Lydia Bailey 1952

Twenty-one-year-old Anne Francis carries off the title-character role in 20th Century-Fox’s Lydia Bailey with class and finesse.

Lydia Bailey 5 1952

 

Set in Haiti during the Napoleonic era, the film concerns aristocratic landholder Lydia Bailey and her more-than-professional relationship with American attorney Albion Hamlin (Dale Robertson). The idealistic Hamlin becomes involved in the Haitian uprising against the French, aligning himself with rebel leader–and former slave–King Dick (William Marshall). At first, Lydia sides with the French, but she eventually realizes that Hamlin’s way is the right way.

 

Lydia Bailey 1952

Based on a novel by Kenneth Roberts. It is William Marshall as King Dick, with his considerable acting skill and imposing presence, who dominates the proceedings in a well-written, non-stereotypical role. The resourceful King Dick saves Hamlin’s life on more than one occasion, and it is plan for  Hamlin tom impersonate a slow-witted servant, that gets them within Leclerc’s stronghold. Their mission is to assassinate a traitor to the Haitian cause. Dale Robertson plays the hero,  Hamlin – he took on the role after Tyrone Power refused to do it,  and  Anne Francis (as the title character) is a beautiful woman and good in the role.

Lydia Bailey Film Poster 1952

Charles Korvin plays Andre D’Autremont, Bailey’s fiancé. Their love triangle is dwarfed by the larger story of Haitian revolutionary, where Ken Renard puts in an understated but effective appearance as the great Toussaint.

Lydia Bailey 4 1952

This was the film debut of William Marshall as King Dick, and what a career he could – and should - have had.

The film was originally to star Tyrone Power who went on suspension rather than film “another costume picture.   Power said he had filmed five historical-period films in a row and wished to do a film where “people talk normally and not in stilted dialogue.”  The lead was therefore given to one of Fox’s postwar contract players, Dale Robertson. With Fox’s option on the novel running out, the film was shot at the 20th Century Fox Movie Ranch and backlot of Fox’s California studios.

Lydia Bailey 3 1952

Lydia Bailey 2 1952

Colourful cinematography in Technicolor by Harry Jackson , shot in Calabasas , California and Ranch Twentieth Century Fox . Evocative production design enhanced with  matte painting . Thrilling  musical score by the classy composer Hugo Friedhofer .

The film was well directed by Jean Negulesco . He was a filmmaker of both popular , polished entertainments , as well as critically acclaimed prowess.

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