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The Wicked Lady

Where to Watch The Wicked Lady

1983

The Wicked Lady is a swashbuckling adventure film based in historic England and set during the Restoration period. The 1983 movie, directed by Michael Winner, features the iconic Faye Dunaway, distinguished Alan Bates and legendary John Gielgud.

Faye Dunaway gives an captivating performance as the central character, Lady Barbara Skelton, a vivacious and free-spirited noblewoman. Living in the confines of 17th-century English high society's rigid norms and restrictive codes of conduct, Lady Barbara yearns for excitement in her mundane life. She cannot contain her spirit of adventure and desire for something far beyond what her aristocratic life offers.

After marrying the considerably wealthy but disappointingly plain and simple Sir Ralph Skelton, as a strategic move to maintain her position in society, Barbara realizes the dull realities of her married life fail to satisfy her ambitious and unorthodox desires. In her thirst for a more exhilarating and dangerous life, she stumbles upon a secret, which gradually leads her on an extraordinary path that she wouldn't have otherwise expected.

Alan Bates plays the role of Kit Locksby, a highwayman known for his audacious crimes. Bates portrays this character with a delightful balance of charm and menace. An unexpected encounter between Lady Barbara and Locksby significantly changes the trajectory of the story, setting the stage for an exciting series of events filled with forbidden temptations, thrilling duals, and notorious crimes.

Renowned actor John Gielgud splendidly plays the part of the witty and observant Hogarth. His potent sense of irony and wit adds a dash of comedic relief to the predominantly tense and exhilarating atmosphere of the film. John's character stands as a figure of authority and wisdom amid a set of passionate and wild characters, providing a more balanced narrative.

Equally riveting is the role of Caroline, played by Glynis Barber, who starts as Lady Barbara's innocent lady's maid but ultimately becomes a rival. The developing conflict between Caroline and Lady Barbara further fuels the narrative, escalating the drama and keeping the audience on edge.

The Wicked Lady offers an intriguing blend of drama, romance, adventure, and suspense. It carefully peels off the layers of the society of its time, shedding light on the desire for power, wealth, and the lengths people would go to amass them. Despite the title, the wicked lady is not just about Barbara's wickedness but underlines a broader spectrum of human vices pervasive in the period's high society.

Beyond its engaging plot and strong performances, the film showcases lavish production design, vividly replicating the elegance and grandeur of 17th-century England. Coupled with charming costume design, it offers a visual feast that aptly complements the rich narrative. Scenes of extravagant balls and sprawling countryside estates further lend an air of authenticity to the film, helping viewers transport back to the depicted era.

Furthermore, the musical score by Tony Banks plays a pivotal role in keeping the ambiance riveting throughout the film. It unexpressively conveys the underlying emotions, tension, and thrill, adding another layer to the storytelling and making it even more immersive for the viewers.

The Wicked Lady is not merely a movie about a high-class Englishwoman's descent into crime. It is a commentary on the shackling societal norms and restrictions, the thirst for freedom, and the pursuit of personal desires. It is about the audacious decision to challenge the orthodox, the consequences thereafter, and the eternal struggle between hedonism and morality.

At its core, the movie is a riveting exploration of human character, societal norms, and personal freedom. Enhanced by the command performance from the main cast, especially Faye Dunaway's engaging portrayal of Lady Barbara, The Wicked Lady stands as a memorable film that delivers a compelling narrative against an impressively detailed historical backdrop. It is a must-watch for fans of period dramas, exploring a lesser-known eras with an engaging story and memorable performances.

The Wicked Lady is a Drama, Adventure movie released in 1983. It has a runtime of 100. Critics and viewers have rated it mostly poor reviews, with an IMDb score of 4.8..

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4.8/10
Director
Michael Winner
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