Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    Other reviewers are right - Michael Winner's remake of the vintage classic The Wicked Lady turns out more like "Carry On Dick" only with bigger star names.

    I can only assume the film was intended to be a comedy, but it's hard to tell as the film wavers all over the place. Faye Dunaway and Alan Bates act like they are in an uproarious bawdy romp, but the rest of the cast play it straight. Faye Dunaway is particularly odd, she continuously pulls the most bizarre comedy faces and bugs her eyes out in an effort to portray the scheming and greedy personality of the lead character Lady Barbara Skelton, whose exploits form the main story of the film. There's definitely a juicy tale here, with Lady Skelton robbing, seducing, lying and murdering her way through the cast to get what she wants, but the presentation here really wastes the material. The events of the story are dashed through at great speed, giving the viewer little chance to empathise with any of the characters, but as most of the emotions are portrayed in such a throwaway manner, I certainly never felt drawn in. Again Dunaway suggests no depth to the character she plays. But the presentation of the action is the real offender. There's no time for anything to sink in. As soon as the film starts, Lady Skelton is stealing a man, then next minute she's married, then stealing, then tricking, all without pausing for breath

    There are some things to enjoy, including the beautiful English scenery and antique architecture, plus some nice performances from Denham Elliott and Prunella Scales in supporting roles, but the smaller parts, such as bawdy waitresses and strumpets (of which there are many), are wretchedly hammy. There are many scenes of nudity, all of which look completely incongruous for the period the film is set in, and exist only for titillation.

    To sum up this is a very juvenile film with little depth, and a huge waste of talent and money.