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on 12 February 2018
Goodness me, what drivel. The plus points for this film are a) a stellar cast and b) the costumes, props, and locations obviously entailed a lot of effort to make things look authentic. If you are interested in history that's quite pleasurable. Other than that, if you are interested in history, this film will make you weep. It repeats a discredited story that Lady Jane was abused by her parents for being educated and bookish, it shows her as far wimpier than she was, and worst of all, the main thrust of the story is the romance between her and Guildford Dudley, the man she was forced to marry. That is utter bunkum from start to finish. There was so much more to her story and her nine days that really bring this extraordinary young woman to life, but all we got for most of the film was utterly false lovey dovey-ness. Bleurgh. Oh, and more drivel about Guildford giving even one fig about the plight of the poor; no he didn't. No young man in his position did, but especially not a selfish brat like him. Oh, and Lady Jane 100% did not revalue the shilling. Again, why put in such nonsense? The truth is not a boring story! Hopefully one day a film will be made that shows things how they really were. How then dreadful men that put Lady Jane on the throne thinking they could control a teenage girl had a rude awakening, and how John Dudley thought that by marrying her to his son he could make his son king, only to find that Jane looked him in eye and basically said 'like fig I will' because she knew the power she held and that making him king was even more wrong than her taking Mary's crown. Let's cross our fingers for another film, but with this film's production values.
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on 26 November 2015
To mymind Cary Elwys outacts Helena Bonham Carter in this film and makes it feel unblanced. Helena Bonham Carter is unconvincing and the film isn't helped by the dialogues which I felt were poor and unrealistic, lacking real drama and depth. Also, I felt the music was not appropriate for the dramatic action when it was supposed to enhance it. I watched it through because I wanted to see what happened. But I didn't like the acting at all and felt disappointed. There ought to have been more gravity in the walk and talk of this girl, she brings no past to the role. Fifteen those days was not particularly young and she is well educated. A real disappointment for me, but I am glad there are good reviews on here. Maybe it's me.
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on 27 July 2013
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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on 7 November 2015
An Excellent Film. An Excellent Historical Drama. I first saw this film of the tragic and manipulated Nine Days Queen Jane Grey in the 1980s when the it was released in the cinemas. I was very impressed then both with the quality of the production, and the impact of a very good screenplay telling the sad and touching story of the young Jane Grey who was used to further the ruthless ambitions of her own parents and the father of her equally young husband. The film on DVD does not disappoint and has stood the test of time. The great character performances by the many eminent actors in the cast along with the beauty and the grandeur of the historical locations, make this a very memorable film.
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on 30 April 2017
Now over 30 years old with Bonham-Carter a 20-year old in one of her first films, this is worth watching for the authentic historical English country house interiors and the great based-on-facts story - not certain how accurate the history is?? It's quite badly dated in terms of the soundtrack and long-windedness of the scenes.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon 1 February 2008
"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 supposedly unhappy, unloved childhood (which may have been more popular myth than reality) 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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on 1 July 2011
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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on 29 July 2012
The film is strong on the ruthless politicking in which the likes of the more or less guile-less Jane were caught up. However, it does go on a bit, and there is much that is fanciful. The deep intense relationship between Jane and Guildford has not the slightest historical foundation, and neither does their utopian plan to improve the lot of the poor and make everything harmonious in the kingdom.

It's a good story, only weakened in my view by the intrusion of somebody's overactive imagination. I don't think the film does justice to its subject.
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on 28 July 2012
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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on 31 December 2015
The story does focus on romance.Tudor times have a popular intrest,as far as Lady Jane goes its unique.Not seen anything that covers the nine day queen.The picture quality is good,it is also well shot and directed.I think the sound track is very good indeeed,helping along a slow paced mostly romantic drama.There are better stories of the times put to film.If you are like me,looking for a complete collection,set in the Tudor times.It is certainly worth having.
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