Directed by the great Basil Dearden (The Blue Lamp, The Gentle Gunman), Saraband for Dead Lovers was Ealing Studios’ first Technicolor release and, at the time of production, its most expensive film to date. Starring Stewart Granger (King Solomon’s Mines, Scaramouche), Joan Greenwood (Kind Hearts and Coronets, Whisky Galore!) and Flora Robson (Wuthering Heights, Clash of the Titans), the film was based on a best-selling novel by Helen Simpson and is visually stunning, making full use of its impressive Prague locations. Shot by the inimitable Douglas Slocombe, who impeccably evokes the stiflingly oppressive conventions of the Hanoverian court with atmospheric rich reds and browns whilst throwing aside the strict rules imposed by Technicolor to produce an unconventionally vivid film.
In 1682, the sixteen-year-old Sophie Dorothea (Joan Greenwood) is unhappily married by arrangement to Prince George Louis of Hanover (Peter Bull), an aristocrat destined to inherit the British crown. Despairing of ever experiencing true love, the desolate new Queen finds no solace in her life at court until she falls for a dashing Swedish mercenary, Count Konigsmark (Stewart Granger). Having hatched a plot to flee England together, the couple’s scheme is discovered by the jealous Countess Platen (Flora Robson), Konigsmark’s previous mistress, spelling disaster for the young lovers.
With a strong supporting cast including Peter Bull (The Green Man), Michael Gough (Batman), Jill Balcon (The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby) and Anthony Quayle (Lawrence of Arabia), Saraband for Dead Lovers was nominated for the Oscar for Best Art Direction.
Written by John Dighton and Alexander Mackendrick
Cinematography by Douglas Slocombe