The Iron Duke (film)

1934 film

The Iron Duke is a 1934 British historical film directed by Victor Saville and starring George Arliss, Ellaline Terriss and Gladys Cooper. Arliss plays Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington in the events leading up to the Battle of Waterloo and beyond.



With Napoleon defeated and exiled, the reluctant Duke of Wellington (George Arliss) is persuaded by Lord Castelreagh (Gerald Lawrence) to represent Great Britain's interests at the Congress of Vienna, where the victorious allies will decide the future of Europe. While there, his friend the Duchess of Richmond (Norma Varden) introduces the married man to the pretty Lady Frances Webster (Lesley Wareing), an ardent admirer, at her ball. During the course of the evening, however, Wellington receives an urgent message: Napoleon has escaped and has landed in France.

French King Louis XVIII and his niece and most trusted adviser, Madame, the Duchess d'Angoulême (Gladys Cooper), are not alarmed in the least. Ney (Edmund Willard), formerly one of Napoleon's marshals, volunteers to take 4000 picked men and capture his former leader. However, he switches sides.

With France once again under Napoleon's control, both sides race to reassemble their armies. Napoleon routs the Prussians under Marshal Blücher (Franklin Dyall) before coming to grips with his old nemesis Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. At the crucial point of the battle, Blücher's timely arrival turns the tide, and Napoleon is defeated for the final time.

The allies occupy France and gather in Paris to divide the spoils. Once again, Castelreagh sends Wellington to try to restrain the others from punishing France too severely, in order to ensure a lasting peace. Wellington's task is made more difficult by the opposition of Madame, who is certain he wants to rule France himself.

Wellington warns Louis that Madame's desire to have the still popular Ney executed for treason would risk another revolution. Madame arranges for Wellington's recall to London, to answer a newspaper story that he is carrying on an affair with Lady Frances. Wellington soon disproves the claim, but while he is gone, Ney is convicted and shot by firing squad. The French people are outraged. Upon his return, Wellington forces the King to dismiss his advisers, including Mada... more

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