Unfortunately, the Stuarts were not quite dead with Queen Anne in 1714. Besides the descent of the Hanovarians from James I's youngest child, his daughter Elizabeth, the last Catholic Stuart monarch, James II, had a son called James III by his supporters in Scotland and England, and known to his opponents as "the Old Pretender". James was one of those nice men who history mananged to mangle - he was to see several attempts to reclaim his throne (in 1717, 1719, 1721, and 1745) fail completely. Bad weather, bad leadership, feckless French aid, and bad luck denied him any real opportunity to get rid of the Germans (who were not too popular under the bullying George I and his son George II). Then, in 1744, it looked like a final fling of the dice might just bring about the first successful invasion of England since William the Conqueror came in 1066.
James had two sons, Charles and Henry. Henry would become a priest, eventually rising to being Henry, Cardinal Stuart (and last Stuart pretender monarch - he died in 1807). His older brother Charles became a hero of romance, as Bonnie Prince Charlie. Charlie landed in Scotland, and in two battles defeated British troops sent to stop him. He then led his army through Scotland into England and reached Derby - he was less than 100 miles from London. Historians still debate his decision to retreat to Scotland. Most feel that if he had pushed forward, the public would have supported him and the Hanovarian line would have been sent...well back to Hanover. Instead, Charlie returned to Scotland, and was defeated by his cousin, the Duke of Cumberland, at the battle of Culloden. Cumberland went after the highland families and tribes ruthlessly, and sought out Charlie. But the latter hid for nearly six months in Scotland, sometimes hidden by Flora MacDonald a brave female supporter. Finally Charlie was rescued and returned to France. He would remain an international conspirator for a decade or so, but by 1765 he was a decaying alcoholic. He died in Italy in 1786.
Still, despite the sad end of the man, the story of his adventure from 1744 - 46 remains a powerful myth to this day. One of those great "what if" questions (like, had Pickett's Charge worked at Gettysburg) that we always wonder about. It certainly keeps Charlie's memory alive.
This film certainly is not a great one, but it is a reasonably good view of the main incidents of Charlie's campaign to win back the thrones. David Niven is not too lively at first, but he gradually gets into more adventursome scenes in his escape sequences with Margaret Leighton. The film was made just after the Second World War, so the producer and director play down the atrocities against the Highlanders by the English, reminding the viewers of the German elements of the royal family and some of their worst officers. It is an interesting approach, but not as true as the film suggests. Not a great film, but not as unworthy (given it's subject) as has been suggested.