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 Posted:   Aug 7, 2009 - 4:56 PM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Apparantly come September, Criterion will be issuing Alexander Korda's 1941 film of 'THAT HAMILTON WOMAN' starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. I will be assuming the film will look spectacular with Criterion's usual superb craftsmanship enhancing the film's Oscar nominated visuals of Art Direction-Set Decoration, Cinematography, and Special Visual Effects. Miklos Rozsa was the film's composer and I'm wondering why he didn't merit a nomination? I haven't seen the film nor heard any of his music for it, though it sounds like he would have fit it 'like a glove'. For those who've seen it and heard Rozsa's score, how's the film and the score?

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2009 - 5:20 PM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

Dave, I haven't seen the film (I think it has a kind of so-so reputation), but I have heard some of the score - there's a suite or a track or something on one of those old Rozsa compilations, and the music is absolutely, typically glorious. Rozsa WAS nominated that year for LYDIA, so maybe they couldn't nominate him for two scores the same year - I don't know how the Oscars worked back then, except that there were about a dozen or more candidates each year (?).

Anyway, THAT HAMILTON WOMAN is up there with DIANE as one of my all-time favourite Rozsa love themes. Beautiful violin work.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2009 - 5:47 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

This film was recently shown on TCM as part of a Korda festival. It is a sumptuous production and very well acted. Miss Leigh is ravishing. Rozsa's music is perfect for the film but, in the print TCM showed, the level seemed overly dialed down. Had I not known to listen for the music, it probably wouldn't have had the same impact. In any case it's a fine historical drama that is well worth watching.

 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2009 - 6:26 PM   
 By:   Jim Lochner   (Member)

Rozsa WAS nominated that year for LYDIA, so maybe they couldn't nominate him for two scores the same year - I don't know how the Oscars worked back then, except that there were about a dozen or more candidates each year (?).

From 1937-1945, every studio was allowed one nomination in the technical categories, which also included Music, hence why there were so many nominees in those categories. And since Korda did both LYDIA and THAT HAMILTON WOMAN, I can only assume that they had to pick one or the other. I only know the suite from THW and have never seen the film so I won't comment on the entire score, but I certainly like what I've heard. As for LYDIA, it's a wonderful score and I keep hoping that the original tracks show up or we get a top-notch recordings one of these days.

 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2009 - 7:37 PM   
 By:   Hester_Prin   (Member)

Lady Hamilton (1941) Love-theme

In 1939-40 Rozsa was engaged on the music for Korda's Thief of Bagdad; the score included a number of songs for which lyrics were supplied by Sir Robert Vansittart, Chief Diplomatic Adviser to the British Foreign Office.

In November 1941 he wrote in response to a letter from Rozsa, by that time settled in Hollywood, concluding thus: "Tell Alex (Korda) that I am uneasy to hear he is doing a Nelson film for a variety of reasons. One of a general nature is that, since all of the public have now been under fire, there is a certain feeling of unreality when fighting films are not played by fighting men. Hollywood feels so far from Trafalgar to us here. In any case, I hope the rather shoddy love-affair between Nelson and Lady Hamilton will be reduced to a rock-bottom minimum. That shallow lady was the least creditable part of Nelson's life. It must of course be included, but not much of it- please".

In the event Korda disregarded Vansittart's advice, and (as the title betrays) the love-affair between Emma, Lady Hamilton and the First Salior of Europe, though handied with discretion, became the focal point of the film, and inspired this tender love-theme comprising three distinct melodic entities. Lady Hamilton was a favourite film of Sir Winston Churchill who was moved to tears every time he saw it; not a little of its emotional impact must surely be attributed to the warm all-pervading sympathy of Rozsa's music.

-From ROZSA conducts ROZSA/ Christopher Palmer

 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2009 - 8:26 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

I haven't seen the film nor heard any of his music for it, though it sounds like he would have fit it 'like a glove'. For those who've seen it and heard Rozsa's score, how's the film and the score?


Montana D, there are three recordings of the 'Lady Hamilton' Love scenes suite, one with Rozsa himself and the RPO, one with Joel McNeely, and one with Morton Gould and the LSO.

It's an enjoyable flick, highly romanticised but with a touch of film noir rough edge and moody lighting too. It's broadly historically accurate except for the portrayal of Sir William Hamilton as being a bit tetchy and neglectful at his wife who 'walks out with sailors'. In fact Hamilton was a willing element in the menage a trois. The film is WWII propaganda to pull the US into the war before Pearl Harbour of course, so there's a funny 'on message' speech to Emma about 'this war business' and Napoleon/Hitler, but overall it's not a heavy-handed film. Viv is a lot more attractive than the real Emma who ballooned immensely at a certain stage in her life, and was the brunt of satirical cartoons. The flick is very sympathetic to Emma as Nelson's muse and 'a tribute to her sex'.

Rozsa's score was before his 'historical' period, but is aptly Romantic. He seems to create a seamless continuity between a glitzy conventionally Hollywood sound and a formal 19th Century Romanticism. The love themes are sumptuous. The Trafalgar battle music is hard to make out under the broadsides, and, if truth were told the 'Hearts of Oak' chorus (even though they DID sing that at Trafalgar) is pretty dated and corny, but it's overall a good score. I dunno if it merits a full CD reconstruction from A-Z but it's an ideal candidate for a Morgannastrom suite in their old Marco Polo style with some other releases.

Some clips are on YouTube, but why spoil it? It's a good film.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 7, 2009 - 8:41 PM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

THW is a magnificent piece of entertainment. I have seen it several times, most memorably at a screening by my former professor of film at N.Y.U., Mr. William K. Everson, who spoke highly of it.

Originally released in a roadshow format, when its title was LADY HAMILTON, it was later cut, I understand, by some 20 mins. or so, and released in the U.S. as THAT HAMILTON WOMAN, presumably because it was thought few would want to attend a film about a lady...

Yes, it does veer from history. There are very few historical dramas that don't veer from history...

But it has a literate script, stunning production values, a first-rate love theme, and stellar performances from Leigh and Olivier, who were at the height of their involvement together, and play together beautifully. I always remember an exchange between them, when he's reminding her of his duty, and they talk of how he is "not Mr. Smith or Mr.Thompson."

And then, there's that unbelievably romantic ending... Shocking, but appropriate, and ever so Romantic...

They just don't make films like this anymore. They are just not able to.

Enjoy it well, you who have yet to see it.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 8, 2009 - 5:29 PM   
 By:   Hendrikus   (Member)

quote "its title was LADY HAMILTON, it was later cut, I understand, by some 20 mins"

Since this has been released on a number of labels previously, (see the DVDography on the Miklos Rozsa society website www.miklosrozsa.org.) including some under precisely that title, would that mean that the they would contain those 20 minutes presumably excised from the upcoming criterion version?

 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2009 - 6:36 AM   
 By:   Doug Raynes   (Member)

quote "its title was LADY HAMILTON, it was later cut, I understand, by some 20 mins"

Since this has been released on a number of labels previously, (see the DVDography on the Miklos Rozsa society website www.miklosrozsa.org.) including some under precisely that title, would that mean that the they would contain those 20 minutes presumably excised from the upcoming criterion version?


All the various DVDs appear to be around 2 hours regardless as to whether they are titled Lady Hamilton or That Hamilton Woman. So they, and the Criterion at 124 mins, must be the original uncut version.

 
 
 Posted:   Aug 9, 2009 - 6:47 AM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)



To me, That Hamilton Woman has been alkways one of THE great unsung Rozsa scores and merits a full recording. The love theme is gorgeous and very much in Rozsas later MGM historical romance style.

Goldwyn had vid rights for years to the Korda films. Tom bodley, head of post production for Goldwyn in the nineties, restored all footage of the various versions of Lady Hamilton for the first laserdisc version. I know, because I was with him when he was working on it.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 12, 2009 - 11:03 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

I watched this 1941 film for the first time on The Criterion dvd - this is an amazing film! I thought it would be just some Hollywood film starring Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, but was unprepared for the complete, overall excellence in every single aspect of this film. The production design and interiors, particularly the inside/outside of the British Ambassador's residence in Naples is breathtaking. Rudolph Mate's expert b&w cinematography, Miklos Rozsa's lovely and stirring score (the battle of Trafalgar sounds very much like the naval battle in Ben-Hur). Alexander Korda's superb Direction of the film, and the witty and literate Screenplay. But it's The Actors, really. From the main stars of Vivien Leigh (looking even MORE beautiful than in 'Gone With The Wind') and Laurence Olivier (looking very handsome in his early scenes before his facial scarring). Gladys Cooper, Sara Algood - all the co-stars give excelent performances.
I urge those who've not seen this film to catch The Criterion dvd release. Superb entertainment!
(I'm only surprised Leigh wasn't nominated for this film.)

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2009 - 9:33 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

To me, That Hamilton Woman has been alkways one of THE great unsung Rozsa scores and merits a full recording. The love theme is gorgeous and very much in Rozsas later MGM historical romance style.

Goldwyn had vid rights for years to the Korda films. Tom bodley, head of post production for Goldwyn in the nineties, restored all footage of the various versions of Lady Hamilton for the first laserdisc version. I know, because I was with him when he was working on it.



Joe Caps - the version from Criterion - this is the restored version? I never saw the film before this past weekend and loved it immensly. Since it was a rental from Netflix I didn't read any box, and it didn't mention it in the suppliments (if it did, I missed it). I have to say one thing though, the beginning and the ending scenes: they seemed like they were filmed as an afterthought, and the ending scene I wanted to know 'more information' on how Lady Hamilton got to the level she'd sunken to. I figured it out for myself, but it just seemed that there was footage not shown as to how life's circumstances had put her where it put her.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2009 - 10:41 AM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)

If its 124 minutes, it is the restored uncut version.

I was hoping Criterion would find a music and effectstrack, as they did with Thief of Baghdad,but no such luck.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2009 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

To me, That Hamilton Woman has been alkways one of THE great unsung Rozsa scores and merits a full recording. The love theme is gorgeous and very much in Rozsas later MGM historical romance style.

Goldwyn had vid rights for years to the Korda films. Tom bodley, head of post production for Goldwyn in the nineties, restored all footage of the various versions of Lady Hamilton for the first laserdisc version. I know, because I was with him when he was working on it.



Joe Caps - the version from Criterion - this is the restored version? I never saw the film before this past weekend and loved it immensly. Since it was a rental from Netflix I didn't read any box, and it didn't mention it in the suppliments (if it did, I missed it). I have to say one thing though, the beginning and the ending scenes: they seemed like they were filmed as an afterthought, and the ending scene I wanted to know 'more information' on how Lady Hamilton got to the level she'd sunken to. I figured it out for myself, but it just seemed that there was footage not shown as to how life's circumstances had put her where it put her.




The Emma Hamilton character explains it all in her last line, stating that after Nelson died, there was nothing else. This is what makes the ending so shocking, and affecting.

She's right, too. After the loss of a great love, what else is there? Just marking time, treading water, as it were, until we too meet our own end...

 
 Posted:   Sep 14, 2009 - 11:01 AM   
 By:   Hester_Prin   (Member)

Netflix stated there is a VERY LONG WAIT on this one..... word must be getting around. I wish old British cinema was more available. Lost track of how many times I've watched the excellent GREEN FOR DANGER, also on Criterion.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2012 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   Montana Dave   (Member)

Time for another viewing and a listen to this marvelous score. I still find Leigh's performance a commanding one; and the Rozsa score.

 
 Posted:   Nov 27, 2012 - 10:02 AM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Nelson wrote his 'legacy' just before Trafalgar, in effect, requesting the British Government look favourably on Emma Hamilton in the eventuality of his death. As he stated the fleet victuals he received in Naples enabled him to make the dash to Aboukir Bay and, hence, render the French battle fleet protecting Napoleon's rear - history - the country owed her massively. This point is covered by the film in amusing Hollywood fashion. He received a full state funeral and when the money ran out, she was left with nothing.

The Battle Of Trafalgar has yet to be convincingly, if not historically accurately enacted on the big screen.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 28, 2012 - 11:54 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

To me, That Hamilton Woman has been alkways one of THE great unsung Rozsa scores and merits a full recording. The love theme is gorgeous and very much in Rozsas later MGM historical romance style.

Goldwyn had vid rights for years to the Korda films. Tom bodley, head of post production for Goldwyn in the nineties, restored all footage of the various versions of Lady Hamilton for the first laserdisc version. I know, because I was with him when he was working on it.[/endquo


Joe Caps - the version from Criterion - this is the restored version? I never saw the film before this past weekend and loved it immensly. Since it was a rental from Netflix I didn't read any box, and it didn't mention it in the suppliments (if it did, I missed it). I have to say one thing though, the beginning and the ending scenes: they seemed like they were filmed as an afterthought, and the ending scene I wanted to know 'more information' on how Lady Hamilton got to the level she'd sunken to. I figured it out for myself, but it just seemed that there was footage not shown as to how life's circumstances had put her where it put her.




The Emma Hamilton character explains it all in her last line, stating that after Nelson died, there was nothing else. This is what makes the ending so shocking, and affecting.

She's right, too. After the loss of a great love, what else is there? Just marking time, treading water, as it were, until we too meet our own end...


____________________________

I agree John.

I love Vivien as Emma - there's such poignancy in her final lines --
"And then... What happened after?"
Emma - "There is no then... there is no after."

I wonder if she felt that way when she and Olivier divorced....something about her final years suggests that she did.

 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2021 - 12:42 PM   
 By:   Tom Guernsey   (Member)

I was listening to the gorgeous love theme from THW on Hollywood '95, superbly conducted by Joel McNeely and, after posting on JWFan, a kindly poster pointed me to this thread as I am amazed nobody ever mentions this score. Had it not appeared on Hollywood '95, I doubt I'd ever have heard of it as it doesn't seem to crop up on Rozsa compilations much either. A really inspired choice for that compilation (which I think was commemorate Rozsa's recent death), a nice alternate to yet another version of Parade of the Charioteers etc.

I'm guessing the original recordings will be either lost or in very poor shape? It is a shame that this wasn't included in the Bernstein/RPO re-recordings series, it seems ideal for that. If the rest of the score is half as good as the love theme, it would be well worthy of a re-recording sometime.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 11, 2021 - 4:36 PM   
 By:   waxmanman35   (Member)

The Miklos Rozsa Society website: https://www.mrs.miklosrozsa.info/index.html
Their forum: https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/miklosrozsa

 
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