That Hamilton Woman

April 17, 2012

Today I was in a totally unexpected Vivien Leigh mood if you take to consideration  I’m spending my time torn between writing the ending of my modern second novel whose characters have not quite the historic depth one might assume and reading biographies of Renoir, Caravaggio, studies of Freud on Leonardo’s behavior and Delacroix’s diary in a very weird combination and order… Either way, I couldn’t resist pausing whatever of the above I was doing at the time to watch a more in-theme “That Hamilton Woman” (1941), an utter delight despite being one of those silver-screen movies still not brought to color.

The atmosphere, the lines, the ornaments, the costumes, every little thing was absolutely charming, “stupendous” as Lady Emma Hamilton (aka Vivien Leigh) tended to exclaim half of the film with her lovely, velvety and extremely joyous voice! And the historic truth was, well, nicely restored to life, especially the central affair which brought the protagonists, Emma and the oh-so brave Lord Nelson (Laurence Olivier) to pitiful ruin. What incurable romance lead the lives of the two heroic lovers to tragedy! I nearly cried when he died in the ship battle in 1805 and couldn’t refrain shedding few tears when, the the end, Emma, now poor, marked by the drama she had passed through, says “there’s no then, there’s no after”. Makes one meditate a little…

Very wittily done!

The  authentic flirt of Emma Hamilton would have undoubtedly approved the representation former “Scarlett O’Hara” gave in her role, remaining probably like in the portrait above, masterpiece executed by painter George Romney whose muse she had fancied to be.

Who do you find more alluring? Dear talented Vivien or the real deal, adulterous yet intelligent and keen Emma?

Perhaps the actress looks more cunning and prone to attract gentlemen today but old Emma is rather sensuous too, although seems to have the face of a porcelain doll little too plum for our tastes…

Certainly this type of woman made history so juicy and interesting! Beauty, passion and some proud vanity can build the most arresting characters!

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