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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure and Romance
This film, made during World War II is pure escapism. The story: Lady of the Manor by day, highway woman by night, is basically inaccurate, for in reality few people would have ventured to journey after dark, due to the atrocious condition of the roads. But this does not matter, for the romance and adventure contained in this picture is such that one can afford to take...
Published on 10 Aug. 2008 by J. M. Harman

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Had expected better...
I was disappointed in this film.

I enjoyed the story, but after reading the reviews, I was taken aback to see Margaret Lockwood hamming it up in the early scenes, registering exaggerated expressions of pure evil worthy of the villain in an old Charlie Chaplin film. She seems to have settled down as the story proceeded.

Another gripe is the quality of...
Published on 5 Sept. 2011 by Amos Spitalhatch


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adventure and Romance, 10 Aug. 2008
By 
J. M. Harman - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
This film, made during World War II is pure escapism. The story: Lady of the Manor by day, highway woman by night, is basically inaccurate, for in reality few people would have ventured to journey after dark, due to the atrocious condition of the roads. But this does not matter, for the romance and adventure contained in this picture is such that one can afford to take these liberties. An interesting parallel occurs in the sequence where Lord Skelton, (Griffith Jones) tries to persuade his wife, (Margaret Lockwood)to accompany him to London. Throughout their conversation, her face is reflected in the dressing-table mirror, thus signifying her duplicity and the `double-life` she is leading; note how her lovely eyes `light-up` at the thought of the thrill and excitement of the robbery to come!

Jerry Jackson (James Mason) and Lady Skelton, compliment each other perfectly, either when making love at the inn, or sitting astride their horses. The film demonstrates Margaret Lockwood`s acting ability, from Lady to robber. For example; when she visits the shop of Mrs. Munce (Muriel Aked) in order to obtain poison to be administered to the family steward, Hogarth (Felix Aylmer) who has discovered her secret life, she is dressed in the finest furs together with a wonderful ostrich hat and a muff, (it being winter). As she stands there, she is proud but not haughty; her flawless complexion - enhanced by a beauty-spot! - makes her the epitome of the British noblewoman. Her beauty is breathtaking; indeed, the viewer can recall that when Caroline (Patricia Roc) Introduced her to Sir Ralph she exclaimed, `Doesn`t she take your breath away!

In contrast, when she dons the guise of Barbara, the highway woman, adorned in tricorn hat, riding-cloak and tights, mounted upon her splendid horse, she looks magnificent! It is easy to understand why the three main men in her life: Sir Ralph, Jerry Jackson and Hogarth found her irresistible. True, there were no romantic feelings where Hogarth was concerned, but even he fell for her charm, when she begged him to`save her from sin` little realizing she had plotted his destruction.

From Lady Skelton`s point of view, she has virile a lover and discovered a new way of life, which makes up for her previously dull existence at home. As for Jerry Jackson, to have this beautiful noblewoman riding beside him, gives him not only a companion and a valued partner, but someone who will give him the sexual release he craves. Due to censorship rules then prevailing, this could only be hinted at, yet the viewer`s imagination is given free rein in the scene where the pair of them are seen lying together. For the first - and only - time in the film, we are by a lake. The moonlight is reflected on its surface, and Barbara looks radiantly beautiful. It is obvious that having carried out a successful robbery, they feel joy and exultation at having survived, plus the subconscious fear at the enormity the deed, for if caught they would face the gallows or transportation. What better way therefore, than to relieve their joy and fear than through sex. They have galloped to this place, and after being satisfied they are alone, dismounted from their horses and indulged in the joy of sexual union.

An earlier scene is both humorous and poignant. It happens when they are robbing a coach. Among the passengers is a very pretty girl who catches Jackson`s eye and gives him a provocative smile, which arouses Jackson, for the noblewoman`s blonde good looks are such a contrast to the dark-haired beauty of his beloved Barbara. Therefore, he sweeps this lovely creature into his arms and gives her a hearty kiss, much to Barbara`s fury; who in reply, gives the lass a hearty slap in the face! This greatly amuses Jackson! The scene also demonstrates how Lady Skelton has to re-adjust her attitude to this new life. In the course of the robbery, Jackson "pistols" (i.e. shoots) the leading coach-horse. This upsets Barbara very much, for when they ride away from the scene and stop for a rest,the beautiful girl asks sadly, `Why did you shoot that horse? I`d rather kill a man any day.` Her lover explains that no-one is more fonder of horses than he, but such a measure is necessary to avoid pursuit and capture. Then this lovely aristocrat realizes she has to re-think her outlook on life in order to be with the man she loves so dearly. This incident will prove to be of great importance later in the film when, after the pair of them having carried out a bullion robbery, the guard, Ned Cotterill, (Emrys Jones) mounts one of the coach-horses and gives chase.

Jackson, seeing Barbara is about to draw her pistol, shouts his instruction to the girl, `Aim low! Hit the horse!`The noblewoman nods to show she understands, steadies her horse, aims and fires,intending to shoot the lad`s horse from under him, but by mistake hits Ned, injuring him fatally. The lovely girl`s look of horror shows she realizes what she has done; this is made more evident when she approaches the wounded lad, crying, `Ned! Ned! I didn`t mean to hurt you! I aimed at the horse! At the horse!`. The grief in her face is obvious.

But now it is too late. When Jackson asks if the lad is dead, Barbara`s expression hardens. She knows that she has reached the cross-roads in her relationship with her lover. How ironic that this lovely girl who protested so much over the shooting of a horse, had on this occasion, meant to destroy a horse; instead, she has slain a fellow human - being. If she admits to weakness now, it will mean she must relinquish everything: her highway woman career, the thrill of robbery, plus the perfect sex she enjoys with Jackson. Therefore, her voice is hard as she answers, `Yes!` When Jackson protests, `I told you to shoot the horse!` Barbara replies cynically, `Well, we`ve got the gold haven`t we? ... it`s worth killing a man for, isn`t it?` Even if this does not reflect her true feelings.

Altogether, a wonderful piece of drama.

John Harman
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stand and Deliver, 30 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
This is a fab old movie. It's very nostalgic for me as I remember watching it on a wet Sunday afternoon and being completely shocked that a woman could be so 'wicked'. These days you might argue that it's tame but I guess it depends in your outlook. I enjoy it every time I watch it. I also could listen to James Mason till the cows come home. Basically this is a tale about a spoilt woman who becomes a highway 'man'. It is a classic and worth a watch. Hope this helps.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lusty Restoration melodrama, with Margaret Lockwood as a hard-riding highwayman, 29 April 2008
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
"When she came," says Sir Ralph about his wife, Lady Barbara, "a dark shadow crept over our lives...but it's lifting." He's speaking to Caroline, who has always loved him with a passion that was pure and true. "We shall ride again in the sunshine," Sir Ralph continues, "...sing and laugh and know happiness...and love." For those who cannot foretell the fate of evil women, no matter how spirited and beautiful they may be, read no further. The Wicked Lady may be a lusty Restoration melodrama, detested by the critics yet Britain's highest earning movie in 1946, but it has enough interest to warrant watching all the way through. This is because of the story, which centers on a, well, a wicked lady, but a lady of great spirit and energy. She's as attracted to adventure as she is bored by respectability. Fiancé stealing, highway robbery, shooting and smothering are just the spices needed to keep her love alive, to paraphrase Lorenz Hart. The other element that makes the movie watchable is the actors, particularly Margaret Lockwood as Lady Barbara and James Mason as the charming, energetic highwayman, Jerry Jackson. Jackson knows he'll wind up kicking his heels with a noose around his neck at Tyburn, but he'd rather it be later than sooner...and in-between he'd just as soon enjoy Lady Barbara.

You must picture the times. The men wear higher wigs than the women, and their hats sport more feathers than most ostriches. Dress is elaborate and décolletage is on ample display. In fact, some scenes in The Wicked Lady had to be reshot before the film could be released in the States. It was thought too many Americans would feel threatened by Margaret Lockwood's bosom.

Barbara Worth is a beautiful, bored young woman who, as amusement, steals the fiancé of her best friend, Caroline, and marries him. But the life of a well-to-do country squire in the person of Sir Ralph Skelton turns out to be boring beyond belief. When she loses a treasured brooch gambling, she decides she'll get it back after she hears of the exploits of Lucky Jerry Jackson, a highwayman. She does...and she finds the excitement as addictive as a drug. "Think of the exhilaration, the excitement and the danger," Barbara says. "Once a man has taken to the road, all else must seem tame and insipid. I don't see how he could ever give it up." Then, while holding up another carriage, she finds herself facing the real Jackson. Of course, it's not long before they form a rollicking partnership in bed as well as on the road. One thing leads to another...a spot of smothering, high-stakes robbery, a betrayal, the usual things...and before long Lady Barbara has paid the price, a bullet in her side, and alone as she dies. As we all know, a beautiful woman's sins must be washed away in blood, hers.

This may sound like a thousand other heavy-breathing romances, but The Wicked Lady after all these years still entertains. The plot's spice comes from the very idea of the heroine not being a heroine at all. Lady Barbara almost makes us sympathize with the boredom of her married life. Her husband, Sir Ralph (Griffin Jones), is a good-looking, honest man with all the charisma of a piece of toast. One of her husband's retainers, old Hogarth (Felix Aylmer), constantly spouts personal doom from the Bible. Barbara, taking to horse and pistol and robbing carriages at night, finds this activity not only spices up her life, but makes her too tired to spice up the life of her husband. Her evil (pronounced in the movie, "eee-viil") nature is highly entertaining, even when she holds down a pillow over a sick man's face.

Most importantly, the two leads shine. Margaret Lockwood was one of the most popular British actresses during the Forties. She had great looks, but she also was intelligent, humorous and knew her craft. Whatever the thing is that makes some actors vivid through the camera, she had it. James Mason as Jerry Jackson just about steals the film every time he's on screen. "Do you always take women by the throat?" asks Barbara when Jackson has his hands around her neck to demonstrate who's in charge. "No," says Jerry, "I just take them." Mason brings everything -- threat, romance, charm -- to those five words. The next year, 1947, Mason would star in Odd Man Out, one of his greatest films, then it would be on to Hollywood.

It seems to me that older movies can be enjoyed best when a person first takes a little time to learn about the film and the actors. Take Griffin Jones, the actor who plays Sir Ralph. He's skilled playing a conscientious and honorable man who makes a bad decision in marrying Barbara but tries to make the best of it. It's not a performance, however, that will stick in your mind. But if you've had the opportunity to see him as Narcy, the thoroughly vicious gang leader in 1947's They Made Me a Criminal, you'll wind up with a good deal of appreciation for his skill. And when you learn he was the father of Gemma Jones, who played Louisa Trotter in the terrific television series, The Duchess of Duke Street, it's an added pleasure.

The DVD of The Wicked Lady looks very good.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Story of Love and Treachery, 23 Jun. 2009
By 
GratuitousViolets "Ash" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
Childlike Caroline is set to marry Ralph Skelton, a handsome magistrate. Although the marriage is arranged, the two are quite fond of each other, Caroline being hopelessly in love with the man but quite shy to say so.

Caroline, being the sweet and generous person she is, invites her cousin Barbara to attend the wedding. However, Caroline fails to see that Barbara is an opportunistic schemer, and when Barbara sets her sights on Ralph for his money, nothing will get in her way.

Truly believing that Barbara is in love with Ralph, Caroline steps aside and lets them marry, despite her own heartbreak. Barbara on the other hand, is keen enough to Marry Ralph, however, is smitten with one of the guests at the wedding and already regretting her decision to marry for money.

As time passes, Barbara finds herself growing rather bored with her way of life, and while gambling with her husband's friends, she loses her broach (belonging to her deceased mother - a beloved piece of jewellery) as part of a bet and is desperate to get it back.

Posing as the famed highway man Captain Jackson, Barbara dons a mask, dresses as a man and wields a gun to hold up the carriage of her husband's friends in desperation to get the beloved piece of jewellery back. What she finds is that she has a natural talent for highway robbery, and loves the danger and excitement.

It seems, however, that this would lead her into meeting the real Captain Jackson, a Handsome roguish scoundrel who inflames her desires. Finally, she has all the excitement she could ever want, but eventually, there will always have to be consequences she didn't plan for and the only way to handle them is to show her truly wicked side.

This is one of the best black and white movies of the 40s, without a doubt. It has fun, romance, adventure, a little bit of comedy, all rolled into one. While the acting is somewhat questionable at times, we have some very fine performances by James Mason and Margaret Lockwood, and while having a somewhat complicated storyline at times, the movie is easy enough to follow. It's also interesting to note, that these events, while very loosely, mind you, are based on true events.

One thing I would mention is that the sound quality on the DVD is a little low, so you may need the volume up a little more than average.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'wicked' movie!, 11 Nov. 2009
By 
FAMOUS NAME (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
Aptly titled 'The Wicked Lady' - Margaret Lockwood is positively ruthless in this - probably her greatest and best-remembered movie from the 40s where she plays a discontented wealthy young woman with too much time on her hands. She's bored with her monotonous life - not being satisfied at ruining her best friend's up-coming marriage, she sets out to get what she wants and to destroy anything that gets in her way! When natural happiness finally does show its face, it's a little too late...

Margaret Lockwood stars alongside James Mason in this Gainsborough classic, but gets top billing! Patricia Roc gives her a good run for her money though!

I think this was the very first Margaret Lockwood film I ever saw with my mother when I was very young. She went on to tell me afterwards how she used to go to see all Lockwood's movies at the time - and I can see why!

Also features a rare and delightful role for Amy Dalby (best remembered as 'old Miss Abigail' in the original version of 'The Haunting' 1963) as an amusing 'dotty' Aunt Doll - as one half of a set of spinster twins alongside Beatrice Varley.

Great classic movie!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'wicked' movie!, 11 Nov. 2009
By 
FAMOUS NAME (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Wicked Lady (1945) (VHS Tape)
Aptly titled 'The Wicked Lady' - Margaret Lockwood is positively ruthless in this - probably her greatest and best-remembered movie from the 40s where she plays a discontented wealthy young woman with too much time on her hands. She's bored with her monotonous life - not being satisfied at ruining her best friend's up-coming marriage, she sets out to get what she wants and to destroy anything that gets in her way! When natural happiness finally does show its face, it's a little too late...

Margaret Lockwood stars alongside James Mason in this Gainsborough classic, but gets top billing! Patricia Roc gives her a good run for her money though!

I think this was the very first Margaret Lockwood film I ever saw with my mother when I was very young. She went on to tell me afterwards how she used to go to see all Lockwood's movies at the time - and I can see why!

Also features a rare and delightful role for Amy Dalby (best remembered as 'old Miss Abigail' in the original version of 'The Haunting' 1963) as an amusing 'dotty' Aunt Doll - as one half of a set of spinster twins alongside Beatrice Varley.

Great classic movie!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Stands the Test of Time., 1 Jan. 2014
By 
H. A. Weedon "Mouser" (North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
I was agreeably surprised at both the excellent sound and picture quality in this 1945 film. For me, the fact that it's in black and white makes no difference. Listening to the dialogue and watching the interplay between the various characters combines to cause the viewer to imagine that it's all in natural, everyday colours. I don't give a fig for the the opinions of those who indulge in the boring cliché about it being 'dated.' Most trees, including date palms, do not begin bearing fruit until they are many years old. I have a walnut tree in my garden that I grew from seed ten years ago. It will be many more years before it bears walnuts when it won't be dated because it will be walnutted. Life is filled with examples of things that improve with age and this film is one of them.

I have a grandson who, having watched this film, asked why they don't make good films like that any more. The plain truth is that it has that timeless, fairy tale quality that stands the test of time. Best tales, including novels, are the ones based on the fairy tale style. This is why one reads tales. Otherwise it's more interesting to read about real life happenings because, as the old cliché has it, 'truth is stranger than fiction.' That's to say, 'stranger than fiction except for fairy tales' because true fairy tales are all about enhanced reality. And this is why 'The Wicked Lady' is such a good film because it's a fairy tale possessing enhanced reality. We've all met people like the characters portrayed in the film. Life is full of 'wicked ladies' who channel their 'wickedness' into all kinds of thrillingly creative activities. This film shows us that anything a man can do a woman can do better, except that it's not a good idea for a woman to indulge in highway robbery in order to prove this. Watch and enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melodramatic Magic, 27 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
I've always loved this film. It's a vintage melodramatic guilty pleasure, the kind of film you need on an afternoon when you've got the flu.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOL, 3 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
Excellent film to have in your collection, it is way back in the day but very entertaining. One of those old classics. Delivered on time and I would use this seller again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wicked Lady, 20 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945] (DVD)
A gripping tale. The two protagonist are perfectly cast and portray their psychopathic natures without a flaw. Margaret Lockwood is of course the more terrible of the two
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The Wicked Lady [DVD] [1945]
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