9 June 2016

THE WICKED LADY. (1983) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THE WICKED LADY. (1983) DIRECTED BY MICHAEL WINNER. STARRING FAYE DUNAWAY, DENHOLM ELLIOTT, GLYNIS BARBER, OLIVER TOBIAS, PRUNELLA SCALES, ALAN BATES, JOAN HICKSON, JOHN SAVIDENT, JOHN GIELGUD AND MARINA SIRTIS. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This highly entertaining period melodrama is a re-make of the 1945 film of the same name. Now, I haven't seen the original movie but I'd be surprised if it was as boisterously enjoyable as the re-make. It certainly couldn't be sexier, in my humble opinion...!

THE WICKED LADY is deliciously bawdy. It has boobs in it, nudity, boobs, sex, nudie girl-on-girl sexy whipping and boobs again. Soooooo many boobs. It's set in Jolly Old Englande in the time of the Restoration, if that was the time when the King (was it Charles?) and all his courtiers wore those long elaborate ringleted wigs and the womens' bosoms were pushed up so high by their corsets that they could have used 'em as a tray and rested their dinner on 'em.

Faye Dunaway, who plays a bitch like no other woman can (except for maybe Joan Collins), is superb as the titular 'Wicked Lady,' otherwise known as Lady Barbara Skelton. Remember when Ms. Dunaway portrayed Joan Crawford in MOMMIE DEAREST? She was unforgettable, and so like the legendary actress physically that it was, as they say, uncanny.

Anyway, in this debauched romp of a film she's strikingly beautiful and sensuous once more, but she's a hard-headed money-grabber too. You can't really blame her. I suppose women really had to look out for themselves in those days. Unless you were rich or beautiful (or both), you had a hard time of it and your choices were limited. Prostitution, thieving, starvation or the gallows, if Charles Dickens and his literary ilk have taught us anything...!

Barbara takes the wealthy Denholm Elliott off her sappy cousin Caroline because she can, but she soon grows bored with him because he's old and, well, boring. She resents being buried in Sir Ralph's mansion in the countryside away from the hustle and bustle of London. I don't exactly feel sorry for her troubles. I'd happily put up with a dreary hubby if he came with a house that resembles Buckingham bleedin' Palace and coffers groaning with gold coins.

She's fed-up and disillusioned until a twist of fate sees her turn to highway robbery (literally) as a means of quenching her boredom and spicing up her dull life.

She loves the thrill and excitement of being a female highwayman(!) but, when she falls in with the notorious and charismatic robber Captain Jerry Jackson and becomes his 'doxy' as well as his partner-in-crime, things start becoming complicated.

Lady Skelton can hardly expect to keep her noble identity a secret forever when she's holding up coaches and carriages left, right and centre, can she? And when murder-most-foul comes into the picture and the gallows beckons, the stakes are suddenly higher than the headstrong Barbara could ever have imagined they would be. Cue the ominous music...!

This wonderful movie, which is coming to DVD for the first time on July 4th 2016 courtesy of SECOND SIGHT FILMS, certainly has an all-star cast. Prunella Scales (Basil Fawlty's acid-tongued wife Sybil in hilarious sitcom FAWLTY TOWERS) is brilliant as the only woman in the whole film who can out-bitch Barbara, the Queen Bitch. The fur really flies when these two get together.

Dear old Joan Hickson from the CARRY ON and other films is just perfect as Sir Ralph's chief Auntie, Agatha. She was old even back then, which is kind of sweet. Oliver THE STUD Tobias (speaking of Joan Collins!) is cute and sexy and we see him naked when he rogers DEMPSEY AND MAKEPEACE, otherwise known as Glynis Barber, in front of a roaring fire. He certainly has a lovely backside.

John Savident, who for years marvellously portrayed Master-Butcher Fred Elliott (I say, Master-Butcher Fred Elliott...!) in Britain's longest-running soap opera, CORONATION STREET, was surely born to play a lewd, bawdy gourmand-voluptuary-type with a long ringleted wig atop his bonce in a period drama.

John Gielgud excels too as the pious butler who abhors 'sinning and skating, skating and sinning' and looks askance on the serving-girls of the house doing it (sex, that is!) with the footmen. He thinks they're no better than a bunch of rutting dogs, the lot of 'em. He has his work cut out for him with the amoral Lady Skelton. Is there nothing she wouldn't do to get what she wants...?

The costumes and interiors are bloody gorgeous. There are some beautiful shots, too, of the green rolling English countryside that would take your breath away. My favourite scene, however, would have to be the sexy nudie boobie girl-on-girl whipping scene, something I probably have in common with most people who've seen the movie.

It's great fun to watch, the whipping scene, even if the bloodthirstiness of the crowd would give you the heebie-jeebies. The scene is apparently quite notorious and caused a bit of a hoo-ha with the censors way back when. You can kind of imagine why. Now you're dying to see it, aren't you? Go on, admit it...!

By the way, especially for you lovely sci-fi nerds out there, the beauty who's stripped to the waist and being so cruelly used in public in front of a ravenous crowd is Marina Sirtis, who went on to play the even more beautiful counsellor Deanna Troi on popular television series STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. Now don't you want to see the movie even more? Go on, there's no shame in it...!

Anyway, if you're in the mood for a jolly good Ye Olde English period drama complete with corsets, muskets and good old-fashioned hangings, this is the film for you. It's a romp and a half...!

   AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com







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