It's another episode of "The Furniture," Daniel Walber's new series
75 years ago, the United Kingdom was standing nearly alone against the growing might of Nazi Germany. It remained unclear whether the United States would enter the war. And so, from within Hollywood, Alexander Korda set out to help sway American public opinion toward the Union Jack.
That Hamilton Woman was released on April 30th, 1941. Its propagandistic portrayal of Lord Horatio Nelson and his victory over Napoleon’s navy nearly got Korda into very real legal trouble as a foreign agent. His appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was scheduled for December 12th, but the attack on Pearl Harbor saved the director’s skin. Three quarters of a century later, its reputation rests not on its patriotism, but on its lush melodrama. It continues to enchant as a ravishing portrait of adulterous romance, art imitating the lives of stars Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. He’s Nelson, she the titular Emma, Lady Hamilton who stole his heart and paid the price. [More...]