The Devil's Whore (2008)
Director: Peter Flannery, Martine Brant.
Starring: Andrea Riseborough (Angelica Fanshawe), Dominic West (Oliver Cromwell), Tom Goodman-Hill (John Lilburne), John Simm (Edward Sexby), Maxine Peake (Elizabeth Lilburne), Michael Fassbender (Thomas Rainsborough), Tim McInnerny (Joliffe), Peter Capaldi (King Charles I), Rob van Vuuren ((The Devil), Adrian Schiller (John Thurloe), Al Weaver (Christian), Peter Terry (Commons Speaker). David Sherwood (Juxon Bishop Confessor).
tv mini-series; an aristocratic lady goes through trials and tribulations because of problems associated with the English Civil War
Good mini-series. Lots of action with pretty Andreas Risborough as non-conformist Angelica Fanshawe. Covers a lot of history about King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and Charles II.
The Palace of Whitehall, London 1638. Angelica Fanshawe is getting married today to a man named Harry.
Flashback. Angelica was born when her mother's Catholic priest was killed. Catholicism in England was seen as high treason. Cousin Harry was her father's heir and Angelica's childhood playmate. Angelica shows Harry a secret passageway from outside into the house. The Catholic priest used to use it.
Mother was not well. The Virgin Mary told her to forget all about Angelica and go to a nunnery in France. When her mother left for France, Angelica was very distraught. She begged her mother not to leave her. She becomes very defiant. She runs out in a thunder storm to yell out: "If there be a God that steals mothers, strike me down!" Nothing happens, so she says that there is no God! But then she sees a devil up in the tree near her.
Back to the present. Angelica is getting married today. His Highness says to his friend Harry that the Queen said Angelica was wild as a colt when she first came to court.
Outside Angelica's window a man is being lashed with a whip. The man's name is John Lilburne. He says that the King is a tyrant that will not let his Parliament sit. And Charles Stuart has no divine right to rule England. A man asks if John will recant the words he wrote in his pamphlet. The crowd and his wife tell him not to recant. So John is whipped some more.
Plague Pits at the Spitel Field near London. The Plague victims are buried in mass graves. A man named Sexby looks over the mass graves. He is going to go to work for His Highness, the King's nephew. His Majesty asks him is there's no one left to kill in Germany? His Majesty says Sexby traveled all this way for nothing because he has no need of the killer. Sexby sees Angelica walk by and he asks the King who is that girl? The King tells Sexby to remember his lowly place. Nevertheless, he now says he thinks he may have a job for Sexby after all.
The wife of the man whipped this morning asks help from Angelica. She suggests that perhaps the Queen can do something for her as a wedding favor. A lady in waiting comes over to Angelica and tells her that the woman's husband is John Lilburne, the villain that wrote so many lies about His Majesty. Angelica tells Mrs. Lilburne that His Majesty is a second father to her. The woman is grabbed by a guard and escorted out.
Angelica marries. After the reception dinner, she takes off her garter and throws it out to a bunch of waiting young men trying to grab the prize. The job that Sexby has is to retrieve the garters from the fellow who captures the garters that Angelica threw to the crowd. With a knife to the young man's throat, Sexby gets both garters.
Harry in bed does not seem that enthused about having sex with his bride. The King's nephew stops by the marital bed to encourage Harry to do his duty in bed. They finally kiss.
Fanshawe House near Oxford. Angelica says so Fanshawe married Fanshwawe. We married for love.
One day Elizabeth Lilburne comes to see Angelica in her new home. Harry says to Elizabeth that he received a letter from her husband and he demands that Harry intercede on the side of justice and liberty. Harry obviously doesn't like Elizabeth or her husband John. Elizabeth says she has come here to save her husband from a slow death in the Fleet Prison. She says John will not beg, but she will on his behalf. John's only demand is that the King let Parliament sit so he may hear the grievances of the people. Harry tells the woman that she can go now. When Elizabeth leaves, Harry scolds Angelica for interfering in matters that she knows nothing about.
Sexby is working as a servant in Angelica's home. She asks him why does he always stare at her so? He says nothing. Angelica says that Prince Rupert said that Sexby was a good man for a fight, so she wants him to take her to the Fleet Prison.
Sexby takes Angelica into the jail. She gets to talk of John Lilburne. She says she has come to be of service to him. He and his aides laugh at the very idea. Cromwell is one of those aides. She says she can help him get His Majesty's forgiveness. Lilburne says he would sooner take another 500 lashes than ever apologize to the King.
Angelica has to go back empty-handed. One of Lilburne's aide, Rainsborough, says to Angelica that John loves his crown of thorns, but he has an honest heart.
The King actually lets the Parliament sit. Cromwell is one of the members of Parliament. And he stands up to ask where's the justice for John Lilburne? He asks that Parliament ask for the immediate release of Honest John Lilburne!
Angelica asks Sexby a lot of questions about what he thinks of what she did and of what he thinks of Rainsborough. Sexby speaks out plainly. Then Angelica, knowing that Sexby is a paid fighter, asks him what is he doing in her employ performing lowly tasks for her? Sexby answers that he is waiting for the killing to start.
At dinner Harry is upset because a mob forced the release of John Lilburne from prison. He says this is anarchy. Angelica says that the people have grievances, but Harry is not a democratic man. The people are the King's subjects, the King rules and the subjects obey. It's that simple in his world. He goes on to say that the members of Parliament are traitors. And now they must give up five of their most vociferous royalist critics to the King. Every time Angelica says something, Harry tells her that it's not something for Angelica to think about.
After having sex with his wife, Harry asks her why do people mock him? Even on his wedding day, people mocked him. He says the men said about her that she is a pleasure for all men. Now he asks: "Are you a whore, madam?" He also wants to know if when the devil came to her, did he enter her? Angelica protests that she was only a young girl at the time.
King Charles I tells his court that the House refuses his request. He adds: "I will be master of my enemies."
In Parliament, it is announced that the King comes with armed men. Some of the members of Parliament run out of the House.
The King takes over in Parliament. He says that there are five members that are traitors. He orders the Parliament to point them out to him. The speaker says he can only say what the members of Parliament want him to say. The King says it's no matter. He can see himself that the men he wants have already left the House.
In the royal court Angelica goes to see Harry and he tells her that London is lost. Apprentice bands are sacking houses and the militia has been called out.
The King tells his wife that they will leave from London as soon as it is dark. Angelica goes over to the King and curtsies to him. She tells the King that the members of Parliament need not be the King's enemies. His Majesty can't believe what he hears. Harry immediately starts apologizing for Angelica. The King tells the couple: "Leave us."
And now it's war.
Edge Hill, Kineton, 1642. The battle begins. Cromwell leads a charge of the Parliamentary cavalry. Sexby is at the battle. Harry comes to him to ask Sexby where is his honor? Sexby asks him where are his men? Sexby says they are halfway to Kineton, seeking Harry. Harry tells Sexby to follow him for he still commands Sexby. Sexby says he doesn't follow boys. Harry now sees his wife's wedding garter decorating the left arm of Sexby. He asks Sexby how came he by that? Sexby is not going to give the garter ribbon back. Instead, he threatens to kill Harry, but lets him ride off instead.
Sexby returns to the fight. He sees John Lilburne fighting and he comes out to help John. Harry on his horse, sees Sexby killing royalist soldiers and goes after him. He shouts out "traitor" and slashes Sexby. Sexby goes down.
During the night on the battlefield, Sexby still lives. He dreams that Angelica comes out to the battlefield and walks over to him. Thomas Rainsborough finds Sexby still alive and he and a buddy carry Sexby off the battlefield.
Angelica says that the fight at Kineton settled nothing at all. It was only the beginning. Blood was spilled in all corners of the land.
Croyland Abbey, The Fens. Christmas Day, 1643. Rainsborough and Cromwell are launching a surprise attack by coming by boats on floodwaters. They set up their cannon on dry land. Cromwell is worried what will happen to the women and children in a surprise attack. Thomas is not concerned about it. The cannons start firing at the Abbey. The people are outside on Christmas Day. They parlay with Thomas, but Thomas threatens them with total destruction and the people surrender the Abbey to Thomas and Cromwell without a fight.
The King's Court in Christ Church, Oxford. The King and Queen are having supper at a dinner party. The Queen tells Angelica that the King has recalled Harry from the West Country, but she can't go to her house yet. She has to wait until Harry sends for her. A messenger arrives and the King sends almost everybody out of the room. The message is that on Christmas Day the Abbey at Croyland was taken by Colonels Cromwell and Rainsborough. The Abbey was surrendered to the Colonels. The King says to the commander: "Well, you sir, will never command men hereafter." The King and Queen start leaving the room. He stops to say that the enemy has more stomach for the fight than we do. We shall never see London again.
With two guards, Angelica is going home. She is attacked and her two guards shot. In the fight Angelica escapes on her horse and makes it all the way to Fanshawe. Harry tells her that she shall have the pleasure of watching the bandits die. He sends men out after the bandits. Angelica is happy to see Harry, but Harry complains that his letter was perfectly clear that she was to wait to be brought out to Fanshawe. He says men are dead because she thought differently. She says she missed her friend boy. He gets offended again saying that she is still looking for Harry the boy. "I am Colonel Harry Fanshawe!" Angelica says: "I'm yours to command, Colonel."
At night Harry has Angelica take off her robe for him. They have sex. (brief nudity) She tells her master to take her, and that makes Harry mad too, because he says that's just the way the whores in camp talk. Angelica is pretty fed up with her difficult husband and she gets out from under him.
Parliamentary Camp, Newbury, October 1644. The Earl of Manchester, the Commander-in-Chief, tells Rainsborough and Cromwell about an upcoming battle: "I believe the King will not press the fight. Let the winter come on. Let time heal our wounds." Rainsborough says he would rather march to Oxford and pull the King from his lair. Cromwell says with the Earl of Manchester's attitude, why did they declare war in the first place? And now maybe they should sue for peace, no matter how base.
Rainsborough and Cromwell both ask their commander to at least speak to the men for a moment for this will raise their spirits. They come upon Major John Lilburne preaching his message of egalitarianism to the men. The Commander wants to know who is this man? It's Major John Lilburne, who fought so gallantly at Kineton and Marston Field. John will not bow to the Commander, says that he will hang first. Sexby puts a pistol up to one of the soldiers with his hands on Lilburne. Cromwell has to intervene to stop this. He tells John to bow or he himself will see to it that John is hanged. John bows. The Commander proceeds on. Now Sexby is mad and says he will not more fight for Parliament when Lilburne has to bow before a hog like Manchester. He leavea the camp.
Lilburne says: "He spoke the truth. There are too many like Mr. Montagu (the Commander) that have too much to lose by our victory."
The Roundheads come to burn down Fanshawe. Rainsborough tells Col. Fanshawe who he is, but Fanshawe already knows. The Roundheads will let the women leave the estate with travel passes. Angelica says she will not leave. She is ready to fight them. This just makes her husband mad at her again. Back in the mansion he demands that she leave the mansion with the women. She still won't go. So the white flag is raised in the front of the mansion.
Harry and Angelica appear before the King and Queen. The King scolds Angelica for not obeying her husband and scolds Harry for not subduing his wife. He tells Angelica that she may stay in Oxford, "but expect nothing from the Queen's household evermore." Then to Harry he gives the death sentence.
Harry faces the firing squad. He is visibly shaking. He asks where's his wife. She runs out to him and the man in charge lets them be with each other for a little while. Angelica sobs: "I have done this, Harry. I have done this." He tells her to pray for him. Now she has to let go. Harry is blindfolded again. The order to fire is given and Harry drops dead. And now Angelica sees the devil once again on top of a roof.
In the rain, Angelica sits with her back to a wall. Two men see her and they have a little dispute of who will get her. Brother Chimney tells Brother Joliffe that he saw her first. Angelica excepts Brother Chimney's invitation to a hot meal.
During dinner, he tries to take her hand in his hand, but she pulls it away from him. She asks what does he do? He sells corn to the King's Court. After Angelica finishes, Chimney demands sex from her. When she tries to get out of it, he smacks her across the face. Now he comes at her despite the fact that she is holding out a knife. He runs right into the knife which sticks in his throat.
Cromwell splits over political differences with Rainsborough. Rainsborough sides more with the philosophy of Lilburne than does Cromwell. Lilburne himself now speaks out against the greed of Parliament and gets arrested again.
Bandits set a trap for Sexby, who is skinning a rabbit. They hang him upside down and taunt him by firing shots that just miss him. Who should come around on her horse, but Angelica. She has a pistol with her. She shoots one of the bandits in the leg and he goes down. The other bandit runs away. Angelica helps Sexby up. He does not recognize her because she has a mask over her face. She pulls it down and now Sexby knows her. Sexby takes her pistol and kills the wounded bandit.
Angelica says she's going to London for a new start. He suggests that they stay here for the night as it is already late. He cooks the rabbit for dinner. He asks her how did her husband die? She says he died because she was not tame. And how came she to be with the clothes of a male that she wears? She tells him that she killed a man. And now: "Nothing remains of who I was."
Sexby tells Angelica that the King gave himself to the Scots. They say he is trying to get a new army. But the Scots have sold him to Parliament. Sexby now makes a pass at Angelica, but she tells him: "I will be no man's whore."
Sexby hears someone walking in the woods. He leaves Angelica at the fire. Now three men make their appearance. One of the men is Brother Joliffe. He tells his two helpers to grab the whore and take Brother Chimney's clothes off her. Joliffe intends to kill her for having killed his friend. But, first, he is going to rape her: "Lay her down!" Joliffe starts to take his cape off when he hears the cocking of pistols. He turns around and sees Sexby shoot one of his helpers. Now Sexby gives a pistol to Angelica and tells her to kill him. She says there has been enough killing. She tells the man to go home to his wife. Joliffe just keeps insulting the woman he calls the devil's whore. He tells Angelica that they will meet again. He leaves, but without his money.
Angelica wants to give the money to the wife of John Lilburne. Sexby thinks she has become a philosopher, a Leveller, like Lilburne himself. She says at least she is fighting for some good cause. What is Sexby fighting for?
Sexby tells her that she can have his share of the money they stole, if she swims naked with him. She gets naked and walks into a pond. Sexby can't really follow her, because he doesn't know how to swim.
Angelica and Sexby go to see Lilburne and Elizabeth and give them the money. The Lilburnes enjoy getting the needed funds. They shock their guests by showing them a flyer saying that Parliament should be forcibly adjourned, and a new one elected by all men of good faith, not only those with property. Furthermore, Charles Stuart should be arrested and tried as a man of blood. Lilburne says the army will do the leveling up. He then asks Angelica if she will sneak the flyer out and have it properly printed up in mass quantities? Angelica asks where is the printer? At Fanshawe with Thomas Rainsborough.
Going out of the prison, the guards check Sexby. Then they are going to search Angelica. Sexby pulls out his sword and starts fighting the guards off while he yells for Angelica to get out of here. She escapes, but Sexby is arrested.
Thomas Rainsborough arrives at Fanshawe and asks where is Angelica? She is in the chapel. He goes to see her. Thomas says he has waited two years to hear some news of her. She says: "I was never more alive." Now she gives him the flyer from Honest John.
Angelica asks if Rainsborough has a wife? He says he will not take a wife until this quarrel be over. And if the English people take Charles Stuart back, he will go to Massachusetts where his family is and take a wife there. He says also that he would not have an English wife. Continuing on with his story, he says he thinks the woman he will marry will find him.
General Cromwell has the jailers bring Sexby to him. The General tells him that the Scots sold Charles Stuart to Parliament and Parliament has him in Northamptonshire. If the army would seize Charles, the army would hold sway over England. He wants Sexby to snatch Charles Stuart.
Brother Joliffe says there's a woman in Oxfordshire and she is only known as the devil's whore. He tells Cromwell that she represents the heights of wickedness. Her licentiousness leads to robbery and murder.
Angelica and Thomas have sex together. (some nudity) Now Thomas calls her his America, his newfound land.
Joliffe says that Parliament has given him permission to take some men from Cromwell and capture this evil woman.
Sexby goes to warn Thomas and Angelica about the power of Cromwell. He says he has eyes all over the place. Sexby then says that Cromwell wants Charles Stuart taken from Northamptonshire, but will not do it himself. Thomas says Cromwell would rather that he do the deed. So now Sexby says he will do it.
The King is out playing golf. The Round Heads ride up to him and take him into "safekeeping".
Angelica tells Thomas that the Leveller regiments will follow Thomas. He asks her if she will be his wife?
Joliffe comes to the house to tell Thomas that he and his men will be in the area looking for the devil's whore. Thomas criticizes the Parliament for thinking this is the type of thing the army should be doing. Angelica comes into the room. She and Joliffe, obviously, know each other. But Thomas introduces Angelica as the mistress of the house. Joliffe has to go away empty-handed this time. She asks Thomas what the man wanted? He says he wants to persecute some whore. He means to hang her. Thomas asks now what is her answer to him on the key question. At this very time Angelica once again sees the devil. She asks Thomas if she sees him (the devil)? See who? She is upset and scared and tells Thomas that she cannot marry him. "There is no future. There is only the past." She runs out.
Joliffe keeps a watch on Fanshawe mansion.
In prison Cromwell and Rainsborough now ask Lilburne about his plans to close down Parliament temporarily. The officers want to just wipe away Parliament and start over, but with no elections. Cromwell says they already know who are the godly men. Lilburne is very upset that the officers don't want to have elections. Sexby comes into the room half a day after Thomas' departure from Fanshawe, and says that Mistress Fanshawe was arrested. She is charged with robbery and murder.
Thomas rushes to the jail to see Angelica. Thomas believes this is a political move against himself. Elizabeth comes into the cell and says she wants to speak with Thomas. Thomas goes with her to another room. Sexby tells Angelica not to tell Thomas about what she has done. Thomas comes back to tell Angelica that Elizabeth will stay with Angelica in jail.
Angelica is brought to trial. She is charged with the 1646 murder of corn merchant Master Chimney. She also is charged with attacking and robbing Master Joliffe. The courtroom is filled with people very prejudiced against Angelica. They cry out that she is a liar and a whore. She tells the crowd that she is not a whore and never was.
Meanwhile, Sexby has kidnapped the daughter of Master Joliffe. He cuts off the long hair of his daughter. Master Joliffe is told to give his testimony against Angelica. But he has just received a clump of his daughter's hair in a small basket. A note accompanies the hair. When he finally stands up. He says that he was mistaken. This was not the woman who robbed him. The prisoner is released immediately. Thomas now asks for Angelica's forgiveness saying a doubt did enter into his head. Angelica answers him: "I killed a man who wanted my honor for pigeon pie." He hushes her saying: "There is no past, only the future." She also breaks some other news to Thomas. She is with child.
Cromwell speaks nicely to the King. The King mentions that Rainsborough is a fanatic, a Leveller. "Should such a man be in such high command? I would sleep easier in my bed if he were removed from our affairs." Cromwell defends Rainsborough.
Cromwell and Rainsborough now clash over Cromwell's wanting to cooperate with Charles Stuart. Cromwell says that they cannot get all they want, but they can get what he calls a "sufficiency". Rainsborough says Charles' promises are just lies. And he opposes the "sufficiency" as not granting enough of the benefits of a more democratic government. He suggests that they exile Charles Stuart. The men around the two leaders are enthusiastic only for Rainsborough's plans. Therefore, Cromwell has to accuse Rainsborough of being a radical fanatic who will bring about a government that has never existed on earth and that will soon decline into anarchy. Rainsborough responds: "Then it's clear, General. In this beloved England, one of us will not live."
The Levellers meet together with Rainsborough. Sexby is ready to fight alongside the Levellers. Angelica tells Rainsborough that he is the only one that can unite the Levellers.
All of a sudden Cromwell bursts in on the meeting. He tells everyone that Charles Stuart has escaped from Hampton Court. They think he has gone to the Island of Wight. He now apologizes to Thomas and to all at the meeting. He then tells Thomas that there must be unity between them or all will be brought to ruin. Thomas will agree to unity if after the war, the subjects the Levellers really want to discuss will be truly up for discussion. Cromwell says he agrees and the two men shake hands. Now Cromwell says that Thomas is needed in Pontefract for there is a siege such as only Thomas can lift. He urges Thomas to go tonight, but Thomas says he can't because this is his wedding night. That is if Angelica agrees. She agrees. Cromwell now says he is off to Wales. Angelica asks Cromwell for a wedding gift: free John Lilburne. He replies: "It is done, madam, by authority of the army."
The marriage takes place. Thomas now tells Sexby to remain here and guard Angelica. Late at night Angelica goes to see Sexby. She says she wishes Sexby were at the side of Thomas helping to protect him. Sexby says that's what he wanted too.
Two swordsmen rush into Thomas' room. Thomas kills one of the men, but only after the man ran him through with his sword. He wounded the other man, but he the assassin runs his sword through Thomas. As he is dying, Thomas says: "I am betrayed."
Cromwell issues the order to take the men to the Island of Wight and arrest Charles Stuart. He will be charged with making unlawful war in England.
John Lilburne and his Elizabeth together with Angelica and Sexby stand by the coffin of Thomas Rainsborough. A tear rolls down Angelica's face.
Now Joliffe descends on Fanshawe mansion and tells his men to arrest the devil's whore. Sexby takes out his sword saying they will not touch her, but Angelica tells him to stop it. "What does it matter now? Let them hang me."
Cromwell comes to speak with Honest John Lilburne. He wants to know if John has made a decision? John says he has not. He says that Cromwell wants him to sit as one of the judges to pass sentence on Charles Stuart. And by whose authority? Cromwell says by the authority of the Parliament. Lilburne laughs and says the Parliament is Cromwell's Parliament after he purged it. Cromwell now wants the King dead. The leader says that England cannot be whole until this matter of the King is done with.
Newgate Prison, London. In prison, Angelica gives birth. The birth is a stillbirth. Angelica sobs over the loss of the baby. In the court quite a few in the audience shout out: "God save the King!" The main judges ask for the court be cleared of the audience.
Sexby learns of the stillbirth. He comes into the room to see Angelica. She stands up straight and proud and says: "Now the law can hang me." Then Sexby can go home. Sexby tells her: "But I have no home if you be hanged."
When the King comes back to the court after the court clearing, the people in the audience now call out that Charles Stuart is guilty and that he's a murderer. The judge says that since the King did not answer the charges, he has admitted his guilt. Charles says a few words, but basically says he cannot reason with these men and they have the power to do with him as they might. His sentence is death by decapitation.
Today is the day for the executions of Angelica and the King. Angelica rides on the wagon that carries her coffin. The noose is put around her neck.
Charles Stuart visibly shakes facing the block.
Angelica condemns Joliffe saying he is the real thief and whore for he has sold his soul for a bag of gold. But where is the hangman? It looks likes Sexby has hanged the hangman is now ready to take the place of the hangman on the gallows. Sexby starts the hanging process. Satisfied, Joliffe leaves the area saying to the hangman to make sure she is dead before he brings her body down. As soon as Joliffe's coach has gone, Sexby lets Angelica down on the ground. He rushes over to take off the noose. He starts blowing air into her lungs.
Joliffe hurries to a window in order to see the beheading of King Charles I of England. The axe is brought down on the King's neck. The head is held up for everyone to see. Men rush over with their handkerchiefs to try to catch the blood dripping from the head.
Angelica is saved.
And John Lilburne speaks out now against Cromwell. And again he is arrested. He shouts that they didn't fight the King in order to make Oliver Cromwell the absolute lord and ruler over Ireland, as he is now over England.
Cromwell speaks with Sexby, who tells Cromwell that Lilburne sees Cromwell's hand in the murder of Thomas Rainsborough. Cromwell asks if that's what Sexby believes too? Sexby says no. So Cromwell asks Sexby to go with him to Ireland. He says he must strike at Ireland so that the Irish do not support the Scottish or French against England. He says he will take the land from the papists and sell it to the Protestants, thereby getting the money to pay his army its wages. He also says that the man that stood so close to Rainsborough, must now stand close to Cromwell. Sexby will be Col. Sexby in Cromwell's army. Sexby signs the necessary documents. Now Cromwell is happy. He says they will go first to Burford for the Leveller regiments have arrested their officers and are refusing to go to Ireland. Since Sexby knows the Levellers, Cromwell wants him to get the mutineers to release their officers and be willing to go to Ireland.
Sexby goes to see Angelica. He seems very proud that now he is going to Ireland: "I have an officer's wages." He then adds: "They (the wages) are yours." He asks her to be his wife. Angelica tells him no, saying: "I mean to shift for myself now. There are Diggers at Fanshawe House. I mean to join them. The Diggers follow Thomas' dreams." Sexby tells her that the Diggers will not accept her if she not be married. He then tells her he is not looking for love or for a marital bed. He asks only that she allow him to serve her. So the two get married.
Sexby gets the mutineers to throw down their weapons. He promises that Cromwell will listen to them without reprisals. But when Cromwell does show up, he comes with his soldiers. He is mad at the mutineers and demands to know who are the ringleaders. A firing squad kills the three ringleaders. Now Cromwell asks: "Is there anyone who will not willingly submit to my will and accept my pardon?" He then asks Sexby if he wants to renounce his commission? No. So Cromwell says: "We march for Ireland."
Sexby feels that Cromwell betrayed him. And he feels that he also betrayed Rainsborough.
Angelica Sexby comes to Fanshawe to become a Leveller. A man named Christian welcomea her. Later he eats sitting with her. He says he thinks she was not born to this. She asks what does Christian think of Raninborough? He speaks in the highest terms of the man, saying he should have been the person who rules England now. Christian also says that the best and last days are coming. He says Christ is ready to walk the earth again. Angelica doesn't know what to say to that. A young woman gets on a table and says that Jesus came to her last night when she was in bed and told her that He is coming and will rule the earth for 10,000 years.
Lightning brightens the sky and the Diggers say it's another sign from God. But now here comes two people running as fast as they can across a field. Then coming over the rise, the Diggers see men on horses coming with burning torches. They beat down the two people and they set the fields on fire. The next morning Christian shouts: "Come! We begin again!"
Sexby rides up to Cromwell at the head of the army. Cromwell asks the Colonel if they reached Wexford? Sexby says they were held a while at Arklow. [Arklow is a town in County Wicklow on the east coast of Ireland and south of Dublin. Wexford is the county town of County Wexford, southeast coast of Ireland below Arklow.] There are 12 men remaining from the garrison that are stranded in a bog. Cromwell tells Sexby to have all twelve men killed. The order is carried out.
The army runs into a group leaving their town. Sexby tells them to surrender or they will be blown to atoms by the cannon. The leader says he cannot. He wants to surrender, but feels he must make an attempt at resistance. Sexby now goes to Cromwell who orders that they all be killed. "I'll drag no prisoners across this benighted land." The cannons are fired at the now retreating group.
Cromwell's men break into a chapel and start massacring every man and woman in sight. They even use their swords to butcher some of the people. Cromwell and Sexby come into the chapel. A man with a sword comes from behind Sexby and slashes him. Cromwell kills the man with his sword.
Christian speaks with Angelica. She tells him that his words move him. He says that when he heard that Angelica's husband was dead, he was actually glad. Angelica starts leaving saying that her husband is still alive, but far away. He says he knows that her two husbands are dead. How does he know that? His mother worked in the kitchens of Fanshawe mansion. The night-riding soldiers now return to Fanshawe mansion. This time they are intent on burning down the fields and destroying the mansion's contents.
Christian wants to start again, but a woman says the true owner of the land will not let them be. Christian says that Master Joliffe is not the true owner of the land.
The community of Diggers decides that both Angelica and Christian must go. Angelica had already made up her mind to go. She tells the woman spokesman that she need not fear for she will be gone in the morning.
In the morning Sexby returns to Fanshawe.
In Parliament, Elizabeth demands the release of her husband. A man tells Elizabeth that women are not allowed in the chamber. She also asks why is the English army in Ireland when they have no fight there? Cromwell tells Elizabeth that John shall have a fair trial. Elizabeth tells him if he takes her husband's life, she will have Cromwell's life. The men now remove Elizabeth from the chamber.
The trial of John Lilburne begins. Sexby comes into the courtroom after the trial has started. The jury finds John Lilburne not guilty. The crowd is very excited for John. They carry him out of the courtroom. Angelica sees Sexby. She parts from Christian. She goes up to him and says she is glad to see him alive. Sexby accuses her of dishonoring him with this "friend" of hers. Angelica says: "You are not dishonored, save your taking part in Irish massacres." She says she is still his wife and she will do as he commands. They go to Fanshawe. Angelica says that Sexby can be saved by love. She has become friends with some of the Ranters, who believe in the power of love.
Sexby becomes irritated and angry and asks Angelica straight out if she has lain with this boy? She says she will leave now. He asks her if she is going back to the boy? She tells him just as straight: "Sexby, I can never love you. Ever. I am sorry for you. I am grateful to you. But I will never love you." He starts trying to rape her. She cries and he relents. He tells her: "Go. Go!!!!"
She goes to see Christian. But Christian is having a little conference of his own with Joliffe, who tells him the woman must not escape for a third time. Christian says she will not for: "I've led her by the nose like a willing sow." Joliffe gives Christian a pouch filled with coins.
Christian now goes to see Angelica, who throws her arms around him. The two o them then go to John Lilburne. Christian makes a toast to "universal love".
The local priest preaches against women becoming too licentious these days. He asks if there is a woman today that know her rightful place? He says: "No!" Angelica stands up and tells the men with her to take the priest down from the raised pulpit. They grab him and hold him steady after putting a black cloth over his mouth. Now Angelica preaches to the people about universal love. Just then soldiers burst into the church and grab Angelica and Christian and take them out of the church.
The Palace of Whitehall, London. She is taken to see Cromwell who greets her warmly. He says that her friends, the Ranters, the High Attainers, find holiness in tobacco, alcohol and fornication. She says: "I fear you mean to crush us as you did the Levellers." The problem for Cromwell is that the Ranters blaspheme. He tells her to be careful: "There is a world of difference between freedom and licentiousness. And think of me as your friend."
As Angelica is leaving from seeing Cromwell, she passes Sexby going into see Cromwell. Angelica goes to see Christian. He was probably told that what he has cooking up with Angelica is sin, not love. For now he says he feels that his heart is not true. Angelica says that she is still married. Christian says in outward form only. She replies that and yet she will not dishonor Sexby.
Cromwell tells Sexby that Honest John has been speaking with the Cavaliers. They have been talking about bringing in the King's son from France. So, Cromwell wants Sexby to go to them, tell them he is disillusioned with Cromwell and seek out their thoughts and their strength. Sexby cautions Cromwell that if he oes after Honest John, the whole of London may burn. Cromwell comments that Honest John is presently sailing for the isle of Jersey. Sexby stands up and says he will not take the assignment. Now Cromwell warns Sexby: "What will not bend, may break."
In private, Cromwell's aide tells Sexby that he must pull his wife out of the Ranters. He warns Sexby: "She runs to her utter destruction."
Angelica dances with Christian in a pub. Joliffe comes in and motions for Christian to come talk with him. Sexby watches as the two men talk. He goes over to Joliffe's coach to listen to the entire conversation. Joliffe asks Christian if he has had his way with Angelica yet? No. Joliffe says Christian works too slowly. He must have her today for the troopers are come to arrest the fornicators.
Christian goes back into the pub, while Sexby jumps on the back of Joliffe's coach as it pulls out. Now Christian puts something into the drink he will give to Angelica. Sexby jumps into the coach and puts his knife to Joliffe's nose. He demands to know what must be done today? If he doesn't tell him, he will split the man's nose open. Joliffe says: "A whore will be unmasked." Sexby splits his nose open, stabs a guard and runs out.
The drug starts having its effect on Angelica. She starts feeling a bit high and also starts giggling. He picks her up and puts her on a table to have sex in public with her. Sexby runs into the pub, gives Christian a vicious blow to his face with his iron hand replacement after it was cut off in battle in Ireland, then takes a knife and thrusts it into his chest. He then grabs his wife and takes her out of the pub before the arriving troopers can grab them.
When Angelica awakens in bed, Sexby is there to tell her: "He that poisoned you is food for dogs now." He tells her that Christian was being paid to debauch Angelica and bring further ridicule upon on the Ranters. He was in the employ of Joliffe. Sexby speaks as though he was going to kill Joliffe. Angelica tells him to leave Joliffe to her. He says he's going but will return tonight. Angelica tells him thank you and hugs him. And now they kiss. She then says to him: "Can you love a fool? For that I have been." He says he loved her from the day she married Harry Fanshawe. She gave him joy and hope. He now gives Angelica the garter that he still carries with him. She says: "Then do not part with it now, as I will not with you. If you will take me." Sexby remains silent. He says he can't take the widow of Thomas Rainsborough as long as his murderers walk the earth.
The Parliament does not agree with Cromwell. So Cromwell throws them all out of the chamber: "Get you gone!" He calls out for the soldiers and they hurry the members out of the chamber.
Mount Orgeuil. Isle of Jersey. Honest John in chains gets off the boat on the Isle of Jersey. The jailer tells John: "Do not hope to leave here. This is your tomb, sir."
Cromwell's aide questions Sexby as to whether or not he intends to join the Cavaliers? Sexby wants to know how long have they had secreteagents among the Levellers and Ranters? Did Cromwell have secret agents at the time of the assassination of Thomas Rainsborough? Why did the soldiers shout out that they that they came from Cromwell? The aide warns Sexby again: "Only madmen oppose us now. I pray you be not mad."
As Sexby is walking out with Angelica he runs into Cromwell. He asks the dictator: "Did you order the murder of Thomas Rainsborough?" Cromwell won't answer that. He steps around Thomas, who draws his sword. Angelica says that Sexby is mad with fever. Cromwell tells his men to take Sexby to the coast and put him out of England tonight. If he ever returns, Cromwell will have him hanged
Angelica returns to Fanshawe mansion. She goes inside. She finds Joliffe there taking a bath. She talks with him awhile, but he's just a thoroughly vile man. She shoots him dead in the forehead. The devil makes another appearance and Angelica takes out another pistol and shoots at the devil. His image disappears.
Angelica runs out in front of Cromwell on his horse. She says she begs for the release of Honest John. He tells her to walk with him. He invites her to have supper with him. There he asks if she has forgiven him? She asks him for what? She says he killed two of her husbands. Cromwell swears that the Cavaliers killed her Rainsborough. He also says the only thing standing between England and utter destruction is him. And now Cromwell believes that the best move to save England is to become King himself. Angelica says: "King Oliver the First." "So much blood spilt for so little?" And what about her petition for John Lilburne? Cromwell says Elizabeth shall have a pension and she may visit her husband on the Isle of Jersey. He then tells Angelica to prepare Elizabeth for Freeborn John Lilburne is broken in pieces. Angelica replies: "Fare you well, Oliver. We shall never meet again."
Elizabeth comes with her child. She goes into see her husband. John is shocked to see her. Angelica stays behind with John's son. Elizabeth calls for Angelica to bring the boy in to see his father. She and the boy come in. John asks his wife, didn't he forbid her to ask any favors from the tyrant? Angelica says she asked Cromwell. Elizabeth verbally strikes back at him. John calms down. Elizabeth can finally talk to him. She explains that she couldn't have brought him pen and paper. She was afraid they would execute him if he took up the pen again.
Angelica has to tell John the bad news. Oliver is to be King.
While the woman are visiting John, he dies. John is buried. Sexby, behind a black mask and dressed in a dress, is at the funeral. At night they meet up in Fanshaw mansion. They make love.
In the morning she asks Sexby why he came back? His answer: "To kill the King." Later she asks him to give up this idea and come with her to the New World. He says his ending will be different from hers. She asks must all end in blood? "Aye, all must end in blood."
Angelica says goodbye to her husband.
Edward Sexby looks over what he hopes will be the future sight of the assassination of Cromwell. A man will pretend his horse is lame and stop Cromwell's carriage. Sexby stays in a hotel room overlooking the assassination sight. He has four pistols with him.
Angelica goes down to the coast to wait for Sexby, just in case Cromwell is not crowned and he can return to her.
Cromwell travels in an open carriage. The boat arrives on the coast. Sexby waits for Cromwell. But Sexby's co-conspirator now changes his mind and says that he won't let Cromwell proceed any further.
So when the procession comes within sight of Sexby, Cromwell is not in the carriage at all. And now Sexby awaits the arrival of the soldiers. He sticks the barrel of his pistol in his mouth and kills himself.
Cromwell is the Lord Protector. Down at the coast, Angelica cries for she knows Sexby will not be coming. She later comments that Sexby left her carrying a new baby. She gives birth to the baby with the help of Elizabeth. Oliver departed from this world. The Second King Charles came over the water and the fountains of London ran with wine. Angelica with her now young girl are at Fanshawe. She says: "All my men were dead, their hopes and dreams gone with them. Yet we are the world we live in, the world we love in. These were the life and times of Angelica Fanshawe. In the final account, there is love and those sharp blades, joy and hope."
Good film about a strong woman named Angelica who proves to be a real survivor during the period of the English Civil War and the dictatorship of the Cromwells. Angelica Risebourough was very good in the role of Angelica. The movie reminds me a little of Gone with the Wind. You learn a lot of history of about the English Civil War period while following the many travails of the lovely Angelica. Like Scarlet O'Hara, Angelica is a strong woman. That makes for an interesting story about the lady's life.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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