Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Films seen May 2017

1.Elizabeth I  DVD. Helen Mirren (Actor), Jeremy Irons (Actor), Tom Hooper (Director) 

An enjoyable portrayal of history though occasionally I believe we have fiction for AFAIK Elizabeth never went to meet her imprisoned cousin. Mirren is superb, Isaacs good. I found the armada was treated too briefly. Keeping down production costs.? Also the strength of Leicester's protestantism was downplayed. But a great film of a great queen. The second part was not so gripping. Was the queen so antagonistic to courtiers' contact with James Stuart. Dis she not recognise him as her heir?

2. The Scandalous Lady W Natalie Dormer (Actor), Shaun Evans (Actor), Sheree Folkson (Director) 
Well acted, especially by Natalie Dormer and her husband, an actor we now know better as the young Morse. He is a perverted voyeur who persuades his bride to have sex with his friends while he watches through the keyhole. The sex could have been portrayed with more subtlety and not so explicit. It turns out there were 27 lovers, all exposed in court where the husband secures a pyrrhic victory. After the court case the true story is condensed. As another reviewer says, the film lays on the feminist angle strongly. But it was an age when a wife and all she brought became a husband's property. It is an amazing story and a scandal for any age It is a pity that the lady did not tell he husband that the vow to obey did not encompass adultery.

3. Girl With A Pearl Earring [DVD] Scarlett Johansson (Actor), Colin Firth (Actor), Peter Webber (Director) 

Set in 17th century Delft it all looks very period realistic. Colin First was so well disguised as Vermeer that it took me a while to recognise him and the disguise of Tom Wilkinson as the lecherouds rich patron was so complete that I dod not twig it was him until the credits. An innocent servant is the eponymous girl. She suffers under a shrew of a mistress and her wicked little daughter. It is beautifully filmed but very slow and I was left wondering if there was any message

5. King Charles III [DVD] [2017]

It may be totally improbable fiction but I loved it. However I think this is a marmite item. My wife hated it so I expect opinion to be divided. Piggot-Smith's last role was great acting. Harry, Willian, Kate and Diana were good look alikes if not Camilla. The constitutional crisis could conceivably happen but I would not expect non-british viewers to understand that the king can only act on the advice of his ministers. The prime minister's examples of when the Queen had signed only out of duty not agreement could have better cited laws on abortion to homosexuality but to cite that would not be pc. The last monarch to refuse assent was Queen Anne. Willian IV did dismiss parliament but he went to the House of Lords to do so. I had better say no more as it would be a spoiler. Harry eventually giving up love for duty was a nice touch, a reversal of 1936. I thought Diana's ghost as duplicitous as she was in real life. Charles a troubled man less popular than his heir all seemed true to life. I loved the blank verse, truly Shakespearean. Finally the title is wrong. He will be George VII.

6. Quo Vadis [1951] Robert Taylor (Actor), Deborah Kerr (Actor), Mervyn LeRoy (Director) 
I believe this was the first film I ever saw in a cinema. I was six and taken by my father who was not normally a cinema goer. We went to see Quo Vadis for it has a strong Christian theme. The heroine is a Christian captive in the house of a now Christian retired Roman general. She is torn between her devotion to Jesus and her love for the returning victorious Roman army commander. The Christians are sympathetically portrayed. Peter's sermon is powerful. The one inaccuracy is Paul telling the pagan Commander to free his slaves. Paul did not tell even Christians that in the Bible. The martyrdom of the Christians following the incendiary emperor's false charges concerning the fire of Rome is hoffitic but they triumph in death. The bull fight is a high point and I wonder how the stunt was staged. Usinov is a brilliant mad Nero. The portrayal of his deaths not at all accurate. This was the first Holywood biblical epic and it is on a grand sale.


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