Forever Amber (1947)

 

 

Director:        Otto Preminger and the uncredited John M. Stahl.

Starring:        Linda Darnell (Amber), Cornel Wilde (Bruce Carlton), Richard Greene (Lord Almsbury), George Sanders (King Charles II), Glenn Langan (Capt. Rex Morgan), Richard Haydn (Earl of Radcliffe), Jessica Tandy (Nan Britton), Anne Revere (Mother Red Cap), John Russell (Black Jack Mallard), Jane Ball (Corinne Carlton), Robert Coote (Sir Thomas Dudley), Leo G. Carroll (Matt Goodgroome), Natalie Draper (Countess of Castlemaine), Margaret Wycherly (Mrs. Song), Alma Kruger (Lady Redmond), Edmund Breon (Lord Redmond), Alan Napier (Landale).

Screenplay:  based on the novel by Kathleen Windsor that was a big-seller in its day.

Rating:          the Catholic Legion of Decency gave it the very bad Class C rating (Condemned)

 

one of the many mistresses of Charles II

 

End of the reign of the tyrant Oliver Cromwell.  The monarch is restored as Charles II ascends to the throne. 

16-year-old Amber St. Clair chafes under the Puritanical code.  She heads for London (with Bruce Carlton as chaperone).  The ambitious Amber starts working her way to the top by using sex as a tool. 

But when Carlton is away privateering in the Colonies, Amber gets swindled of all her money and lands in prison.  In prison she has a baby by Carlton (of whom Carlton is completely ignorant). 

Highwayman Black Jack Mallard helps Amber escape and she becomes his accomplice in crime.  And she gets in trouble again, is arrested (by Captain Rex Morgan).  Using sex again, she gets Morgan to get her into the the theatre, which is under the King's protection.

Charles II is intrigued by her, but she marries the Earl of Radcliffe.  That, however, does not stop Amber from becoming a mistress to Charles II. 

The now-married Carlton returns from Virginia, learns of his child by Amber and decides to adopt the youngster.  (Carlton takes time out to kill Morgan in a duel.)

Amber decides that the Earl of Radcliffe and the King are not enough.  She wants Carlton too, so she decides to "set up" Mrs. Carlton in a compromising situation. But Amber's attempt to discredit Mrs. Carlton fails.  The King finds out about all these shenanigans and soon she is no longer his favorite.

Carlton returns to the colonies with the child, while Amber is left only with little resources.  But don't worry too much about Amber.  She still has her beauty and that will always attract a lot of men.

It seems that the character of Amber may have been developed from the King's mistress Moll Davis.  (See below.)

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical Background:

 

Charles II of England had at least 15 mistresses.

1630  --  birth of the future Charles II. 

1648 (summer)  --  Lucy Walter --  Charles meets her at The Hague. 

1649  --  Lucy gives birth to his first child, James, later Duke of Monmouth.

1650  --  Charles leaves Lucy behind and she takes up with someone else.

before 1660  -- in addition to Lucy, Charles had four other mistresses. 

1660  --  Charles becomes King of England. 

1662  --  the fiery-tempered Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, is pregnant by Charles. 

1667  --  stage actress Moll Davis becomes his mistress.  The impertinent and vulgar Moll loves flaunting the fact that she now has royal connections and constantly shows off her extremely expensive ring.  Another woman, Nell Gwynne, probably the only mistress who really loved him, is already Charles's mistress. 

1669  --  Moll Davis gives birth to a daughter by Charles.

1671 --  Louise de Keroualle becomes one of Charles's mistresses.  She was one of his sister's ladies in waiting.   

1677  --  Louise engineered the disgrace of another of Charles' mistresses, Barbara Villiers.

1685  -- death of Charles II. 

 

Source:

Brenda Ralph Lewis, "The Mistresses of Charles II", Brittania, http://britannia.com/history/charmist.html

 

 

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