January 2, 2017


Margaret Lockwood (1916-1990) b. Karachi, India.

Margaret Lockwood

Margaret Lockwood was born in India, a daughter of the Raj, brought up in England by a cold, domineering mother, and was an experienced child actor before studying at Rada. She had appeared in around thirty films by 1943, many of them ‘quota quickies’, but the list includes a number of roles for Michael Powell and Carol Reed, the lead role in Alfred Hitchcock‘s The Lady Vanishes (1939) and a role as the idealistic Michael Redgrave’s scheming wife in The Stars Look Down (1939). This success This brought her to the attention of Hollywood, but after two unsuccessful films there in 1939, she returned home.

It it was the period from 1943 to 1947, from The Man in Grey (1943) to Jassy (1947), which defined her image as the wicked lady of the Gainsborough melodramas, offering to postwar women an alternative image of womanhood. Her exchanges with James Mason in The Wicked Lady (1945) make it unambiguous that her body has a market value, to be bargained for rather than innocently wooed with romantic love. Of course, she is punished in the end, but not before she has established that conquest and desire are not exclusively male pursuits. The popularity, particularly among women, of the melodramatic extravagance of the Lockwood character suggests an undercurrent to the restraint of British realism which recent feminist criticism has begun to recognise. From 1965 she had a second career on television in the popular soap opera, The Flying Swan.

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