Saraband for Dead Lovers
‘Saraband for Dead Lovers’ (1948) was the first colour film made by Ealing Studios. It was released in the United States as ‘Saraband’. Based on the novel by Helen Simpson and directed by Basil Dearden, it is set in seventeenth century Hanover and tells the story of the doomed romance between Sophia Dorothea of Celle (Joan Greenwood) and Count Philip Christoph von Konigsmarck (Stewart Granger).
The opening credits of the story set the scene:
From a Germany that was then a collection of small and independent states, GEORGE LOUIS of Hanover succeeded to the throne of England. As KING GEORGE the FIRST he left behind him a prisoner in the CASTLE of AHLDEN – a woman whose name he tried to obliterate from the pages of history, whose story he determined should die with her. It was the story of the woman who had been his wife …. SOPHIE DOROTHEA.
‘Saraband for Dead Lovers’ was Ealing Studios first attempt at a historical melodrama and it tried to remain faithful to the historical facts. This may have slowed the pace and, although Flora Robson received acclaim for her portrayal of the evil Countess Clara von Platen, critics felt that the film did not quite capture the true madness of the story. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.
A saraband is a slow, stately, Spanish dance.
You can read more about Sophia Dorothea’s story here:
My Pinterest board for Saraband for Dead Lovers is here: