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Saturday, October 18

Keira Knightley is The Duchess: Have You Seen It Yet?

Top on my list of must see movies this fall is The Duchess staring Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice 2005) as Georgiana Cavendish, the Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806). The movie is based on Amanda Foreman’s best selling and highly acclaimed biography of the scandalous life of the 18th-century English aristocrat, socialite, political activist, and fashion icon for her generation. The screenplay is by Jeffery Hatcher (Casanova 2005), Anders Thomas Jensen and Saul Dibb, and directed by Saul Dibb.

From the movie trailer, the costumes look sumptuous and the on-location shoots at Chatsworth, Bath, Somerset House and others look very impressive.

The cast is quite impressive and includes many actors with Jane Austen connections.

Keira Knightley as Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice 2005)

Ralph Fiennes as William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire (Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 2007)

Hayley Atwell as Bess Foster (Mary Crawford in Mansfield Park 2007)

Charlotte Rampling as Lady Spencer

Dominic Cooper as Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey (John Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility (2007)

Aidan McArdle as Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Simon McBurney as Charles James Fox

Alistair Petrie as Heaton (Robert Martin in Emma 1996)

Michael O’Conner - Costume Designer

Rachel Portman – Original Music (Emma 1996)

So, gentle readers – have you seen it? I am anxious for opinions on the performances, locations, costumes and story, so do tell!

Watch the movie trailer

Posted by Laurel Ann, Austenprose


Chus said...

The Duchess: new film of Keira Knightley

Rose of Malice said...

I haven't seen The Duchess yet, but I do want to!!

nigel said...

On my to do list.....

mjmbecky said...

Yes, it was beautiful and sweeping in its storyline. And yet...for an escape into a period drama, this one left me sullen, sad, and angry at repressive societies in general. I'm not saying that it's not good, but my strong feelings of injustice left me a bit down for the rest of the evening.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen it yet, and am not sure if I want to. I read Amanda Foreman's biography of Georgiana, which the movie is supposed to be based on (which in itself seems odd to me--if you are going to make a movie about a historical personage, why base it on a biography? Why not go directly to the existing source material [letters, diaries, etc]? I guess it saves you a lot of work, but still.) Anyway, the biography was well-written and interesting, but left me sad at the way these people (G. and her "set"), who were born with every advantage, completely debauched and wasted their lives. I wanted to shake all of them. It gave me interesting insight into the Prince Regent and the "Carlton Set"--what a bunch of profligate, amoral people! I admire some things about Georgiana--she wanted to do good things with her life, and help bring about political change, but she couldn't get a grip on her own personal life--control her spending and stop gambling. What a waste of a life. It makes me sad.

I may have just talked myself into not seeing it. :) LOL

SEJL said...

I saw the movie and I must say I agree with mjmbecky. The costumes were divine, as was the acting and cinematography, but it left me a bit depressed and angry. I did read the bio by Foreman, so I knew what I was getting into, but seeing it on screen made it all the more real.

Laurel Ann said...

Davepear - to answer your question on why make a movie on a biography - yes, they could have gone to the original source material, but movie makers like to take advantage of a work like Foreman's bio that was a best seller and critically acclaimed because it already has a prescence with the public and acceptance by critics. Just good business. MGM did this also in 1940 when they bought the rights to the stage play of P&P by Helen Jerome, even though they completely re-wrote it. In the end it did not resemble the original medium, and that is what appears to have happened with the movie The Duchess too.

The aristocrats and Royalty might have led wasted lives, but they do serve for entertainment. ;)

Cheers, Laurel Ann

katie t said...

i'm new to your blog and love it...and i loved "the duchess" and keira came through once more!

Anonymous said...

I recently saw the Duchess and it was very, very good! It was slow paced, but there were many touching scenes, and Keira did a good job (even better than P&P!)