|Lady Caroline Lamb|
|Directed by||Robert Bolt|
|Written by||Robert Bolt|
|Produced by||Franco Cristaldi |
|Edited by||Norman Savage|
|Music by||Richard Rodney Bennett|
|Distributed by||MGM-EMI (UK) |
United Artists (US)
|22 November 1972|
Lady Caroline Lamb is a 1972 British epic romantic drama film based on the life of Lady Caroline Lamb, novelist, sometime lover of Lord Byron and wife of politician William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (later Prime Minister). The only film written and directed by Robert Bolt, it starred his wife, Sarah Miles, as Lady Caroline, Jon Finch, Richard Chamberlain, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, John Mills, Margaret Leighton and Michael Wilding.
The film describes the life of Lady Caroline Lamb (Sarah Miles) after she marries William Lamb (Jon Finch). Later she meets and has a torrid and obsessive affair with poet Lord Byron (Richard Chamberlain). Eventually he tires of and rejects her and she stalks him; when he decisively deserts her for his future wife, Miss Millbanke (Silvia Monti), she descends into depression. At the end of the film she dies from a broken heart.
- Sarah Miles as Lady Caroline Lamb
- Jon Finch as William Lamb
- Richard Chamberlain as Lord Byron
- John Mills as Canning
- Margaret Leighton as Lady Melbourne
- Pamela Brown as Lady Bessborough
- Silvia Monti as Miss Millbanke
- Ralph Richardson as King George IV.
- Laurence Olivier as Duke of Wellington
- Michael Wilding as Lord Holland
- Peter Bull as Minister
- Charles Carson as Potter
- Sonia Dresdel as Lady Pont
- Nicholas Field as St. John
- Trevor Peacock as Boxing Agent
- Norman Mitchell as Waiter
- Bernard Kay as Benson
- Caterina Boratto
- Felicity Gibson as Girl in Blue
The film was the directorial debut of screenwriter Robert Bolt and starred his wife Sarah Miles in the title role. Bolt said he was attracted to the story of Lamb because it "was funny, touching and entertaining" and felt the movie was about "the struggle between the romantics of the world and the classicists... The classical, ignoble view of life, as espoused by Wellington in the film, keep society going... but it's the romantics, like Caroline, who drive life, who instigate new ideas, and who often are the true geniuses."
Bolt said it was difficult to raise finance because people said they had not heard of Lady Caroline Lamb. In July 1971 it was announced the film, then called Lamb would be the first film financed by Tomorrow Entertainment, a subsidiary of General Electric, in association with Pulsar Productions and Vides Cinematographa of Rome. Richard Chamberlain and Sarah Miles would star, with cameos from Laurence Olivier, Margaret Leighton and John Mills. Filming was to start the following month in England and Rome and Fernando Ghia as producer. 
However these plans fell through. Eventually finance was raised from Anglo-EMI and General Electric but Bolt had to waive all his fee in order to keep artistic control.
"I've been playing zanies and eccentrics for the past few years," said Chamberlain, "so Byron is new for me. He was lie this incredible pop star."
"I'm not a good director but I know what the author intended," said Bolt.
Bolt did not direct another film. The film is also notable because it is the last film in which Michael Wilding appeared, in a cameo with his last wife, Margaret Leighton, who played Lady Melbourne. The film score was composed by Richard Rodney Bennett, who later based a concert work, Elegy for Lady Caroline Lamb for viola and orchestra, on some of the material.
Praise came for Laurence Olivier's cameo as the Duke of Wellington, with Philip French of The Times writing that "... Olivier's brief appearance as the Duke of Wellington is a beautifully witty and rounded characterisation that is worth the price of the admission in itself".
The Los Angeles Times called it "beautiful but dumb."
- "The wayward lady". The Australian Women's Weekly. 40 (34). Australia. 24 January 1973. p. 16. Retrieved 26 November 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
- John A. Wagner (25 February 2014). Voices of Victorian England: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life. ABC-CLIO. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-313-38689-3.
- Movies: Bolt of lighting hits the screen... Martin, James. Chicago Tribune 4 Mar 1973: e10.
- BOLT WILL DIRECT G.E.'S FIRST FILM: Also Wrote Script for New Subsidiary's 'Lamb' By A. H. WEILER. New York Times 28 July 1971: 21.
- Miles dressed up as Lamb: Robert Bolt has gone to Italy to complete work on the first film he has directed. BARRY NORMAN talks to him about the problems of embarking on a new career The Guardian (1959-2003); London (UK) [London (UK)]25 Mar 1972: 10.
- Chamberlain Career Surgery a Success Haber, Joyce. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]19 Nov 1972: w21.
- Movies: Five Gardeners (for All Seasons) Has Robert Bolt Blume, Mary. Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]13 Aug 1972: c20.
- The Films of Laurence Olivier, by Margaret Morley, Citadel, 1977, p 176
- CRITIC AT LARGE: Bolt's 'Lamb' in Lean Tradition Champlin, Charles. Los Angeles Times 26 Feb 1973: f1.
- Harper, Sue (2011). British Film Culture in the 1970s: The Boundaries of Pleasure: The Boundaries of Pleasure. Edinburgh University Press. p. 270. ISBN 9780748654260.
- http://awards.bafta.org/award/1973/film. Retrieved 26 February 2020.