The Duchess (film)

The Duchess (film)

Infobox Film
name = The Duchess

image_size = 210px
caption = Promotional poster
director = Saul Dibb
producer = Gabrielle Tana
Carolyn Marks Blackwood
Michael Kuhn
writer = Jeffrey Hatcher
Amanda Foreman (biography)
narrator =
starring = Keira Knightley
Ralph Fiennes
Hayley Atwell
Charlotte Rampling
Dominic Cooper
music =
cinematography =
editing = Masahiro Hirakubo
distributor = Paramount Vantage
BBC Films
Qwerty Films
released = flagicon|UK September 5 2008
flagicon|US September 19 2008
runtime = 110 min.
country = United Kingdom
language = English
budget = £13,5 million
$25,2 million
€17,1 million [ [ On-set report: The Duchess] "The Telegraph". Retrieved August 16, 2008.]
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0864761

"The Duchess" is a film based on Amanda Foreman's best-selling biography of the scandalous, 18th-century English aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. It was released in September 2008 in the UK. Originally to be directed by Susanne Bier, [(18 September 2006) [ Susanne Bier finds The Duchess:Open Hearts helmer glamming up for period love story] , Total Film] "The Duchess" was directed by Saul Dibb.


Set at the end of the eighteenth century, The Duchess is based on the life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. While her beauty and charisma made her name, her extravagant tastes and appetite for gambling and love made her infamous. Married young to the older, distant Duke of Devonshire, intimate of ministers and princes, Georgiana became a fashion icon, a doting mother, a shrewd political operator and darling of the common people, but at the core of the story is a desperate search for love. The film also delves into Georgiana’s passionate and doomed affair with Earl Grey to the complex love triangle with her husband and her best friend, Lady Bess Foster.


"The Duchess" is financed by BBC Films and Pathé. [DAWTREY, Adam (29 July 2007) [ Keira Knightley set for 'Duchess':Actress to play the controversial blueblood] , Variety] "The Duchess" was filmed at Twickenham Film Studios and on-location at Chatsworth, Bath, Holkham Hall, Clandon Park, Kedleston Hall, Somerset House and The University of Greenwich.

Regarding lead actress Keira Knightley, director Saul Dibb said "The Duchess" was "a chance to take a character from late childhood — she's married at 17 — into full adulthood, 10 years later."cite web | url=,,20219070_20219072_20218882,00.html | title=2008 Fall Movie Guide: Preview: "The Duchess" | publisher=Time Inc. | work=Entertainment Weekly, Issue #1007/1008 | date=August 22–29, 2008 | pages=pg. 50 | accessdate=2008-10-02] It was also a chance to work with Ralph Fiennes, whom she regarded as one of her most accomplished costars to date; Dibb said, "When I said, 'We've got Ralph interested in playing the Duke,' we both took a gulp and went, 'F---.' ["sic"] ... But I didn't for one second feel that she wasn't up to the task."


*Keira Knightley as Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire
*Ralph Fiennes as William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire
*Hayley Atwell as Bess Foster
*Charlotte Rampling as Lady Spencer
*Dominic Cooper as Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
*Aidan McArdle as Richard Brinsley Sheridan
*Emily Jewell as Nanny
*Calvin Dean as Devonshire House Servant
*Simon McBurney as Charles James Fox
*Hannah Stokely as Maid
*Richard Syms as Dr Neville
*Richard McCabe as Sir James Hare
*Andy Armour as Burleigh the Butler
*Emily Cohen as Harryo
*Poppy Wigglesworth as Charlotte (aged 10)
*Mercy Fiennes Tiffin as Little Georgiana
*Sebastian Applewhite as Augustus
*Eva Hrela as Charlotte (aged 3)
*Bruce Mackinnon as Sir Peter Teazle actor
*Alistair Petrie as Heaton
*Georgia King as Lady Teazle actress
*Kate Burdette as Lady Harriet
*Paul Daley as George Augustus Henry Cavendish, created 1st Earl of Burlington of the 2nd order ( aka Duke's Brother)
*Hannah Stretton as Lady Mary
*Hollie Standish-Leigh as Lady Patricia



Studio executives wanted to use digitally altered images of Keira Knightley in promotional materials. The alterations were specifically aimed at enlarging her breasts. However, Knightley objected to the alterations and they were not used. ["Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld." Fox News. Broadcast date: July 30, 2008.]

Theatrical release

The BBFC has classified the film as a 12A, citing the scene of implied marital rape, which is "delivered through Georgiana's screams of protest, heard from outside the bedroom door." The BBFC's PG rating allows implied sex as long as it is discreet and infrequent; the board decided that the scene in "The Duchess" is more than "discreet" or "implied". [" [ The Duchess rated 12A by the BBFC] " "British Board of Film Classification". Retrieved on 13 August 2008.] The film had its world premiere on September 3 2008 in Leicester Square and will be released nationwide in the United Kingdom on September 5. [cite news | url= | title=2008 awards season shaping up | author=Pamela McClintock | publisher=Variety | date=2008-03-31 | accessdate=2008-04-01 ] [cite news | url= | title=Knightley stars at Duchess launch | publisher=BBCNews | date=2008-09-03 | accessdate=2008-09-04 ]

Release history

Critical reception

The film received mixed, though mostly positive, reviews gaining 63% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus that "Keira Knightley squeezes into a corset again, and pulls off another worthy performance in this sumptuous and emotional period drama, that serves parallels to the Duchess's descendent Princess Diana." [ [ The Duchess (2008)] ] . Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian wrote that "Dibb's movie looks good" [however] "exasperatingly bland and slow-moving at all times" handing out a 2 of 5 star rating. However, Paul Hurley gave the film 8/10 and called The Duchess "an excellent new film" and states that "The Duchess stands a good chance of taking home some very big prizes at the end of the year" []

Most reviewers have highly praised Knightley's and Fiennes performances. Timeout London wrote: " [Saul Dibb] is also helped enormously by a mature, restrained portrayal from Knightley, a masterclass in passive aggression from Fiennes and a performance of tender seduction from Atwell." [From Time Out London [] ] The Epoch Times writes, "Ralph Fiennes brings a human quality to [the Duke] by avoiding any intent, exaggeration or ill will" and "Keira Knightley’s performance gains new depth — she not only perfectly portrays a witty and feminine Georgiana early in the film, but also a caring mother, and an abandoned woman later on. Also remarkable in this role is Knightley’s ability to portray the strengths, weaknesses, and the internal hurdles of Georgiana, as well as her internal contemplation." [Keira Knightley Shines in Premiere of Duchess] Film Ireland writes "It is a slow movie but it is well acted with Knightley and Fiennes suited to their roles, especially Fiennes who gives a formidable and powerful performance." []

Cameron Baily, the co-chair of The Toronto International Festival comments; “The Duchess Of Devonshire, with Keira Knightley, which is a beautiful film and she gives a really mature performance. You’re seeing her really turn into something beyond the kind of pretty face that we’ve seen her do already so well. But she’s actually a very serious actress and she’s turning into a great, great performer.” [Brad Pitt And Keira Knightley Among Big Names Confirmed For T.O. Film Fest(]

Both Fiennes and Knightley have already generated Oscar buzz for their roles in the film. [] []


External links

* [ "The Duchess" official website]
*imdb title|0864761|title=The Duchess
* [ Twickenham Studios] , the studio location
* [ Magnolia Mae Films] , the production company
* [ on set report]
* [ interview with Dominic Cooper on "The Duchess" by Dan Lybarger]

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