Tag Archives: British Royalty

Victoria & Abdul

HISTORY’S MOST UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP. In 1887, Indian clerk Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is one of two men hired to deliver a ceremonial gift to Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) in England; the ruler becomes fascinated by Abdul and makes him her spiritual guide… Dench returned to the part of Queen Victoria after playing her in Mrs. … Continue reading Victoria & Abdul

Braveheart: Not a History Lesson

THE COURAGE TO FACE FEAR.   As the story goes, American writer Randall Wallace made a trip to Scotland and came upon a statue at the entrance of Edinburgh Castle. Since the statue bore the name of Wallace, the writer was intrigued. This was not a relative, but William Wallace, the great Scottish war hero. … Continue reading Braveheart: Not a History Lesson

A Tedious Tome Turned Into a Miniseries

I recently finished Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” and felt utterly frustrated. A historical novel, the book covers 35 years in the life of Thomas Cromwell, the lawyer who became chief minister to King Henry VIII in the mid-1500s. We are introduced to vivid descriptions of Cromwell, his family, the King and everybody who played a … Continue reading A Tedious Tome Turned Into a Miniseries

Hyde Park on Hudson

THE PRESIDENT. THE FIRST LADY. THE KING. THE QUEEN. THE MOTHER. THE MISTRESS… ONE WEEKEND WOULD UNITE TWO GREAT NATIONS… AFTER COCKTAILS, OF COURSE.  In the summer of 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Bill Murray) seduces his sixth cousin (Laura Linney) while also preparing to entertain the King and Queen of England at his New … Continue reading Hyde Park on Hudson

W.E.

Madonna’s second film as director follows two separate stories that are romantically connected – the love affair between Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, and a New Yorker’s (Abbie Cornish) budding fascination with it 50 years later. Madonna’s ambitions are high, but her way of presenting the stories is clumsy and unnecessarily pretentious, without ever allowing … Continue reading W.E.

The Young Victoria

LOVE RULES ALL. In the late 1830s, young Princess Victoria (Emily Blunt) is preparing to assume the British throne, but faces constant manipulation from her mother and her uncle, the King of Belgium. Or, How Queen Victoria found her groove. This project, which came about after a meeting between the Duchess of York and producer … Continue reading The Young Victoria

Anonymous

WAS SHAKESPEARE A FRAUD? At the end of the Elizabethan era, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) hires a playwright called Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) to act as his front, hoping to use his own plays as a political weapon. A labor of love for Roland Emmerich that nevertheless turns out much like his previous … Continue reading Anonymous

The Other Boleyn Girl

IN A TIME WHEN A WOMAN’S DESTINY WAS DETERMINED BY HER FATHER, ONE SISTER FOLLOWED THE RULES. THE OTHER DEFIED THEM.  In 1520s England, Queen Catherine is unable to give Henry VIII (Eric Bana) a son and the King’s attention wanders to two beautiful sisters, the Boleyns (Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson)… The story of Anne … Continue reading The Other Boleyn Girl

To Play the King

Prime Minister Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson) is haunted by the crimes of his past – and challenged by the new King (Michael Kitchen) who disapproves of his social policies. This sequel to House of Cards (1990) is almost as good; an intelligent, icy portrayal of power at its deadliest. Ironically, that darkness is counterbalanced by a monarchy that … Continue reading To Play the King

Becket: The Bishop Who Found God

A TASTE FOR WINE AND WOMEN MADE THEM FRIENDS. A SUDDEN CLASH MADE THEM MAN AND MARTYR… WHICH LED TO MURDER!   When I told a friend recently that I had just seen Becket and that Richard Burton plays the Archbishop of Canterbury, he quickly lost interest. Witnessing a showdown between the King and the Primate of … Continue reading Becket: The Bishop Who Found God

Black Adder: Hilarious History

At a time when Rowan Atkinson chooses to make another Johnny English, one certainly needs to be reminded of an era when he was actually funny. Those days were the 1980s and Atkinson’s pinnacle of achievement became the TV series Black Adder. Conceived by him and Richard Curtis while they were working on Not the Nine O’Clock News (1979-1982), … Continue reading Black Adder: Hilarious History

The Tudors

After writing two movies about Elizabeth I, Michael Hirst turned his attention to another Tudor, her father, the guy who was married six times and had two of his wives beheaded. Over four seasons, we followed the tribulations of King Henry VIII as he struggled to find a woman who could give him a male heir, separated … Continue reading The Tudors