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Lady Godiva (1911)

In medieval Coventry a woman takes a naked horse ride to protest against her husbands policy of high taxation.


J. Stuart Blackton


Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem), Eugene Mullin (scenario)




Cast overview:
Julia Swayne Gordon ... Lady Godiva
Robert Gaillard ... Earl Leofric
Kate Price
Harry Ward Harry Ward
Stanley Dunn Stanley Dunn
Hal Wilson ... Peeping Tom (as Harold Wilson)
Alfred Hollingsworth Alfred Hollingsworth
Clara Kimball Young
James Young


Earl Leofric, of Coventry. England, placed a grievous tax upon his townspeople, who have already been so heavily levied upon that they are on the verge of starvation. Lady Godiva, the Earl's wife, pleads with him to revoke the tax and relieve the sufferings of the people. He answers in a spirit half in jest, and whole in earnest, thinking that she will not agree to such a proposition, that if she will ride naked through the town, he will repeal the tax. Her heart is wrung with the sufferings of her people, and she is neither contented in mind, nor easy in spirit, until she replies she will pay the price of their freedom and perform the undertaking, cost what it may. She sends heralds forth through the town, saying that she will free the people from their bonds according to the edict of her husband, by riding unclothed through the town. Nature has blessed her with an abundant growth of hair, which hangs far below her waist and covers her as with a mantle. But notwithstanding, a notice ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Drama







Release Date:

21 October 1911 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Naked as in without proscenium arch
22 May 2008 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

By the time J. Stuart Blackton directed this version of the story of how Lady Godiva came to ride naked through the streets of Coventry, Vitagraph had gotten the Word: not an inkling of the proscenium arch remains in this composition; and, if at times, the actors seem to be just standing around in a state of confusion -- Griffith knew how to direct crowds, and the folks over at Edison avoided the issue by doing without crowds -- at least they form pleasing compositions and point the way towards the end of the irised shots to vary composition. Vitagraph, indeed, was in the thick of the competition to advance the art of movie-making at this point and would be the last of the Patent Trust companies standing, still producing the occasional hit feature through the mid-twenties.

It's a pity that the acting in this movie is still definitely pre-Griffith. And the delectable Miss Julia Swayne Gordon does not, alas, ride naked, clothed only in her long tresses. She is definitely wearing a body stocking when she climbs aboard the horse.

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