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107 of 108 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching
I don't remember this film at all when it came out and I don't remember it ever being shown on TV, which is a real shame as I think it deserves a wider audience. There are some very fine performances notably from Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes. The acting, costumes and script are generally very good but I found the musical score a little overbearing at times...
Published on 28 May 2006 by Mr. Jeremy N. Harcourt

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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much love!
This film gave Helena Bonham-Carter her first starring role and she is very, very good in it and it is clear why she was picked up and moved up to the big league. She captures the learned petulance of Jane Gray very well and also shows her for the innocent victim that she was. The film is littered with big name RSC actors who give very BIG and rather theatrical...
Published on 7 Aug. 2011 by D. Izod


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring out the tissues, 15 April 2005
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lady Jane [DVD] (DVD)
The acting is superb and makes you feel that you are part of the action. However you do feel like telling them what to do or say. The story is loosely based on a sixteen-year-old girl Lady Jane Grey (Helena Bonham Garter) on the throne of England for just nine days in 1553, and how everyone tries to manipulate her.

The genealogy behind this can get quite complex but the story is strait forward. Naturally the costumes and scenery add to the movie. If there was any music I did not notice it.

For those who want historical accuracy, go watch a documentary. That does not make this anything less than great entertainment. It has religion for the religious, love fort the loveless, and teaches us to stick our neck out for our principles.

Did I mention that this is an engrossing film?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth watching but with some disappointing aspects, 1 July 2011
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This review is from: Lady Jane [DVD] (DVD)
I agree with many of the comments in the other reviews. I had never heard of this film but am interested in Tudor history so when it came up as a suggestion for me by Amazon I read the mainly positive reviews and decided to purchase a copy. Other contributors have mentioned the emphasis on the romance and it is a shame that the producer and script writers did not make the most of the genuinely riveting events around her story. I expect they thought the romance would sell it but I think it would have been better to have spent a few more minutes contextualising the storyline at the start. It could also have done with some re-mastering as the balance between music and dialogue left much to be desired. Still, an enjoyable film and one I will watch again but probably not as often as "A Man for All Seasons".
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate Box View of Tudor History, 25 Jun. 2011
By 
B. G. Carroll (Liverpool, England, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lady Jane [DVD] (DVD)
Trevor Nunn may be a great theatre director but he cannot make great movies. Just why he decided to make this, I cannot imagine. Given that the actual true story of Lady Jane Grey is a fascinating example of political intrigue in Tudor England, it is all the more inexplicable that Nunn opts for a Woman's Own version of the tale complete with annoying, syrupy music that lurches in style from faux 16th century to 1980s muzak.

Historical accuracy goes out the window and suddenly the 15 year old Jane (Helena Bonham Carter in her first movie, looking all the while like a petulant bush-baby) and her slightly older husband Guildford Dudley (the excessively pretty Cary Elwes) are here transformed into young lovers cast in the 'Romeo & Juliet' mould. The pace for much of this film is leaden (particularly the love scenes), and at almost 2 and a half hours, the film frequently drags. Beautiful photography and many historic locations aside, the best ingredient is the wonderful supporting cast, drawn from some of the finest acting talent in the British Isles. Yet in spite of their valiant efforts, the pompous script (replete with pretentious,talky aphorisms) never really engages with the drama. The costumes are gorgeous but all look brand new, straight from Berman & Nathan possibly. The Tudors were a grubby lot and rarely washed, but everyone in this film looks immaculate throughout.

Of course the Americans loved this chocolate-box view of history and perhaps it was actually made for the US market? The recent, equally risible TV series THE TUDORS was made for America too - given that English history is not a strong point across the pond.

LADY JANE was a critical failure in the UK on release and Mr Nunn has not made a major film since.

Thank goodness for that!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking, 28 July 2012
By 
Jess (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lady Jane [DVD] (DVD)
I was nervous to watch this film after reading Alison Weir's 'Innocent Traitor' and because it was released in '86. I was proven wrong on both counts. It holds its own interpretation, even if exaggerated as a tragic Romeo-and-Juliet-style love story (far from the truth) on the events in Jane's life, portraying her relationship with Guildford as eventually sincere. Although perhaps fictionalized, it didn't fail to move me. I was frustrated that the director left out the part where Guildford tried to see Jane before their execution, with permission from Queen Mary (this is true). Jane had refused, writing that it would 'take away the little strength we had left' because it would be too painful, and replied that she would wait by her window and wave at him and smile as he left for Tower Hill. That really did happen. Although upsetting, it would have really emphasised their parting, particularly after their final goodbye, where Jane says, 'The next time I see your face, it shall be for eternity'. (That made me weep like a baby).

The film was in excellent quality with good audio and colour. Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes' acting was superb. The only slight negative is because I watched this with my mother (who I had to explain a lot of things to) I think this could be a little confusing to watch without any background knowledge.

That said it is so nice to have a full-feature focusing on Lady Jane Grey. I'm so glad I bought this, it is a keeper in my DVD collection! I hope another movie or TV drama is made on Jane and her story in the near future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A watchable enough period piece that loses almost everything of interest in the true story, 1 Feb. 2008
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lady Jane [DVD] (DVD)
"You will be tried... and naturally you will be condemned to death, but, of course, I have the power of reprieve, which at present I intend to use."
"With no conditions?"
"Well, it would help if you promised not to steal my throne again!"

While such direlogue is thankfully in the minority, Lady Jane is still a film that some of its makers still seem to pretend doesn't exist: a very undistinguished debut for Helena Bonham Carter that she never talks about and enough of a financial disaster for director Trevor Nunn to later claim that his 1996 version of Twelfth Night was his screen directorial debut. Made during the British film industry's dark days of the mid-80s in a failed attempt to recapture the audience for the likes of Anne of the Thousand Days and A Man For All Seasons, it was one of only two films made by Paramount's much-hyped British production arm before they shut up shop (the Ralph Fiennes-Juliette Binoche Wuthering Heights was the other). It may have opened to even more public indifference than Elizabeth: The Golden Age but it's rather better than you might expect even if it is never quite good enough.

Lady Jane Grey's brief nine day reign as queen of England had been given a much-fictionalised screen treatment before in 1936's Tudor Rose, but this version had some (almost entirely unrealised) aspirations towards historical accuracy even if it does turn Jane and her wastrel husband Guildford Dudley (a name that sounds more like a bicycle race than a possible king) into doomed lovers when they hated each other all the way to the executioners' block. Both were very much puppets of their parents' ambitions: the dying young King Edward's protector Lord Dudley wanted to ensure the elevation of his own family from commoners to nobility to royalty under the guise of ensuring the succession of a Protestant monarch to protect the fledging Reformed Church, and the social-climbing Suffolks rather liked the idea of becoming royalty (though it was actually Jane's mother who had precedence in the line of succession) while their offspring had no say in the matter even if it was to cost them their lives. The film is at its best in showing the conflict between a young generation that had embraced the then-excitement and new ideas of a religion rejecting Rome and without arcane ritual and an older generation that had either profited handsomely from the dissolution of the monasteries or had suffered grievously and wanted to restore the old religion and with it the old status quo, although it never makes the obvious link between Jane's ferocious religious fanaticism and the unhappy, unloved childhood that appears to have driven her towards it in much the same way that the ostracised Queen Mary was drawn to her fanatical Catholicism.

Unfortunately, Nunn's direction is even more of a major problem than a watered-down script. He's fine when people are talking, even if they're walking at the same time, yet any more complicated form of action seems completely beyond him. And in this case action doesn't just apply to a pub brawl that's shot like badly blocked and under-rehearsed 50s television but scenes like Lady Jane throwing a fit in a room and knocking the silverware on the floor while supporting players very, very slowly try not to catch up with her and stop her: the camera is in the wrong place, the timing wildly misjudged, the actors' movements horribly unconvincing. They're the kind of mistakes you'd expect from an amateur movie maker's first efforts, not someone with a decent budget and a cinematographer with as much experience as Douglas Slocombe to advise him, and they make you half-glad that the modest budget didn't stretch to filming the story's offscreen battles. He also gives away his theatre background by framing many shots as if for the proscenium arch, never really embracing the possibilities and freedom of the movie camera.

Nor does he get the most out of some of the cast. Old pros like John Wood, Michael Hordern, Jane Lapatoire and Joss Ackland are fine (though most of the older actors have little, if anything, to do), as are Warren Saire as the dying young King Edward and, for the most part, Cary Elwes as young Dudley, but Bonham Carter's performance is particularly problematic. Looking even younger than her character's 16 years and nothing like the freckle-faced redhead of history, her performance is often awkward and fairly consistently unlikeable, making Jane less a tragic figure and more of a petulant Catholic-baiting little madam who got what was coming to her, a Tudor Wednesday Addams rather than a Tudor Rose. At times she looks less like a lost soul than a panicking inexperienced actress deliberately cast adrift without being told what she's supposed to do, desperately looking to the sidelines for help that's not forthcoming, all too often leaving you feeling sorry for the actress but nothing for the character. To be fair it seems to be more a problem of direction and it's not hard to guess which scenes were shot first from her awkwardness, although she visibly gains confidence as the film progresses.

Yet it's not all bad. It does show what a disastrous queen she would have made, although the film does give the impression that Jane and Guilford were a pair of hippie libertarians - indeed, with its Romeo and Juliet love story and bucolic romantic montage sequence you almost get the impression that this was intended as a Franco Zeffirelli film a la Brother Sun, Sister Moon. Bonham Carter's brief scenes with Hordern's Dr Feckenham where they pit their faiths against each other are the best in the picture and it's a pity there aren't more of them in David Edgar's screenplay, while the end is touching despite being almost as clumsily staged as the real execution (it's a tastefully bloodless affair here, though, quite unlike the reports of the real thing: one observer was moved to note that he couldn't believe so much blood could come from such a small body). Stephen Oliver's excellent score is good enough to make it a genuine shame that he never got to write any more, adding him to that list of talented British composers like Marc Wilkinson and Raymond Leppard who never got the breaks their gifts deserved. At the end of the day it's a watchable enough period piece for a Sunday afternoon, but one that probably plays better on TV than it did on the big screen.

The widescreen 1.85:1 DVD transfer is acceptable, though the stereo track impresses more. The only extra is a decent black and white stills gallery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good bits but too many not so good bits sorry!!, 27 July 2013
By 
Mrs. D. Surrey "Castell" (Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lady Jane [DVD] (DVD)
I love Helena-Bonham Carter,and I have for some reason never watched this previously.I was very disappointed in most of it.The historical content is vastly incorrect,even if you give and take a good slice of poetic licence.
There are some very good names in this film and I was surprised that even they could not lift this at all ~~ well, for me anyway.
I did think that King Edward gave a very good performance,but not sure about the evidence of "keeping him alive for a bit longer!!!" exists in any history book.Although I do believe that the ruling classes then would try anything to further their families climb up the proverbial Tudor ladder.
The outlandish behaviour of Guildford was over the top,he looked far too modern,his hairstyle was immaculate with a 1990's style.
I always say a good book is one you can read and read again,and a good film should be the same.We should be more than eager to watch a good film over and perhaps over again.I cannot say with hand on heart that I would ever want to watch this film again,it bored me to tears.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful., 15 April 2007
By 
Lauraloo (Gloucestershire, England GB) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lady Jane [DVD] (DVD)
A very moving film. Two young people thrown together in marriage, arranged by their parents craving for power. Not liking each other then falling in love, Jane is made Queen without any knowlege of how to be queen. Then overthrown by Mary who has them both beheaded.

A very sad story but very good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb, if not entirely true to the facts, 19 Jun. 2014
By 
sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Lady Jane [DVD] (DVD)
Tremendously enjoyable movie based on the tragic story of a studious 16 year old girl, forced into marriage, and shortly thereafter to seize the throne, by her ambitious family - a move that ended in her beheading.
I was motivated to watch this after visiting Lady Jane's childhood home, and after reading her biography. The film didn't square too well with the latter - Helena Bonham Carter (brilliant in this role) portrays Jane as an increasingly immature and lovestruck teen. She, under the tutelage of husband Guildford, begins to see how the poor are ill-treated, and upon her coronation starts boldly making grand plans to improve their lot. I'm not sure about any of that... Or about the romance...
However watch it with an awareness that it's not entirely historically accurate, and it's certainly tremendously well-acted and brings this episode of history to life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring out the tissues, 21 April 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Lady Jane [VHS] (VHS Tape)
The acting is superb and makes you feel that you are part of the action. However you do feel like telling them what to do or say. The story is loosely based on a sixteen-year-old girl Lady Jane Grey (Helena Bonham Garter) on the throne of England for just nine days in 1553, and how everyone tries to manipulate her.

The genealogy behind this can get quite complex but the story is strait forward. Naturally the costumes and scenery add to the movie. If there was any music I did not notice it.

For those who want historical accuracy, go watch a documentary. That does not make this anything less than great entertainment. It has religion for the religious, love fort the loveless, and teaches us to stick our neck out for our principles.

Did I mention that this is an engrossing film?
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly done and acted., 23 July 2006
By 
J. Hutchings "jjhutchings" (Framlingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lady Jane [DVD] (DVD)
This film is superbly acted, directed and carried out - the sets, music and script are all wonderful. The acting is exemplary, even from the two young leads who display the talent that would propel them into their careers. Also, as such a truly harrowing story, it is crafted well enough to draw huge sympathy.

A simply wonderful film that is unrightly neglected.
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Lady  Jane [DVD]
Lady Jane [DVD] by Trevor Nunn (DVD - 2004)
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