As a warm up for our forthcoming screening at the CMP Festival of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ (ticket details at the end of the post!), I thought I’d share a few Royalty themed films (for those of you not already exhausted by all things regal, following certain big national occasions earlier this Spring that shall not be mentioned!).
Yes, yes, I know I missed off the King’s Speech… any of your favourites I’ve missed off, just let us know!
Madness of King George (1994)
So rather than ‘The King’s Speech’, I give you another much-lauded British film. Adapted for the screen by Alan Bennett from his own play, and starring Nigel Hawthorne who is at his finest as the ailing monarch. There are some wonderful strong performances, and fast paced, witty dialogue. Bennett took a wonderful play and turned it into a different, more focused animal for the screen.
Throne of Blood (Kumonosu Jô) (1957)
Macbeth, in feudal Japan – in the style of a Japanese noh play – by one of Japan’s greatest directors. Many Shakespeare adaptations could/ should have made it into this list, but this, although certainly not the most accurate, is certainly one of the most engaging. Visually stunning, and featuring Kurosawa’s favourite lead, Toshiro Mifune, it oozes atmosphere and menace. The sparse, simple settings suggest stage sets, and the ominous fog outside build on the sense of claustrophobia that pervades the film. A true screen adaptation, which doesn’t aim to merely put the play onto the screen, it is a re-imagining, taking Macbeth as its starting point, and fully exploring its themes.
Robin Hood (1973)
Of course Disney had to feature in this list, after all, what about all those Disney Princesses? I haven’t chosen a Disney princess this time, though – I’m going for the cowardly lion, Prince John (voiced by the fantastically campy Peter Ustinov).
This feature is, to me, Disney at their best – it’s a fun, stylish film with a great sound track, and solid animation. Created on a tight budget, the animators reused footage from earlier features in some of the scenes, notably pinching from ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’, ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘The Aristocats’, so you could almost call it a greatest hits compendium!
Roman Holiday (1953)
Audrey Hepburn’s first American feature, ‘Roman Holiday’ is a delightful romantic comedy, co-starring the ever-charming Gregory Peck. Hepburn plays Princess Anne, from an unknown country, who is on an official tour of Europe. She is overwhelmed by her schedule of official duties, and escapes to experience ‘real’ Rome, where she meets Joe Bradley, an American journalist. When he discovers her true identity he decides to take her on a whirlwind tour of the city, after promising his editor an exclusive interview.
The Princess Bride (1987)
This would have featured on the list anyway, but is here in honour of the great Peter Falk, who sadly passed away last week.
‘The Princess Bride’ needs no introduction – it has a huge cult fan-base, who can undoubtedly quote huge portions of the film word for word. Based on William Goldman’s 1973 novel of the same name and directed by Rob Reiner (of ‘Spinal Tap’), it is a fairy story with a quirky and biting sense of humour. Although very of its time, the witty script lifts it, and it feels much fresher than the tongue in cheek fairy tales which have become in vogue since ‘Shrek’. Go and watch it now, and don’t forget to memorise all the quotable lines…
FILMSPOT SCREENING OF ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ (1957)
Saturday 16th July, 4pm St Nicholas Church, Brighton
Tickets £7 (£5 concession)
Available from http://www.brightonticketshop.com/
Part of the CMP Festival http://www.cmpcaonline.org.uk/category_id__65.aspx