Faye Dunaway turned down a role of Regan in a British television production of King Lear (1983) starring Sir Laurence Olivier to be in this movie.
This movie is notable for a whip-fight between two women, which was not in the original novel, but was already in The Wicked Lady (1945). The scene caused a controversy, as the British Board of Film Classification wanted to impose a cut, and Director Michael Winner refused to cut the notorious sequence, lobbying with such fellow director colleagues as Lindsay Anderson, Karel Reisz, and John Schlesinger, as well as author Kingsley Amis to defend retention of the scene. The scene stayed, but the movie's release was delayed.
Reportedly, Faye Dunaway had fifty hand-made silk dresses imported from France and Italy to wear as costumes in this movie.
Some of the silk on the seventeenth century silk dresses worn by Faye Dunaway was so delicate and fragile that it had to be mounted on other fabrics so as to protect and preserve it.
This movie is based on the true story of highway-woman Lady Kathleen Ferrers. The Wicked Lady lived at the Markyate Cell manor in the village of Markyate which was near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire. The name Lady Kathleen Ferrers was changed to Barbara Skelton for the novel written by Magdalen King-Hall. This book was adapted for this movie and The Wicked Lady (1945).
John Walker in "The Film Year Book Volume Two" described Sir John Gielgud in this movie as "wearing a modified Harpo Marx wig."
Director Michael Winner once said how he wanted to make this movie ever since he was a boy and saw The Wicked Lady (1945). He felt the first adaptation deserved better, as it suffered from being studio bound, with fake trees and painted backdrops.
Second of several movies in the 1980s made for The Cannon Group, Inc. by Director Michael Winner.
Last theatrical movie of Ellen Pollock, Ewen Solon, Derek Francis, and Dermot Walsh.
This was the debut theatrical movie score for Composer Tony Banks, who is best known as the keyboardist of the rock band Genesis.
Despite above the title billing and being second on the cast list, Sir Alan Bates does not turn up until forty minutes into this movie.
Mark Burns appeared in this movie as King Charles II, but during filming, Director Michael Winner could not afford to pay him even the Equity union minimum fee. Burns told him to make a donation to the Police Memorial Trust, which was run by Winner. Several years later, when Burns appeared at a magistrates court on a charge of speeding, Winner, appearing as a character witness, told the bench that the actor had given "his entire fee" for a major movie to the fund and Burns was subsequently discharged.
In the documentary Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (2014), Marina Sirtis said that she saw this movie as Director Michael Winner's way of climbing the ladder of respectability as a director. She felt that by putting naked women in the movie, he sabotaged his own production.
John Gielgud refers to the movie in his letters (published in 2004). In April 1982 he writes; "I have to be in a remake of The Wicked Lady in July here,...Michael Winner to direct. I hear he is a beast. We shall see". By August, his attitude seemed to have softened somewhat: "Then I was a faithful Malvolio steward in a Restoration tushery... Great nonsense, directed by a mad nut called Michael Winner, a foul-mouthed director with a certain charm- at least very respectful to me, though MOST unpleasant to underlings- a restless maniac mixture of George Cukor, Harpo Marx and Lionel Bart. I had two effective scenes with Miss D. who is a very Hollywood type egotistical madam with a surrounding band of satellites- husband, make-up man, wardrobe lady and so on- taking hours to change her costume and titivate between every take, so I didn't enjoy all that much".
Gregory Peck was asked to play Captain Jerry Jackson, but shunned the project because he thought the script was "dire".
This movie screened out of competition at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival. Producer Menahem Golan once said of this: "There was a dispute in Cannes that year. They appointed me as a judge in the festival and then, out of the blue, informed me that they had invited someone else instead of me. I sued them, and to settle it, they agreed to screen this movie in the competition. But it wasn't worth much, because the film wasn't good."
This is one of few movies in movie history where a highwayman has been a woman, a highwaywoman.
"Rating the Movies" described this movie as a "send-up of the original" The Wicked Lady (1945).
Director Lindsay Anderson once described this movie as being "A first-class piece of popular entertainment."
Faye Dunaway once joked about a sequel to this movie to be titled "Daughter of Wicked Lady", where she would reprise the role of Lady Barbara Skelton, playing a the character older, more matured, and mentoring a wicked daughter.
Halliwell's Film Guide wrote of this movie's controversial whip-fight sequence: "The fight owed much to a similar scene in Idol of Paris (1948) directed by Leslie Arliss in 1948." Arliss directed The Wicked Lady (1945), which featured a whip-fight, and co-wrote this adaptation. That reference was dropped since Halliwell's second edition.
The cast includes two Oscar winners: Faye Dunaway and Sir John Gielgud; and two Oscar nominees: Sir Alan Bates and Denholm Elliott.
Movie debut of Marina Sirtis (Jackson's Girl), who played Counsellor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) and its subsequent theatrical movies.
According to Marina Sirtis, right before filming her whipping scene, Director Michael Winner cut her costume off with a pair of scissors and told her to get on with it.
Playing a male highwayman in this movie, Faye Dunaway's performance in these scenes can actually be considered "drag".
Director Michael Winner says in his biography that Faye Dunaway was pissed off after Director of Photography Jack Cardiff because of a camera angle issue. Cardiff was also pissed off because of Dunaway and asked Winner to fire her. But Winner replied that Cardiff would be fired instead of the lead star Dunaway. Cardiff did not insist and forgot the whole thing.