Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies about Royalty

 Royalty, whether it is based on fact, an interpretation, real life events, observed from afar or an outsider, they provide the subject for countless films. Royalty, mostly past as present can be a but too dicey, are either fascinating or predicatable. How they are presented on screen is the interesting part. I've got British, French and Danish royalty in my picks this week. Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

Lady Jane
Technically, she was royalty, she reigned for 9 days, so that counts. Featuring a very young Helena Bonham Carter and an equally young Cary Elwes as Lady Jane and her husband Lord Guildford Dudley. It is actually descibed as a period costume romance. Half the film is about the hate at first sight relationship and how they fall in love as the sickly king looms news looms over them. The second half is the manipulation from the adults in court trying to control their children for their own gain only have them both be beheaded. From this film, Lady Janes never really wanted to be Queen, making it all the more tragic an end.

A Royal Affair
A love triangle. We've seen this before but this time love is only on one side. When Princess Caroline of Great Britain married the mentally ill King Christian of Denmark, she had an affair with the King's royal doctor, Johann Friedrich Struensee. She even had his child. They were in love, but the King who thought of the doctor as a friend preferred whores to his wife's company. It was a huge scandal. The cast are brilliant and scandals are always more fun to watch play out even though you can feel the downfall coming a mile away.

Maire Antoinette
It was made clear from the start that modern(ish) music would be the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola's biopic. I'm not a huge fan of her work apart from The Virgin Suicides, but this was a brilliant interpretation (theres that word) of Maire Antoinette's life, leading up to but rightly so in not showing her death. She is literally stripped of her former life, married to someone she has never met, pressurised by family to have children but her husband is not willing. She then lets go and has fun, too much fun. We get a small glimpse at the lead up to the revolution but this is a teenager who has wealth and just wants to party with her friends. The music really helps this. As for events? No idea if its accurate, I just enjoyed the display of excess.


  1. I haven't seen the last two of these though Marie Antoinette has been on my list for a long time. I have seen the earlier Norma Shearer version which is incredibly lush and quite entertaining.

    Glad to see Lady Jane popping up, I thought it was obscure and pretty unknown happy to see I was wrong. It's one of my honorable mentions. I've never heard of A Royal Affair I'll have to check it out.

    This is a genre that I'm a big fan and there's so many choices. I was only able to get down to five picks.

    Queen Margot (1994)-Intense, brutally violent story of political
    machinations in 16th century France focusing on the uneasy marriage
    allegiance of Marguerite de Valois (Isabelle Adjani) and Henri de Navarre
    (Daniel Auteuil) engineered by Marguerite’s mother, the power hungry Catherine
    de Medicis (Virna Lisi) and the chaos that surrounds them. Adjani is brilliant
    as is her custom but perhaps the real stand out is former glamour girl Virna
    Lisi as the morally bankrupt queen mother resembling nothing so much as a
    vampire come to life with a soul as dry as dust.

    Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)-Stately film version of the upheaval that
    rocked the English throne when Henry VIII became enamored of Anne Boleyn and in
    his quest for a son to succeed him decided to divorce Catherine of Aragon,
    break with the Pope and form the Church of England. A trifle too deliberately
    paced but Richard Burton as Henry and Genevieve Bujold as Anne are both

    The Swan (1956)-Based on a Ferenc Molnar play Grace Kelly plays a princess
    of lower standing who is being considered as the bride to the heir to the throne.
    Sound familiar? Beside Grace, in her second to last film, the cast includes
    Alec Guinness as the prince as well as Louis Jourdan, Agnes Moorehead and many
    other fine players. This high gloss, somewhat sedate comedy was a cash grab by
    MGM to the point that they held up the release of the film to correspond with
    the wedding date of the then Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco

    Honorable Mentions-Princess O'Rourke (1943)-Breezy little comedy of
    mistaken identity. When visiting princess Olivia de Havilland is erroneously
    taken for a poor waif heading for a job as a maid in San Francisco she decides
    to take advantage of the misunderstanding and find out how commoners live.
    Taken under the wing of pilot Robert Cummings and his friends Jack Carson and Jane
    Wyman she manages to find herself in all kinds of unexpected situations
    including a marriage proposal.

    Lady Jane (1986)-Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes portray Lady Jane
    Grey, England’s nine day Queen, and her husband Gilford Dudley in this romanticized
    version of the power struggle for the throne that ignited upon Henry VIII’s
    death. There’s some revisionist history involved but this follows the story
    pretty well and the acting is superior.

  2. Lady Jane is such a sweet yet such a tragic film because of how much these young people were manipulated and killed because of it. The Royal Affair sounds like quite a good film and one day I will see Marie Antoinette. She was Austrian and had to go and marry the king of France. She was young and felt very unloved by the French people because she was Austrian. Add to the fact that she loved clothes and dressing up like a peasant to play just made her more of a mark.

  3. Gosh I am thinking about Dietrich as Catherine the Great and Garbo as Queen Christina, Laughton as Henry the 8th-the list is endless

  4. It is a sad tale, they never got to be who they wanted, but a great film. There are quite a few tales of young royals feeling displaced and on the outside, trying to entertain themselves only to be brought down.

  5. Didn't know that about The Swan, a cash grab indeed. I'm not the biggest Grace Kelly fan but this film sounds very close to her home. I've seen the trailer for Queen Margot and I really wanttosee this chaotic looking film. I think its the music that grabbed me. I was reading about the history and by gad it was insane and bloody.

  6. I thought about picking A Royal Affair too.
    Well the thing about watching historical based movies is we all know how it ends....well at least not for A Royal Affair as I'm more unfamiliar with Danish Royalty.

  7. I know what you mean - spoiler alert before the film even starts. The lesser known royalty stories are always exciting like its a new story.