Alexander Korda dips into the files of British history for this biographical drama of Lady Hamilton and her amorous affair with naval hero Lord Nelson.
Korda makes out a sympathetic case for the scandalous (of the period) romance between the wife of a British ambassador and the great Lord Nelson. Utilizing the retrospect story device, the haggish Lady Hamilton is tossed in the Calais jail for stealing, and tells her tale to a girl of the streets.
Vivien Leigh hits the peaks with her delineation of Lady Hamilton, a vivacious girl who is pictured as a victim of men but whose ingenuity in statecraft saves the Empire. She dominates the picture throughout with her reserved love for Nelson and her determination to aid his success. Laurence Olivier’s characterization of Nelson carries the full dignity and reserve of the historical figure.
Picture shows plenty of production outlay with its series of elaborate settings. Battle of Trafalgar sequence carries intercut of cannon broadsides from the English men-of-war with too obvious miniatures of the two fleets in action.
1941: Best Sound Recording.
Nominations: Best B&W Cinematography, B&W Art Direction, Special Effects