That Hamilton Woman Sir William Hamilton, a widower of mature years, is British ambassador to the Court of Naples. Emma, who comes for a visit with her mother, wouldn’t cut the grade with London society, but she gets along well with the Queen of Naples. Emma likes being Lady Hamilton, and life goes smoothly until Lord Nelson pays a visit. Sir William decides at first to let his young wife have her fling, and pretends not to know what is going on. But the real-life lovers, whose first screen romance was in Fire Over England (1937) have an even more burning passion for each other in this movie.
That Hamilton Woman Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh when they were both young and desperately beautiful are a joy to watch in this film. He plays the great English naval hero, Nelson, and she, Lady Hamilton, the wife of the English ambassador. Another favorite movie moment of mine is after the opera given in his honor when they are in a bar, before they have actually declared their love for one another. They’re talking about what they’re not missing by having left the ball after the opera. She says, “This is where the real and exclusive party is.” Then she tells him about himself: “Nelson in a good mood,” and she makes a bored face. “Nelson in a bad mood,” and makes the same face. “Nelson in an exuberant mood,” with the same face a third time. He says, “Am I really such a dull fellow?” Her reply: “Only when you ask questions like that.” His response is the beautiful part. He says something to the effect of, “Now I’ll give my performance. What mood is this? One guess.” And he leans his chin on his hand and gazes into her eyes. She guesses something like, “Nelson allowing himself to be just a little bit happy?” He shakes his head slowly and says, “Nelson in love.” She leans forward and her chin touches his hand, and just then a group of soldiers, including his son, enter the bar. The moment is all the better because you’re left wanting more!