In 18th-Century Russia, the Czar, Paul, is surrounded by murderous plots and trusts only Count Pahlen. Pahlen wishes to protect his friend, the mad king, but because of the horror of the ... See full summary »
Biopic of the famed British Prime Minister focusing on his concern about Russia's growing interest in the Indian subcontinent and his attempts to buy the Suez Canal. He sees the Canal as the key strategic resource in maintaining the Empire in the East but is unpopular in many quarters. With antisemitism rife at the time, Disraeli finds little support for his plan to purchase the canal or his foreign policy in general. There is no doubt that the Russians are plotting against British interests and he is surrounded by spies, even in his office at 10 Downing St. When the Bank of England refuses to finance the purchase of the available shares he turns to private sources to raise the available cash only to find the conspirators one step ahead of him. Written by
I was surprised to see this film at my local chain video shop. I couldn't believe that anyone would ever have made a film about such a character, who barely moves from his office. Fortunately, he's got a nice yard to roam around in. Not an action hero.
What you've got here is a play with snappy dialog brought to film with great stage actors. And that's not bad at all. The camera movement and sound are primitive (this is a 1929 film, after all) but you never lose interest. The filmmakers have wisely chosen to focus on one particularly pivotal incident in the history of the world: a transfer in ownership of the right to construct and maintain the Suez Canal. They focus on the key character in the drama: Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. In the course of a few weeks when this drama takes place, we get to see what was appealing about this man, how he handled the prejudices against a Jew leading a country of Anglicans, and how his personal life was intertwined with his carrying out his mission.
I have no idea how much of this is true. I assume that the bare facts of the Suez Canal affair are accurate. And this film brings to life the intrigue and romance of the life of a man at the central of English political life at a time when British power reached its zenith.
A fine movie.
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