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The Wicked Lady (Gainsborough 1945, Margaret Lockwood, James Mason)

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17th century beauty Barbara Worth (Margaret Lockwood) begins her career of crime by stealing her best friend Caroline’s (Patricia Roc) fiancee, Sir Ralph Skelton, before amassing a wealth of gambling debts once she is installed as Lady of the Manor. Desperate to pay off these losses, she comes up with the idea of donning a mask and cloak and taking to the roads as a highwayman.

The lifestyle proves addictive, especially when she encounters fellow highwayman Captain Jerry Jackson (James Mason) and they become lovers. However, as the two lead their secret life they are pursued by Barbara’s husband in his role as local magistrate. How long can Lady Skelton carry on her charade before she is found out?

Racy romp The Wicked Lady was one of the highest grossing films for Gainsborough and Lockwood certainly relishes her role as the scheming Lady Barbara, complete with plunging necklines. Indeed so low-cut were her costumes that the censors insisted on a reshoot with more demure costumes before the film could be secured an American release.

production details
UK / Gainsborough / 104 minutes / 1946

Director: Leslie Arliss
Writers: Magdalen King-Hall (novel), Leslie Arliss,

cast
Margaret Lockwood as Barbara Worth
James Mason as Captain Jerry Jackson
Michael Rennie as Kit Locksby
Enid Stamp-Taylor as Lady Henrietta Kingsclere
Felix Aylmer as Hogarth
Francis Lister as Lord Kingsclere
Martita Hunt as Cousin Agatha
Griffith Jones as Sir Ralph Skelton
Jean Kent as Jackson’s Doxy
Patricia Roc as Caroline

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