7x50min episodes. While still the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII meets the married American socialite, Wallis Simpson. Their relationship causes furor in the palace and in ... See full summary »
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Peggy Ann Wood
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When Elizabeth Tudor comes to the throne, her (male) advisers know she has to marry. Doesn't she? Thus starts a decades-long political/ matrimonial game, during an age of high passions and high achievement.
7x50min episodes. While still the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VIII meets the married American socialite, Wallis Simpson. Their relationship causes furor in the palace and in parliament, especially when King George V dies, Mrs. Simpson gets divorced, and King Edward announces his intentions to marry her. Written by
I have long been intrigued by the tale of Edward VIII, the English king who gave up the throne to be with the woman he loved an American divorcée named Wallis Simpson. Imagine my surprise at discovering that not only was there a miniseries about it but that one of my favorite actors (Edward Fox) was playing the famed King himself. The result is a rather grand, if slightly overlong, historical drama.
As in the case of many a historical drama, the cast is fine one. Edward Fox gives one of the finest performances of his career as the famed King Edward VIII from the dashing playboy Prince Of Wales to the man who gives up the throne for the woman he loves. Cynthia Harris gives a nice performance as the woman he loved Wallis Simpson though she does have a tendency to overact. Thankfully both Fox and Harris share a nice chemistry between them that makes them quite convincing as the famed couple.
The supporting cast is fine as well. David Waller gives a fine performance as the Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin who tires to keep the government together in the midsts of the crisis caused by the title characters as does Peggy Ashcroft as the famed Queen Mary. From Nigel Hawthorne as Edward's friend Walter Monkton to Wensley Pithey as Winston Churchill to Charles Keating as Wallis husband Ernest Simpson to Marius Goring and Patrick Troughton as opposition leader Clement Attlee the cast is a fine one and makes this drama well worth seeing.
Things are strong behind the camera as well. The sets by Allan Cameron and the costumes by Jennie Tate perfectly capture the spirit of the 1930's in which this famed story took place. The score and opening song by Ron Grainer also captures the atmosphere of the 1930's as well. Even better, the script by Simon Raven (from the biography Edrward VIII by Frances Donaldson) is a true highlight. With its attention to details and events the script gives a detailed study of a royal romance that doesn't quite end happily. The dialouge in particular makes the production stand out and gives the whole production an epic quality thanks to the wonderful direction of Waris Hussein.
If the miniseries has any fault it is that it seems overlong. At seven fifty minute episodes (or right around six hours) it feels as though it could have been trimmed down at times. There aren't many slow moments in the miniseries but one wonders if those scenes trimmed could have made Edward & Mrs. Simpson slightly shorter.
Despite is length Edward & Mrs. Simpson is a fine drama. From its two leading actors to the supporting cast, production values, direction and writing this is a fine example of the art of the miniseries. For fans of fine historical dramas look no further then Edward & Mrs. Simpson.
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