The Divine Lady (1929)

103 or 105 mins | Drama | 31 March 1929

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HISTORY

Onscreen credits misspell special photographer John F. Seitz's name as "John B. Sietz" and associate photographer Alvin Knechtel's surname is misspelled "Knechel." Sources offer conflicting footage lengths for the film. According to contemporary sources, some theaters exhibited the film without sound. The song "Lady Divine" was sung over the opening credits. Within the otherwise silent film, several musical backgrounds are heard, as well as portions of other songs. The singing voice was advertised as being that of the film's star, Corinne Griffith, although some reviewers doubted that the voice actually was hers. At one point, a voice is heard singing one song while Griffith visibly mouths the words to another, the Scottish traditional ballad "Loch Lomond."
       According to a studio directory in the 26 May 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, production began on 2 Apr 1928.
       As in the film, Lord Horatio Nelson (1758--1805) and Lady Emma Hamilton (1765--1815), both of whom were married to other people, became lovers and shocked late 18th-century and early 19th-century English society. Following Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar, Lady Hamilton faded into obscurity and died in poverty. Although not mentioned in the film, the couple had a daughter, Horatia, and remained on good terms with Lord Hamilton.
       Modern sources include Harold Goodwin, Joan Bennett, Bob Kortman, Louis Mercier, Grant Withers and Gil Perkins as extras in the film. Another film inspired by Nelson's and Hamilton's love story is the 1941 Alexander Korda production That Hamilton Woman , starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh (see entry). Director Frank Lloyd won an Academy Award for his work on this film. ... More Less

Onscreen credits misspell special photographer John F. Seitz's name as "John B. Sietz" and associate photographer Alvin Knechtel's surname is misspelled "Knechel." Sources offer conflicting footage lengths for the film. According to contemporary sources, some theaters exhibited the film without sound. The song "Lady Divine" was sung over the opening credits. Within the otherwise silent film, several musical backgrounds are heard, as well as portions of other songs. The singing voice was advertised as being that of the film's star, Corinne Griffith, although some reviewers doubted that the voice actually was hers. At one point, a voice is heard singing one song while Griffith visibly mouths the words to another, the Scottish traditional ballad "Loch Lomond."
       According to a studio directory in the 26 May 1928 Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World, production began on 2 Apr 1928.
       As in the film, Lord Horatio Nelson (1758--1805) and Lady Emma Hamilton (1765--1815), both of whom were married to other people, became lovers and shocked late 18th-century and early 19th-century English society. Following Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar, Lady Hamilton faded into obscurity and died in poverty. Although not mentioned in the film, the couple had a daughter, Horatia, and remained on good terms with Lord Hamilton.
       Modern sources include Harold Goodwin, Joan Bennett, Bob Kortman, Louis Mercier, Grant Withers and Gil Perkins as extras in the film. Another film inspired by Nelson's and Hamilton's love story is the 1941 Alexander Korda production That Hamilton Woman , starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh (see entry). Director Frank Lloyd won an Academy Award for his work on this film. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World
26 May 1928
p. 102.
Film Daily
3 Mar 1929.
---
New York Times
23 Mar 1939.
---
Variety
27 Mar 1929
p. 12.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Frank Lloyd Production
A Frank Lloyd Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PHOTOGRAPHY
Spec photog
Assoc photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
Cost dir
MAKEUP
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Divine Lady
a Romance of Nelson and Emma Hamilton by E. Barrington (New York, 1924).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Lady Divine," words by Richard Kountz, music by Nathaniel Shilkret.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Divine Woman
Release Date:
31 March 1929
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Los Angeles: 29 January 1929
New York opening: 22 March 1929
Production Date:
began 2 April 1928
Copyright Claimant:
First National Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
28 March 1929
Copyright Number:
LP285
Physical Properties:
Silent with sound sequences
Singing seq by Vitaphone; Western Electric Apparatus
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
103 or 105
Length(in feet):
9,035 , 9,914
Length(in reels):
12
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1782, Emma Hart, the beautiful daughter of a cook hired by artist George Romney, is courted by his friend, Charles Greville, but later marries Greville's uncle William, Lord Hamilton, the British ambassador to the Court of Naples. Despite the differences in their ages and social positions, Emma and Lord Hamilton are happy, and Emma becomes a confidante of the Queen of Naples. Years later, Emma meets English Capt. Horatio Nelson and, during the Napoleonic wars, is instrumental in gaining royal permission for him to take on badly needed water and provisions at Naples. Although initially denying their feelings, Nelson and Emma soon become lovers and live openly together. Nelson's naval victories against the French, and Emma's help to the British government during the war, lead to their return to London where they are cheered by crowds. However, because of their adulterous relationship, Emma is snubbed by English society and shunned by her husband. After Emma is denied an invitation to a royal ball in Nelson's honor, Nelson leaves his wife Fanny and retires to his country estate with Emma. They are happy for a while, but duty later calls Nelson away to head the British fleet. Although he again defeats the French, Nelson is badly wounded and dies at the Battle of Trafalgar, surrounded by his loyal men and thinking of ... +


In 1782, Emma Hart, the beautiful daughter of a cook hired by artist George Romney, is courted by his friend, Charles Greville, but later marries Greville's uncle William, Lord Hamilton, the British ambassador to the Court of Naples. Despite the differences in their ages and social positions, Emma and Lord Hamilton are happy, and Emma becomes a confidante of the Queen of Naples. Years later, Emma meets English Capt. Horatio Nelson and, during the Napoleonic wars, is instrumental in gaining royal permission for him to take on badly needed water and provisions at Naples. Although initially denying their feelings, Nelson and Emma soon become lovers and live openly together. Nelson's naval victories against the French, and Emma's help to the British government during the war, lead to their return to London where they are cheered by crowds. However, because of their adulterous relationship, Emma is snubbed by English society and shunned by her husband. After Emma is denied an invitation to a royal ball in Nelson's honor, Nelson leaves his wife Fanny and retires to his country estate with Emma. They are happy for a while, but duty later calls Nelson away to head the British fleet. Although he again defeats the French, Nelson is badly wounded and dies at the Battle of Trafalgar, surrounded by his loyal men and thinking of Emma. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.