THE EXCITING EIGHTIES: The Lady and the Highwayman (1989)

Barbara Cartland’s romance novel Cupid Rides Pillion was filmed as this British TV movie, one of the first appearances by Hugh Grant, who appears alongside a pretty solid cast that includes Oliver Reed (once a werewolf, once a diver out of a mansion window in Burnt Offerings), Claire Bloom (Clash of the Titans), Michael York (who I associate with this type of movie most often, as he was in The Three Muskateers), Emma Samms (Dynasty), Sir John Mills (Quatermass in the 1979 TV movie) and Liz Fraser (who was in many of the Carry On movies) among others.

It’s yet another time I watch a movie and am amazed that it’s a John Hough movie. The guy has such a vast resume — everything from Twins of Evil and The Legend of Hell House in the late 60’s horror genre to great 70’s fare like Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry and the two Witch Mountain movies and then some out there 80’s stuff like The Watcher in the WoodsAmerican GothicBiggles and Howling IV: The Original Nightmare.

Emma Samms’ character of Lady Castlemaine is based on the life of Barbara Palmer, First Duchess of Cleveland, one of King Charles II’s mistresses and the mother of several of his children, in case you’re into British scandals.

This is the story of Lord Lucius Vyne (Grant), who is loyal to King Charles II and helping help to return to rule after Cromwell. He takes on a secret identity as the Silver Blade, kind of like a musketeer of sorts. He’s too late to save Lady Panthea Vyne’s (Lysette Anthony, Krull) King Charles Spaniel from being stomped to death, so fair warning if you like small dogs.

Even when the king comes back, he has enemies, so the Silver Blade remains in his service, even when it nearly costs him and his lady love’s life.

You can watch this on Tubi and trust me, the print is just as horrible on the Mill Creek release. I think with a British TV movie from the late 80’s, this is as good as we’re going to get.

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