The Clandestine Marriage

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Comedy, Romance

Can lovestruck Lovewell (Paul Nicholls), a humble clerk, win the fair hand of Fanny (Natasha Little), the youngest daughter of Lovewell's employer, Sir Robert Sterling (Timothy Spall)? Preoccupied with social climbing, Sir Robert and his snooty sister Lady Heidelberg (Joan Collins) are busy planning the wedding of Fanny's older sister Betsy (Emma Chambers)...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Can lovestruck Lovewell (Paul Nicholls), a humble clerk, win the fair hand of Fanny (Natasha Little), the youngest daughter of Lovewell's employer, Sir Robert Sterling (Timothy Spall)? Preoccupied with social climbing, Sir Robert and his snooty sister Lady Heidelberg (Joan Collins) are busy planning the wedding of Fanny's older sister Betsy (Emma Chambers) to Sir John Ogleby (Tom Hollander), the doltish son of prominent Lord Ogleby (Nigel Hawthorne). Lord Ogleby, who's secretly insolvent, welcomes the merger of Sterling money and Ogleby class. Meanwhile, fickle Sir John, shifting his affections, enlists Lovewell's aid in courting... Fanny. Poor Lovewell is understandably distressed by this sudden change in affairs, since, unbeknownst to the Sterling family, he and Fanny have already wed! To make matters worse, in requesting Lord Ogleby's intervention on his own behalf, Lovewell mistakenly gives the aging roue the impression that Fanny's in love with the Lord himself! Based on the classic Restoration play by David Garrick and George Coleman the Elder, this is exactly the kind of wan and ever-so-genteel comedy that Anglophobes use to prove their point to "Masterpiece Theatre" aficionados. Despite lovely costumes and other period details, it lacks the directorial buoyancy necessary to set its theatrical wheels spinning. With the romantic leads underplaying and Collins and Spall overplaying, the farce sputters and the requisite effervescence dissipates; only Hawthorne finds the right tone of exaggerated realism.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Can lovestruck Lovewell (Paul Nicholls), a humble clerk, win the fair hand of Fanny (Natasha Little), the youngest daughter of Lovewell's employer, Sir Robert Sterling (Timothy Spall)? Preoccupied with social climbing, Sir Robert and his snooty sister Lady… (more)

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