Lady Godiva of Coventry
Lady Godiva of Coventry is a 1955 American Technicolor historical drama film, directed by Arthur Lubin. It starred Maureen O'Hara in the title role. Alec Harford, the English actor who portrayed Tom the Tailor, died eight months before the film's release.
|Lady Godiva of Coventry|
Theatrical release poster by Reynold Brown
|Directed by||Arthur Lubin|
|Produced by||Robert Arthur|
|Written by||Harry Ruskin|
|Based on||Story by Oscar Brodney|
|Music by||Hans J. Salter (uncredited)|
Frank Skinner (uncredited)
|Edited by||Paul Weatherwax|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The film is set in 11th century England. King Edward the Confessor (Eduard Franz) wants the Saxon Lord Leofric (George Nader), who rules Coventry, to marry a Norman woman, Yolanda. When he refuses, he is sentenced to jail, where he meets Godiva (Maureen O'Hara), the sheriff's sister. The two fall in love and soon they are wed. The times are turbulent and Godiva proves a militant bride; unhistorically, unrest between the Anglo-Saxon populace and the increasingly influential Norman French lead to her famous ride.
- Maureen O'Hara as Lady Godiva
- George Nader as Lord Leofric
- Victor McLaglen: Grimald
- Rex Reason: Harold
- Torin Thatcher: Lord Godwin
- Eduard Franz as King Edward
- Leslie Bradley: Comte Eustace
- Arthur Shields: Innkeeper
- Robert Warwick: Humbert
- Arthur Gould-Porter: Thorold
- Grant Withers: Pendar
- Anthony Eustrel: Prior
- Kathryn Givney : An Abbess
- Sim Iness: Oswin
- Thayer Roberts: William, Duke of Normandy
- Alec Harford: Tom the Tailor
- Clint Eastwood as First Saxon
In early 1954, it was announced that Maureen O'Hara would star in the film based on a script by Oscar Brodney produced by Robert Arthur. It was made at Universal, where O'Hara had a one-film-a-year contract. The script was described as "semi-historical".
Lex Barker was reportedly going to play the male lead but O'Hara objected, claiming audiences would only see him as Tarzan. Jeff Chandler was signed instead. Victor McLaglen joined the cast as Chandler's helper.
Shortly before filming began, however, Chandler was replaced by a Universal contractee, George Nader. Chandler was still making Foxfire which would finish only a day before Godiva was scheduled to start and wanted a break. (Nader had previously replaced Chandler on Five Rivers to Cross after the star was suspended by the studio due to a contract dispute.)
Arthur Lubin was assigned to direct. He said he did not want to but the studio would put him under suspension if he refused. He later called it "a bad picture".
Maureen O'Hara filmed the famous ride wearing a leotard, with her long hair covering the rest of her body. Arthur Lubin said he was inspired by the painting of Landseer. The sequence was shot on a closed set.
Diabolique magazine later wrote "Why this movie tanked compared to other colourful costume periods of the time is a mystery – it’s bright and cheerful and stars Maureen O’Hara in all her red haired glory (she does the final ride in a body stocking, in case you’re wondering). Maybe more screen time should have been devoted to her rather than her leading man, Universal’s back up Jeff Chandler, George Nader, but I’ve always liked this movie – like so much of Lubin’s output, it was perfect Saturday afternoon TV fodder when I was growing up."
- "Drama: Merian Cooper Paid Honor in Washington". Los Angeles Times. 25 February 1954. p. A12.
- Thomas M. Pryor (25 February 1954). "IT'S BEEN 14 YEARS AND FILMS CHANGE: So Pine-Thomas (We Want to Make a Million) Switch to Million-Dollar Movies". New York Times. p. 25.
- Hopper, Hedda (14 August 1954). "Looking at Hollywood: One Good Role Brings Another for Bob Stack". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 14.
- Parsons, Louella (10 July 1954). "Boss Plans to Keep Jeff Hopping". The Washington Post and Times Herald. p. 6.
- Thomas M. Pryor (23 August 1954). "HESTON KEPT BUSY IN 4 SCREEN ROLES: Completing 2 for Paramount, He Is Set for Films With de Mille and Universal". New York Times. p. 21.
- Thomas M. Pryor (26 August 1954). "NADER TO REPLACE CHANDLER 2D TIME: Actor Will Be Co-Star With Maureen O'Hara in 'Lady Godiva' Film at U.-I". New York Times. p. 24.
- Davis, Roland L. (2005). Just Making Movies: Company Directors on the Studio System. University of Press Mississippi. p. 184.
- Schallert, Edwin (14 August 1954). "Brisson Will Produce Saroyan Stage Musical; Widmark Mulls Three". Los Angeles Times. p. 11.
- Edwin Schallert (4 September 1954). "Leo Genn Purchases Old Mexico Story; Rex Reason's Name Restored". Los Angeles Times. p. 11.
- Philip K Scheuer (5 September 1954). "A TOWN CALLED HOLLYWOOD: Lady Godiva, Member of Horsy Set, to Ride Again". Los Angeles Times. p. D2.
- Hollywood (12 September 1954). "LONE RANGER". New York Times. p. X5.
- Vagg, Stephen (14 September 2019). "The Cinema of Arthur Lubin". Diabolique Magazine.