A meditation on power and the metaphor of the body of state, based on the real episode of dementia experienced by George III [now suspected a victim of porphyria, a blood disorder]. As he ... See full summary »
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A meditation on power and the metaphor of the body of state, based on the real episode of dementia experienced by George III [now suspected a victim of porphyria, a blood disorder]. As he loses his senses, he becomes both more alive and more politically marginalized; neither effect desirable to his lieutenants, who jimmy the rules to avoid a challenge to regal authority, raising the question of who is really in charge. Written by
Dan Hartung <email@example.com>
Nigel Hawthorne - a relatively inexperienced cinema actor most of whose work up till then had been confined to the stage and TV - was so keen to reprise his award-winning stage role for the movie version that he took the part of a villain in Sylvester Stallone's vehicle Demolition Man (1993) just to prove that he had screen presence. As it transpired this was unnecessary as Hawthorne was the producers' automatic choice for the lead. See more »
The red dispatch box in which the Prime Minister carries papers for the monarch to sign dates from Victorian times. The first PM to use it was William Gladstone around 1860. See more »
[referring to the Prince of Wales]
It takes character to withstand the rigours of indolence.
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George III: a decent man who suffered from bad timing
A superlative drama. By now, most sophisticated movie-goers are aware that King George III's sickness might very well have been a result of porphyria, a hereditary disease that some doctors have traced back to Mary, Queen of Scots (i.e., George III's great-great-great-great-great grandmother). Whatever the cause, Nigel Hawthorne gives the performance of a lifetime as the tortured king. The conflict between George III and his heir, the Prince of Wales (the eventual King George IV), is brutally and unapologetically portrayed: the director does not spare us in his vivid reenactment of the combative and sour relationship that actually existed between the two men. As an American, one might suspect I'd be unsympathetic to the British monarch who presided over England's attempt to brutalize its colonies -- but George III's almost-wistful resentment of his errant "colonists" generates some sympathy for the man himself - a sympathy which is unexpectedly intensified by Hawthorne's sudden descent into incoherence, his dim, yet aching realization of what he has become, and his eventual recovery. George III was haunted by demons not of his own making; and no human being deserves the fate to which his disease, if such it was, eventually condemned him. "The Madness of King George" enlightened, entertained,and provoked: what more could one ask of a film?
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