Lord Glenconner, a Scot, once owned Mustique, a verdant island in the Caribbean. He lives in St. Lucia with wife Lady Anne Coke (herself an Earl's daughter and lady-in-waiting to Princess ... See full summary »
Lord Glenconner, a Scot, once owned Mustique, a verdant island in the Caribbean. He lives in St. Lucia with wife Lady Anne Coke (herself an Earl's daughter and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret) and their sole surviving son, Christopher, disabled by an accident. Glenconner visits Mustique, explores old haunts, and prepares an outdoor lunch for the Princess. He gets on with his wife; he's charming, irritable, waspish, a snob. With Margaret, he's unctuous and outrageously ribald. It's up close and personal with this aging, white-robed, old-moneyed European amongst Black workers and nouveau riche Americans. A portrait emerges of the rich against the backdrop of third-world paradise. Written by
If you thought those Monty Python sketches about the upper classes of Britain were exaggerated spoofs, this film will show you otherwise. These insufferable twits really exist, and here is exhibit 'A': a sad relic from the colonial age, one Lord Glenconner, the eponymous (former) owner of Mustique, a three-mile-by-one-mile island at the bottom of the Grenadines, near St. Lucia. Glenconner is pathetic, retrogressive, imperious; he 'belongs in another century,' as someone says in this film.
Director Joseph Bullman endured this delusional man for several months, but it was all worth it. He gives us a brilliantly intimate portrait of not just the lord, but the attitudes of the Idle Rich, those displaced 'remittance men,' those 'sweepings of Europe,' as many people called them not so long ago. They're a dying breed, and they fairly ache for the glory days of 'the British Empawhh'. Bullman shows us these people without comment or criticism. His perceived tongue-in-cheek subtlety is wonderful to behold.
Glenconner is a bitchy neurotic; he uses linguistic anachronisms direct from the ruling class: 'darling' (describing his disabled son), 'jolly good,' and 'frightfully,' as in (when talking about the native Grenadine workers on Mustique) 'they're all so frightfully slow and stupid'.
The film's ending concerns a trip to Glenconner's makeshift digs on Mustique by the late Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth. Here we see the loopy lord at his most obsequious. He flies into hissy fits because his 'disloyal' and 'stupid' servants make mistakes. He is near hysteria before the Princess arrives. She looks bloated, unwell and frightfully bored with Glenconner's tacky proceedings, which include wall hangings of various Kama Sutra sexual positions. The rich, as many of us know (see Donald Trump and Richard Branson), aren't necessarily blessed with good taste.
John Cleese would make a wonderful Glenconner if this were remade as a movie.
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