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Bertie and Elizabeth (2002)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  4 June 2002 (UK)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 377 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 2 critic

The duke of York, nicknamed Bertie, was born as royal 'spare heir', younger brother to the prince of Wales, and thus expected to spend a relatively private life with his Scottish wife ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Princess Mary
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James Stuart
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Barbara Leigh-Hunt ...
Lady Mabel Airlie
Rupert Wickham ...
Equerry
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...
Young Woman
Nicholas Pritchard ...
J.C. Davidson
...
Geoffrey Beevers ...
Earl of Strathmore
...
...
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Storyline

The duke of York, nicknamed Bertie, was born as royal 'spare heir', younger brother to the prince of Wales, and thus expected to spend a relatively private life with his Scottish wife Elisabeth Bowes-Lyon and their daughters, in the shadow of their reigning father, George V, and next that of his elder brother who succeeded to the British throne as Edward VIII. However Edward decides to put his love for a divorced American, Wallis Simpson, above dynastic duty, and ends up abdicating the throne, which now falls to Bertie, who reigns as George VI. Now he expects to be, as constitutional monarch, little more then a figure head, but again faith has more in store for him: Nazi Germany proves such a formidable war challenger to the British Empire that the nearly desperate nation looks to its royal couple as comforting symbol of the unbroken spirit, a part they play with great success, while hosting chased monarchs and governments from continental Europe. After victory, life returns to normal... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

4 June 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Bertie e Elizabeth  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Denis Lill (Clement Attlee) previously played King George VI in The Gathering Storm (1974) and his paternal grandfather King Edward VII in Lillie (1978). See more »

Goofs

A British Movietone Newsreel, complete with commentary, shows the Duke of York attending the Empire Exhibition at Wembley. This visit took place in October 1925 - not only is this four years before Movietone News began in Britain, but it is two years before sound film was invented. The Exhibition was covered by British Pathe News but the film is of course silent. See more »

Quotes

[talking at dinner about the forthcoming marriage of Bertie and Elizabeth]
Archbishop Lang: My feeling, Sir, is that the wedding of these two young people - the Duke and Duchess of York - should be filmed, if that is thought appropriate, but not be allowed to be recorded over the wireless. The people might listen to it in *inappropriate* places.
King George VI, aka 'Bertie': What exactly do you mean by that?
Archbishop Lang: Public houses, for example. They might also not remove their hats at solemn moments.
David - Edward VIII: [scornfully] Why this obsession with ritual?
King George V: ...
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Connections

Follows Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

If You Were the Only Girl (In the World)
(uncredited)
Music by Nat D. Ayer
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
See more »

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User Reviews

Dreadful Wasted Opportunity
6 June 2002 | by (London UK) – See all my reviews

In the UK this was ITV1's big attraction for Jubilee night and came on a couple of hours after nearly 2m people had crammed the Mall to sing patriotic songs in front of the Queen.

This is the story of her parents' marriage and reign. I got the impression it may have been on the shelf for a few years, awaiting the death of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in March 2002, who was of course the Elizabeth of the title.

Covering a thirty year period 1922 to 1952 this fairly gallops through history and that is one of its faults. It would have been better as a mini-series over six hours rather than the two hours it was.

There is a fascinating story here, especially the less usual view of the 1936 Abdication Crisis from those like Bertie and Elizabeth who had to pick up the pieces. The late Queen Mother's deep and long lasting consequent hatred of Mrs Simpson is barely hinted at.

Unfortunately we were up against some fairly wooden acting and dreadfully superficial treatment of the known facts. I presume this was made with some American money hence the scenes with FDR (Robert Hardy and a large slice of ham) and the constant grating reference to the 'King of England' and 'English democracy' even by the monarchs portrayed themselves. No British monarch would ever thus describe themselves - they are monarchs of the United Kingdom.

Small incidents such as the Dutch Queen calling early in the morning to ask for fighter squadrons to fend off the German invasion of the Netehrlands and her subsequent arival loom large whilst the King's drawn out death from lung cancer, concealed from him and the people of the UK and Commonwealth for several years is glossed over. And the Queen Mother most famous remark after Buckingham Place was targetted by the Luftwaffe 'I'm glad we've been bombed, it means I can look the East End in the face' just doesn't appear.

Cockneys are portrayed all 'Cor love a duck' and Mrs Simpson as virtually a witch, when really she was probably out of her depth in a society she could not understand.

Alan Bates does give a good turn as George V and the bloke who played Edward VIII gave a good sly performance of a weak and superficial man.

Otherwise a wasted opportunity I'm afraid.


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