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In 1875 London, young Wheeler (who lives by scavenging) finds a cameo of Queen Victoria which he thinks so beautiful he risks his life to save it. Possessed of a desire to see the Queen, he slips past the Beefeaters and wanders about Windsor Castle, just when a state dinner is in preparation. Meanwhile, prime minister Disraeli is struggling hard to persuade the Queen to end her long seclusion Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The British and American versions of the film are quite different. The British version, viewed by the AFI Catalog staff, reports a running time of 94 minutes, while the American version, shown on AMC television, ran 99 minutes. The following crew credits do NOT appear in the American version: Margaret Furse (costume designer), David Aylott (makeup artist), Frank Bevis (production manager), Robert E. Dearing and Fred Fox (production supervisors), Bluey Hill (assistant director), Eric Wood (sound editor), Denys N. Coop (camera operator) and Cyril Hartman (historical advisor). The credit for W. Percy Day (special effects) DOES appear in the American version but, apparently, not in the British version. There are also cast differences: Irene Dunne's name alone appears above the title, with Alec Guinness listed first below the title (contrary to his contract requiring him to have co-star billing). Also missing are Edward Rigby (The Watchman) and Ronan O'Casey (Slattery) who are credited in the British version. These two, however, are in the cast list in the New York Times 1951 review, which usually reports only credited cast. See more »
Such proposals as slum clearance, public housing, educational facilities for the poor, are all wise and worthy measures and consequently will be opposed vigorously. The British are a proud and independent people, ma'am, and will not yield to improvement without a stout struggle.
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This is one of those delightful post-war British films that once seen is hard to forget. The story centers around Wheeler, a London "mudlark" (an orphan who scavenges the Thames at low tide), who, upon finding a cameo of Queen Victoria, sets off to Windsor to see "the mother of England." Victoria is secluded as the "widow of Windsor" and a desperate Disraeli is vainly attempting to urge her to resume public duties. However, when Wheeler finally gets to meet his Queen, Victoria is moved to return to her public life. Wonderful performances by Irene Dunne as Victoria, Alec Guinness as Disraeli, Finlay Currie as John Brown and Andrew Ray as Wheeler, the mudlark. If only Fox would release this on DVD or VHS!
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