18/08/2009

THROUGH THE CENTURIES: The Duchess

As I told you, I'm moving back from a century to the previous one in my PERIOD DRAMA CHALLENGE. I started with a WWII movie CHARLOTTE GRAY (20th century), then I saw and reviewed THE BUCCANEERS set at the end of the 19th century and here we are in the 18th century England.


I saw this DVD this morning and found it terribly sad. It couldn’t have been different…set in the 18th century, the story of Georgiana Spencer Duchess of Devonshire, could but be a tragic example of the life of an intelligent, accomplished, cultured, lively woman in a male-ruled world : no freedom, no love, no self-determination.

She has to marry a man she barely knows at 17. Her mother signs a contract with the Duke of Devonshire which establishes that Georgiana will give him a male heir in exchange for a great patrimony.

Georgiana will be humiliated for being able to give birth only to daughters and will have to bear his husband’s lover under her roof, at her table, in her life.

She will bravely ask her husband for the same right, that is, to openly love the man she loves, Charles Grey.

Of course , in the end, she will have to give up her dreams. The strict social rules of the time will be respected and she will continue living a successful worldly life as the Duchess of Devonshire.

No freedom, no love, no self-determination. Are success and wealth worth all that?

Good performances - Keyra Knightley , Ralph Fiennes, Charlotte Rampling

Wonderful locations and costumes.




VISIT THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE MOVIE

The movie is based on Amanda Foreman's bestseller book

"THE DUCHESS"

Have a look here

17 comments:

Jenny Kerr said...

I loved this movie, especially the costumes! Absolutely gorgeous! I found the parallels between Georgiana Spencer and Diana Spencer very interesting. Almost like she was a modern day version of the Duchess. I have read that Charles & Camilla had been an Item for years and she knew it. Of course she was able to divorce, but when she did her taking a b/f was frowned upon. The most compelling comparison to me is the self expression through her dress. Like the Duchess, Di was a great fashionista of her day. Sadly both lead somewhat unhappy lives brought about by badly matched marriages for status. I posted about this movie when I first saw it, hehehe, it has lots of pics! http://travisandjennykerr.blogspot.com/2009/01/duchess-big-post.html

Table Talk said...

I haven't caught up with this as yet. Was it actually filmed at Chatsworth, do you know? It is one of my favourite palces and when I'm able to I like to rent a cottage near there for a week and just spend my time walking in the grounds - oh and drinking tea in the beautiful cafe as well.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Jenny Kerr & Table Talk
Thanks for commenting girls! Chatsworth? I really don't know, Ann. Your holidays near there sound like heaven to me. May I come with you next time you go?
And Jenny, you're right, you beat me! I had a look at your post. Great!

Elvira said...

"No freedom, no love, no self-determination. Are success and wealth worth all that?" Of course not!!! Very sad indeed. Thanks for the review, Maria Grazia. Besos

Luciana said...

Oh, I've watched it when it was relised last year in the cinemas (thank God this brit movie came to cinemas in Brazil!) and I've loved this movie! I felt how sad it might be to be such clever a woman in those days. Almost no one cared for that! Keira was fantastic as G!

JaneGS said...

I loved the book and thought the movie a pretty good slice of it--I felt sad watching it as well, primarily because Georgiana had so much to offer the world, brains, wit, compassion, and so much of that was wasted because of the strictures of the society in which she lived.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Elvira,Luciana & Jane GS
Thanks, you're always so kind to find time to read and comment my blog. I see you also felt sad for this extraordinary woman's destiny. I was even angry watching some scenes! Buona giornata!(have a good day!)

ayabinha said...

I really like your blog,it's cool.And I can't wait to get my hands on a "The duchess" dvd

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@ayabinha
I'm glad you appreciate my blog. Thanks for visiting and commenting.
P.S.
I had a look at your nice blog and it seems we share much.

Steph said...

I watched this movie a few months ago, and I was just so depressed after watching it. Because even though I knew it wouldn't, I still hoped it would end differently than it did.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Steph
Welcome among my followers! I also subscribed to your posts. As for the Duchess, it seems this movie, though beautiful has made many of us unhappy. Not as much as the protagonist! Thanks for your comment.Ciao!

lunarossa said...

Loved The Duchess, although I find the story very sad. Yes, the exteriors were filmed partly at Chatsworthm, Derbyshire, which is still the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The film was heavily marketed with links to Princess Diana (who is a direct descendant of Georgiana's family, The Spencers), using her image in the trailers, but I personally do not agree with the comparison as I do not agree with the “sanctification” of Princess Diana after her death. Just don’t let me start on this! As we cannot look behind the real scenes of her life, it is easy to blame who’s left. To change the subject the heat has reached England finally! Wish you all the best. Ciao. A.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@lunarossa
Ciao, Antonella! Thanks for your interesting contribution to my post. I agree with you when you say that so many people tend to sanctify a charming but wordly woman like Lady D. But you cannot deny she was rather unfortunate. Buona giornata! :)

Anonymous said...

MissBluestocking:

I loved this movie.

but I LOVED, ADORED, ADMIRED the book better. The movie is based off the biography by Amanda Foremand

Vickie said...

I also reviewed this movie, but yours was more enjoyable:)

I was disappointed in the movie. I felt like it was nothing like the book, which I enjoyed reading. There was also an upsetting scene and I was depressed after watching the movie.

Take care!

MARIA GRAZIA said...

@Vickie
Just like me then, I was even angry after watching it! Though I hadn't read the book. Thanks for dropping by, Vickie.

Sara said...

I deifnitely finde myself in accord with you. I was so mad at men of that time when I saw it! It's unbelievable how things used to be, and I just thank every woman who fought for their rights!

Finally, I also agree with you: wonderful performances of Keyra Knightley and Ralph Fiennes.