The Bad Lord Byron (1949)

85m, 7,610 feet
35mm, black and white, 1.37:1
mono (British Acoustic), English

A British fantasy film directed by David MacDonald.

Plot Summary

In the aftermath of a battle in Greece, Lord Byron lies gravely ill. He of being put on trial after his death, defended for being a great poet and honourable soldier while also being accused of being a seducer and libertine.


Director: David MacDonald
Sydney Box Production, Walter Reade Organization
Executive Producer: Sidney Box
Producer: Aubrey Baring
Associate Producer: Alfred Roome
Production Manager: Anthony Nelson Keys
Script: Terence Young, Anthony Thorne, Peter Quennell, Laurence Kitchin, Paul Holt
Assistant Director: Don Weeks
Director of Photography: Stephen Dade
Camera Operator: David Harcourt
Editor: James Needs
Music: Cedric Thorpe Davie
Music Director: Muir Mathieson
Sound Recordists: L. Hammond, W. Salter
Sound Director: Brian C. Sewell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Haffenden
Make Up: W.T. Partleton
Special Effects: P. Guidobaldi, A. Whitlock
Supervising Art Director: George Provis
Art Director: Maurice Carter

Dennis Price (Lord Byron)
Mai Zetterling (Teresa Guiccioli)
Joan Greenwood (Lady Caroline Lamb)
Linden Travers (Augusta Leigh)
Sonia Holm (Annabella Milbanke)
Raymond Lovell (John Hobhouse)
Leslie Dwyer (Fletcher)
Denis O'Dea (prosecuting counsel)
Irene Browne (Lady Melbourne)
Leo Texera (Pietro Gamba)
Ernest Thesiger (Count Guiccioli)
Gerard Heinz (Austrian officer)
Cyril Chamberlain (defending counsel)
Wilfrid Hyde-White (Mr Hopton)
Henry Oscar (Count Gamba)
Richard Molinas (gondolier)
Robert Harris (Dallas)
Ronald Adam (judge)
Archie Duncan (John Murray)
Barry Jones (Colonel Stonhope)
Natalie Moya (Lady Milbanke)
John Stone (Lord Clark)
Nora Swinburne (Lady Jersey)
Liam Gaffney (Tom Moore)
Betty Lynne (Signora Segati)
Zena Marshall (an Italian woman)
John Salew (Samuel Rogers)
Aubrey Mallalieu [first old club member – uncredited]

Alternative Titles

Lord Byron – Italian title
Loistava Byron – Finnish title
Vom sündigen Poeten – German title


Film Industry vol.6 no.44 (24 March 1949) p.7
How we wish Mr Box had kept to his delightful Huggetts or good modern dramas such as Portrait from Life and left Lord Byron alone. […] [w]e have a series of disconnected incidents strung together by a constant return to the heavenly (presumably) trial, a device that is ineffective and irritating. The dialogue also is bad, the contrast between actual quotations from Byron and the lines he is given in the film being so marked as to be ludicrous. […] Dennis Price is excellent in the lead and it is time he was given something more worthwhile to do. He struggles manfully against banalities of plot and dialogue and it is a great deal to his credit that he makes the part convincing at odd moments. – from a review by K.R.

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.16 no.184 (April 1949) p.58
The opening sequences of the film jump tediously from one thing to another, and the sudden contrasts of austere courtroom with elaborate Regency settings, though they are well photographed, are disconcerting in the extreme. The various testimonies are disconnected, and often it takes a moment to place them chronologically. The film's real weakness, however, is that Dennis Price is not convincing as Byron; he does not show the fascination that would make his supposed power over women credible, and so the whole fabric of the film is weakened. […] In the selection of the material to be included the choice has obviously been to concentrate mainly upon Byron's lovelife and to ignore other details of his biography and work, but even taking this fact into account the film is very disappointing. – writer not credited



  • Box Office 17 May 1952 – review
  • Film Industry vol.6 no.44 (24 March 1949) p.7 – credits, review
  • The Hollywood Reporter 15 March 1951 – review
  • Media & Education Magazine no.164 (2010) pp.110-115 – article (Bright star and poets in film: Mad, bad and dangerous to know – but not always by Brian McFarlane)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.16 no.184 (April 1949) p.58 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.52 no.619 (August 1985) pp.259-261 – illustrated article (Gainsborough: The times of its time by Raymond Durgnat)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.52 no.621 (October 1985) pp.324-320 – illustrated article (Gainsborough: What's in a costume by Sue Harper)
  • Today's Cinema vol.72 no.5779 (18 March 1949) pp.6-7 – review (by L.H.C.)
  • TV Times 23-29 April 1988 p.36 – credits


  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.23 – credits

Other Sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide May 2015 p.19 – illustrated listing