Lloyds of London traces the rise to prominence of the venerable British insurance company, as seen through the eyes of fictional 19th-century Londoner Jonathan Blake (Tyrone Power, in his first starring role). A lifelong friend of naval hero Lord Nelson, Blake puts his job (and the future existence of Lloyds) on the line when he announces Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar – before it takes place.
Martin Luther (1953) Irving Pichel, Niall MacGinnis, John Ruddock, Pierre Lefevre, Biography, Drama, History
This biographical account of Martin Luther’s actions that eventually created the Protestant and Lutheran religions was filmed in conjunction with the Lutheran Church. Niall MacGinnis portrays the monk who’s nailing of his list of 95 theses to the church door in Worms created a stir so large that it shook the very foundations of the Catholic Church. This film shows the struggle between Luther and the organized church and how the Catholic Church was not fully explaining things he questioned, which led him to be labeled a heretic.
House Un-American Activities Committee investigators Jim McLain and Mal Baxter come to Hawaii to track Communist Party activities. They are interested in everything from insurance fraud to the sabotage of a U.S. naval vessel.
A Passage to India (1984) David Lean, Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft, Adventure, Drama, History
Circa 1920, during the Indian British rule, Dr. Aziz H. Ahmed was born and brought up in India. He is proficient in English, and wears Western style clothing. He meets an old lady, Mrs. Moore, at a mosque, who asks him to accompany her and her companion, Adela Quested, for sight-seeing around some caves. Thereafter the organized life of Aziz is turned upside down when Adela accuses him of molesting her in a cave. Aziz is arrested and brought before the courts, where he learns that the entire British administration is against him, and would like to see him found guilty and punished severely, to teach all native Indians what it means to molest a British citizen. Aziz is all set to witness the “fairness” of the British system, whose unofficial motto is “guilty until proved innocent.”
In 1866, a new gold discovery and an inconclusive conference force the U.S. Army to build a road and fort in territory ceded by previous treaty to the Sioux…to the disgust of frontier scout Jim Bridger, whose Cheyenne wife led him to see the conflict from both sides. The powder-keg situation needs only a spark to bring war, and violent bigots like Lieut. Rob Dancy are all too likely to provide this. Meanwhile, Bridger’s chance of preventing catastrophe is dimmed by equally wrenching personal conflicts. Unusually accurate historically.
The Firefly (1937) Robert Z. Leonard, Jeanette MacDonald, Allan Jones, Warren William, History, Musical, Romance
Nina Maria Azara is the beautiful and alluring singing spy for Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. Her mission is to seduce French Officers, in order for them to reveal Napolean’s intentions toward Spain. She is sent to Bayonne, France to gather military secrets. Prior to this, she meets, Don Diego while performing at a club. Unknown to her, Don Diego is actually Captain Andre, who is sent to Spain to spy on her. While in France, Nina discovers Diego’s true identity, only after she has fallen in love with him. Nina Maria outwits her potential captors and returns to Spain, and goes into hiding. Napoleon’s troops invade Spain, resulting in Nina’s capture. In a strange twist of fate, Nina and Captain Andre are reunited, but, the 2 nations are now at war…
The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1937) Hanns Schwarz, Barry K. Barnes, Sophie Stewart, Margaretta Scott, Drama, History, Romance
Sir Percy Blakeney(in the guise of the masked Scarlet Pimpernel), an Englishman who with the aid of a band of his friends, is engaged in spiriting FRench aristocrats across the English Channel to escape the guillotine. Robespierre, the ruthless revolutionary, informs the chief of the police he must capture the Scarlet Pimpernel or lose his own head to the blade. Blakeley’s wife is abducted and taken to France forcing him to follow in a rescue attempt.
The Gorgeous Hussy (1936) Clarence Brown, Joan Crawford, Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymore, Drama, History
It’s the early nineteenth century Washington. Young adult Margaret O’Neal – Peggy to most that know her – is the daughter of Major William O’Neal, who is the innkeeper of the establishment where most out-of-town politicians and military men stay when they’re in Washington. Peggy is pretty and politically aware. She is courted by several of those politicians and military men who all want to marry her, except for the one with who she is truly in love. Because of her personal situation at the time, she, in 1828, becomes the unofficial first lady to help her old friend – “old” both in terms of age and length of time – Andrew Jackson, who has just been elected President of the United States.
The rise and fall of the notorious Roman Emperor Caligula, showing the violent methods that he employs to gain the throne, and the subsequent insanity of his reign – he gives his horse political office and humiliates and executes anyone who even slightly displeases him. He also sleeps with his sister, organises elaborate orgies and embarks on a fruitless invasion of England before meeting an appropriate end.
Czlowiek z zelaza / Man of Iron (1981) Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Krystyna Janda, Marian Opania, Drama, History
A worker becomes a “man of iron” forged by experience, a son comes to terms with his father, a couple fall in love, a reporter searches for courage, and a nation undergoes historic change. In Warsaw in 1980, the Party sends Winkel, a weak, alcoholic TV hack, to Gdansk to dig up dirt on the shipyard strikers, particularly on Maciek Tomczyk, an articulate worker whose father was killed in the December 1970 protests. Posing as sympathetic, Winkel interviews people who know Tomczyk, including his detained wife, Agnieszka. Their narrations become flashbacks using actual news footage of 1968 and 1970 protests and of the later birth of free unions and Solidarity.