The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (1996)
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (Original) / The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Moll Flanders (US)
In her filthy cell in Newgate prison Moll Flanders (Alex Kingston), dubbed "the wickedest woman in England" tells her story. Born in jail, after her mother is transported there, Moll is raised by the kindly Mayor of Colchester and his wife, whose two sons lust after her. She enjoys sex with handsome Rowland (Colin Buchanan), who teaches her that money talks, but, realizing he only wants her as a mistress, she marries his duller brother Robin (Ian Driver), who conveniently dies after five years, leaving her wealthy. She goes to London, briefly meeting highwayman James "Jemmy" Seagrave (Daniel Craig), and marries parvenu draper Daniel Dawkins (Christopher Fulford), but he has huge debts and must flee to France, leaving Moll alone and poor. Moll meets handsome young American sea Captain Lemuel Golightly (Tom Ward), who marries her and takes her to Virginia and a good lifestyle, along with his mother. They have two children and are blissfully happy until Moll discovers her mother-in-law (Dame Diana Rigg) is also her birth mother. She has married her own brother. She returns to England and poses as wealthy widow Lady Flanders, being proposed to by James "Jemmy" Seagrave, who has land in Ireland. Jemmy Seagrave turns out to be a penniless fortune-seeker like Moll, but there is love on both sides. He leaves her to resume life as a highwayman, but says he will return for her. On a coach to London - which Jemmy robs, but secretly gives Moll the other victims' goods - she meets protective banker Mr. Bland (James Fleet), who becomes her next spouse, but dies of shock when he learns he has been financially ruined. Moll is left poor and alone again and resorts to crime. Moll moves in with landlady Mrs. Riordan (Patti Love), a robbers' fence, along with fellow thief Lucy Diver (Nicola Walker), whom she initially meets after stealing the loot Jenny has hidden. The two women steal, and sometimes sleep, together, but Jenny is caught and hanged. Moll is depressed and even seems remorseful after stooping to robbing a little girl. She takes to rolling rich drunken lechers at the theatre, including Sir Richard Gregory (Ronald Fraser), who is much taken by her, but she is caught and sentenced to the gallows. In Newgate, she sees Jemmy, who has also been captured and whose fate is transportation. Moll prepares to meet her death, but Jemmy arrives at the gallows, having "persuaded" Sir Richard to commute her sentence to transportation. They sail to America together, to see her relatives again.