Nell Gwynn (1934 film)

Nell Gwynn is a 1934 British historical drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Cedric Hardwicke, Jeanne de Casalis, Miles Malleson and Moore Marriott. The film portrays the historical romance between Charles II of England and the actress Nell Gwynn.[1] In the opening credits, the screenplay is attributed to Miles Malleson, "in collaboration with King Charles II, Samuel Pepys and Nell Gwyn." [2] It was also released as Mistress Nell Gwyn.

Nell Gwynn
Directed byHerbert Wilcox
Produced byHerbert Wilcox
Written byMiles Malleson
StarringAnna Neagle
Cedric Hardwicke
Jeanne de Casalis
Miles Malleson
Moore Marriott
Music byPhilip Braham
CinematographyFreddie Young (as F.A. Young)
Edited byMerrill G. White
Herbert Wilcox Productions (for) British & Dominions Film Corporation
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • 1 August 1934 (1934-08-01) (London)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom



Herbert Wilcox had enjoyed a big success with the Nell Gwynn story in 1926 with Dorothy Gish and decided to remake it with Anna Neagle. Part of the finance was raised by United Artists. The film encountered censorship difficulties in the US, insisting on the deletion of some scenes and addition of others, including a marriage between James and Nell, and an ending where Nell winds up in the gutter.[3]


The film flopped in the US but was a big success in the rest of the world.[3]

Critical reception

The New York Times wrote, "Sir Cedric Hardwicke's superb portrait of a monarch who combined dignity and a love of pleasure sets the tone for the entire film, its easy graciousness and its pungent humors. Anna Neagle gives us a gay and sprightly Nell, seasoning the part with wantonness and edging it with vulgarity. These two, with Herbert Wilcox's fetching production at their back, set a gallant age in motion on the screen... All of the English players wear their laces and plumes with that true nonchalance which is one of their special gifts to the cinema. This "Nell Gwyn" is a costumed comedy of grace and wit";[4] and Graham Greene wrote, "I have seen few things more attractive than Miss Neagle in breeches." [5]


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