Man in Grey, The (1943)

The Man in Grey (1943), directed by Leslie Arliss.

I'm posting this one only because Criterion recently released it with two others as "Three Wicked Melodramas", all from Gainsborough Pictures, specialists in women's romantic bodice-rippers. I reviewed one of the others, The Wicked Lady (1945), as a PAL import a while ago.

This is not as lively or lusty as the other picture, but it represents a large literary genre invisible to everyone apart from the (mostly female) readers who keep their worn paperbacks hidden from public view: the Regency Romance.

Girls school (two to a bed), a mean and resentful student (like Becky Sharp) and her sunny and benevolent friend, a gypsy fortune-teller, midnight elopement with a soldier, husband hunting, a proud and touchy marquis, apprehensions about the wedding night, a black page who never grows up (actually an English boy in black-face), highwaymen, strolling players, dog fights, horse races, treachery and murder.

You can't have fun like that any more, but I'm guessing it's once only, even for Regency fans. Well-known cast.

Criterion Eclipse DVD.