The Duchess

Synopsis: Georgiana Spencer became Duchess of Devonshire on her marriage to the Duke in 1774, at the height of the Georgian period, a period of fashion, decadence, and political change. Spirited and adored by the public at large she quickly found her marriage to be a disappointment, defined by her duty to produce a male heir and the Duke's philandering and callous indifference to her. She befriends Lady Bess but finds she is once again betrayed by her husband who wields his power with the three eventually living uncomfortably together. Against this background, and with the pressures of an unfaithful husband, strict social pressures and constant public scrutiny, Georgiana falls passionately in love with Charles Grey, a rising young Whig politician. However, despite his ongoing liaison with Lady Bess, the Duke refuses to allow her to continue the affair and threatens to take her children from her.
Director(s): Saul Dibb
Production: Paramount Vantage
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 7 wins & 21 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
110 min

Lord Thomas.

Lord Henry.

Lord Ambrose.

Lord Robert.

Lord Walter.

You'd better not let me down,

Charles Grey.

- I've got 20 guineas riding on you.

- Only 20? I'd double that if I were you.

Come on, ladies.

Gentlemen, twice around the course,

on my count.

Three, two,


- Come on, Mr. Grey!

- Come on, Thomas!

- Come on, Mr. Grey!

- Run, Lord Walter!

Come on, Mr. Grey!

Come on, Mr. Grey.

You're tired already.

- Come on, Mr. Grey!

- Faster!

I trust Your Grace still finds Georgiana

an attractive girl?

Of course, Lady Spencer.

She's an accomplished lady of quality

and devoted to her duties.

She's fluent in French, Italian, Latin

and fully versed in horsemanship

and dancing and...

Yes, I'm aware of all that.

She's a credit to you.

I can't think of anything

that would stand in the way

of a singularly happy marriage.

These are not the issues

that burden the Duke, Lady Spencer.

It is His Grace's duty to produce an heir.

On the other hand,

your daughter may expect

a handsome reward when that occurs.

- Thank you, Heaton.

- Your Grace.

Your Grace may rest assured.

The women in our family

have never forfeited on that account.

Well, with that assurance...

So be it, then.

Come on, Mr. Grey!

I do apologize, ladies,

but it appears that my horse has won.

Beat me again, Charles.

- Well done, Mr. Grey.

- Well done.

- So how much do we owe you?

- You owe me 40.

- Twenty, 40.

- My reward?

And what do you suggest?

Your mother wishes to see you,

Lady Georgiana.

Thank you.

I must apologize, Mama.

Were we making too much noise?

Not at all, my darling.

We have more important things

to talk of. Come here.

- I have heard a rumor.

- Yes?

That I will soon be addressing

my daughter

as Her Grace,

the Duchess of Devonshire.

- Is it true, Mama?

- It is.

The Duke of Devonshire?

I had hoped not to part with you

until 18 at the soonest,

but, with such a fine match,

it would be selfish of me

not to let you go.

- He loves me?

- Yes, of course.

I have only met him twice.

When one truly loves someone,

one doesn't have to know them well

to be sure, Georgiana.

One feels it right away.

- I do believe you will be happy with him.

- I shall, Mama. I know I shall.

- Come on!

- She's here!

Your Grace! Your Grace!

- There she is!

- Duchess!

What do they want?

To see me and my new wife, of course.

It can be a nuisance,

but you'll get used to it.

Welcome, Your Grace.

Come, boys. Come on.

Hugo, Hugo. Come.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

It's all right. Yes, yes. This way.

Hugo. Come, boy. Come.

Scissors. You may go.

For the life of me,

I could never understand

why women's clothes

must be so damn complicated.

It's just our way

of expressing ourselves, I suppose.

Whatever do you mean?

Well, you have so many ways

of expressing yourselves,

whereas we must make do

with our hats and our dresses.

Would you go to the bed?

One has to accept one's responsibility.

Certain obligations come with marriage,

no matter how burdensome

they may seem.

Yes, but when we are together...

But when we are together, intimately,

I mean...

I know. It can be a bother.

However, it is only

until you have given him a son.

Then the occasions will become fewer

and less determined.

I think it might feel different

if he would talk to me

every once in a while.

I mean, it's not that he's unkind,

but he never talks to me.

I thought that he would be like Papa,

that under his cool reserve

there'd be a wealth of depth

and sentiment,

but he isn't interested in anything,

apart from his dogs.

Try not to be too hard on His Grace, G.

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Jeffrey Hatcher

Jeffrey Hatcher is an American playwright and screenwriter. He wrote the stage play Compleat Female Stage Beauty, which he later adapted into a screenplay, shortened to just Stage Beauty (2004). He also co-wrote the stage adaptation of Tuesdays with Morrie with author Mitch Albom, and Three Viewings, a comedy consisting of three monologues - each of which takes place in a funeral home. He wrote the screenplay Casanova for director Lasse Hallström, as well as the screenplay for The Duchess (2008). He has also written for the Peter Falk TV series Columbo and E! Entertainment Television. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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