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Lady Jane (1986)

Helena Bonham Carter , Cary Elwes , Trevor Nunn  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Helena Bonham Carter, Cary Elwes, John Wood, Michael Hordern, Jill Bennett
  • Directors: Trevor Nunn
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: February 18, 2003
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLJP
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,279 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lady Jane" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The story of Lady Jane Grey, cousin to Henry the VIII, who found herself Queen of England for 9 days in 1553, at the age of 16.
Genre: Feature Film-Drama
Rating: PG13
Release Date: 12-DEC-2003
Media Type: DVD

"I foresee a glittering future for your daughter," the conspiratorial Duke of Northumberland insidiously whispers to the mother of Lady Jane Grey, the woman who would be England's queen, albeit for only nine days. The same could be said for Helena Bonham Carter, who, in her screen debut, carries this historical drama with aplomb. Jane, a principled and precocious 15-year-old (she reads Plato in Greek) was a pawn in a plot to maintain Protestant rule in the wake of young King Edward's death. A dashing Cary Elwes, anticipating his swashbuckling role in The Princess Bride, costars as Northumberland's feckless, wastrel son, Guilford, whose arranged marriage to Jane unexpectedly blossoms into love and rebellion. Anglophiles will bask in this impeccably mounted production (featuring Patrick Stewart as Jane's bullying father), but swooning teens, too, may embrace these young lovers as did the youths who made Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 Romeo & Juliet a box-office smash in its day. --Donald Liebenson

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
99 of 101 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine movie about a very tragic young life July 24, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Helena Bonham Carter does a superb job portraying one of the most tragic characters in history, Lady Jane Grey, otherwise known as "the Nine Days Queen". Her soft innocence and vulnerability are convincing and heart rendering. You also get to see a very very young Cary Elwes providing a fine supporting role as her doomed husband and Patrick Stewart (way before his Star Trek days) giving an equally fine performance as her scheming father.
The story itself would make for a great Shakesparean tragedy if history hadn't written it first. I was quite moved at the cruel twists of fate that were handed out to this young girl. It is also a testament to the cruelty of parents to their children in sixteenth century England. This was commonplace at these times, even if one was of royal blood as Jane was.
The moving and historically accurate execution scene, in which the blindfolded Jane cannot find the block to rest her neck is quite heart wrenching. You want her to survive the circumstances that her family placed her in, and the wretchedness of her miserable upbringing. However, life is not a fairy tale, even for princesses; this is a profound example of the misery that many Tudor woman, including Elizabeth I, went through. I subtract one star for some of the historical inaccuracies, but overall it is a wonderful and moving film. It also makes you grateful that you did not live in those precarious times.
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208 of 225 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why can't filmakers show real history? October 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Let's start with what's good about this movie. The cast is wonderful, the costumes superb, etc.
And, they even got part of the history right. In the 16th century people did argue passionately (and die) over religion, poor innocent Jane was the puppet of ruthlessly ambitious adults.
Blast it! That dumb love story ruined the whoe movie. There is absolutely no evidence that Jane and Guilford Dudley ever loved each other. Nor did they attempt to reform the coinage, build public schools, redistribute income... I think Jane's story is even more tragic when you realize that her horrible parents forced her into a loveless marriage to further their own ends.
But yet, the execution scene was true to the historical accounts. Can you imagine the horror of watching a blinfolded sixteen year old groping for the executioner's block, and asking: "Where is it? What do I do?"
If you ever go to London, visit the British Library where Jane's prayerbook is on display. The night before she died, she wrote a letter to her sister on the endpapers. The handwriting never wavers. What courage this innocent child had.
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
I loved this film for the great drama of a mere sixteen-year old being used for machinations of her family to ascend to the British throne. There is a scene where Lady Jane is punished (by spanking with a paddle or something) for disobedience; this is a harbinger of the ultimate tragedy for the hapless teenager. While the details of this historical drama are not precise, the tale is well-told and the costumes and scenery are magnificent. This is a good, riveting historical drama despite the liberties the screenwriters have taken.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Noble, Regal, Sparkling, Solemn, Tragic May 12, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This gem of a film is from Helena Bonham-Carter's ingenue days in which she captures the strength of the pious and studious Nine-Days Queen magnificently. Strangely, paintings show she bears a stronger resemblance to Guildford Dudley than Cary Elwes, who makes up for his lack of physical resemblance to Jane's slovenly, disreputable husband by turning out a charismatic and thoughtful performance.
This rather heavy-handed account of Jane Grey's life has a lot of symbolism. In a very English hunting scene at the beginning (which closely resembles a Breughel painting), we see the elders in Jane's life closing in on a deer in much the same way they would trap Jane into serving their own corrupt ends. After Jane is whipped by her mother for her reluctance to marry the obnoxious Guildford Dudley, King Edward comforts her by giving her a puppet to play with. The symbolism of that moment at this point in the film is blantantly obvious.
Michael Hordern's Father Fekenham is a comforting presence in Jane's life, despite their disagreements over religion. He never hides the amount of respect he has for the young girl.
Inaccuracies of the film include the fact that Jane's parents, played by a hard-driven Patrick Stewart, and a ruthless Sarah Kestelman(who reaffirms the fact that the saintliness of Frances Grey's mother, Mary, who was Henry VIII's younger sister, truly skipped a generation)responded to Jane's initial refusal to marry Guildford by respectively slapping her in the face repeatedly and cursing her. While one is greatful that the audience is spared that, the nude scene between Jane and Guildford was a bit gratuitous, and as Jane was actually unwavering in her resentment of her chosen husband, it's highly unlikely that their union was consumated.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bookish teenage girl's dream October 20, 2003
I too was a teenager when I first saw this movie, at the time I was really starting to fall in love with the Renaissance. (I ultimately studied Renaissance lit in college, and maybe this movie had a little bit to do with that!)
At my young age, I was of course drawn to the romantic part of the story--I was hopelessly enchanted with Cary Elwes, and I'm sure the blossoming romance between Guildford and Jane caused me a great many sighs. Okay, so it is a little fairy-taleish and not exactly true to history (I once read that it is uncertain whether or not their marriage was ever consummated) but it was awfully fun to watch.
Now that I'm older, however, I've noticed some other things that interest me more than the love story, like the political machinations of Northumberland and Jane's parents, and the stark portrayal of the treatment of women in that time period. Jane was vitally important to the plans of her parents, and yet they beat her nearly senseless for refusing to marry Guildford Dudley.
Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes are very believable in their roles--Jane seems otherworldly and disconnected from her feelings due to her obsession with learning; Guildford is a handsome rake who does actually have deep thoughts and ideas about things, contrary to what Jane thinks at first. Both roles were excellently played.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wanted this one for a long time
Published 8 days ago by Nancy T. Costello
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I absolutel love Helena Bonham Carter. She is fantastic in any piece that she portrays!!
Published 26 days ago by Kippy Sinclair
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great dvd
Published 27 days ago by odie's friend
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely period movie
Wonderful period movie. Helena Bonham Carter and Carey Elwes are so cute and young in this one. It's more like historical fiction than history (since the romance is entirely... Read more
Published 29 days ago by andrea masse
3.0 out of 5 stars could have been better
lovely costumes and very good acting but could have been more historically accurate. very slow-going bec atmospheric scenes went on too long IMO. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Victorian Catmom
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great product!
Published 2 months ago by Lynn DaSilva
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Interesting bit of less known history after the death of Henry VIII. Well done.
Published 2 months ago by Fred Daniel
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
DVD did nit play
Published 2 months ago by Gina
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent movie
Published 3 months ago by Patricia Fowler
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb, if not entirely true to the facts
Tremendously enjoyable movie based on the tragic story of a studious 16 year old girl, forced into marriage, and shortly thereafter to seize the throne, by her ambitious family - a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by sally tarbox
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