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Bad Lord Byron

Ambitious, eccentric and hugely entertaining biopic, with Dennis Price's 'wicked' poet-adventurer defending himself in a celestial court.

Biopic 1949 83 mins


Many and varied are the delights of this spirited defence of the "mad, bad and dangerous to know" Lord Byron: poet, lover and champion of Greek independence. There's Joan Greenwood as Lady Caroline Lamb (her reciting of She Walks in Beauty is alone worth the price of admission) and Stephen Dade's magnificent cinematography. Above all, there's Greenwood's Kind Hearts co-star, Dennis Price, in his last major starring role for British cinema, playing Byron not as a stereotyped Gainsborough-style cad but as a charismatic aesthete, his opening words "I am perfectly fit - to die", setting the mood.

The Bad Lord Byron was one of the most personal films of its producer, Sydney Box: a biopic of "one of the most fascinating Englishman who ever breathed". It was also one of his most expensive; the cost was a then-considerable £223,000, which ruled out using Technicolor as it would have added another third to the budget. The project was initially mooted in 1944 with Eric Portman in the title role, but Box ultimately opted for Price, who was reckoned to be easier to work with. Digitisation supported by the Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation.