing.
    Buckham: Was that where you learned to fight like a savage?
    Lord Byron: No sir, I learned that at Harrow.
  • Death by Despair: Caroline dies of "a broken heart" soon after her separation from her husband.
  • Downer Ending: Caroline separates from her husband and dies of a broken heart.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Lord Byron was actually not as tall as portrayed in the film by Richard Chamberlain, and suffered from a limp.