In the 1930s, Winston Churchill was out of government, sitting as a backbench MP. His was a lonely voice warning about German rearmament and the coming of a second major war on the Continent. He lost a great deal of money in the Wall Street crash and now writes - a biography of his ancestor the Duke of Marlborough, a newspaper column - and it's his only means of support. He has a close-knit group of supporter not the least of whom is his wife Clemmie, who he loves very dearly. As he continues to press his concerns about Hitler, he is cast as a warmonger and frequently shouted down in Parliament by members on both sides of the aisle. With reliable information from a Foreign Office civil servant who feels the government is not accurately reporting on rearmament, he provides accurate figures to Parliament and the tide begins to turn. With the onset of World War II in September 1939, Churchill returns to government as First Lord of Admiralty. Written by
The famous speech Churchill wants to revise (and later delivers in the House of Commons) in the beginning of the film ("To see Mr Gandhi, a seductive Mid-Temple Lawyer ... posing as a half-naked fakir in a manner quite well known in the East, striding up the steps of the Vice-Regal palace to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King Emperor") was actually delivered in 1930, whereas the film starts some years later. See more »
Finney adds yet another stupendous role to his acting credits. He plays Churchill warts and all, wisdom and all. Vanessa Redgrave is stunning as Mrs. Churchill. Finney and Redgrave, between the two, portray an interesting, intimate and wholly plausible complexity of their marriage and homelife. This, adding a major league cast of the Best of Britain, Jim Broadbent, Tom Wilkerson, Linus Roache, Derek Jacobi and on and on. If Nigel Hawthorne (God Rest him) was still among us, he would have been here. Richard Loncraine, the director, keeps the pace moving without compromising the performances. Finney deserves a special mention for his attempt to sound like WSC, without resorting to parody. A fine film, worthy of roses all around. A sumptuous screenplay that even Labour could support. Highly recommended.
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