Biopic of Lord Longford, known for many years for his work with prisoners and prisoners rights in general. The film focuses on Longford's work on behalf of Myra Hindley convicted, along with her boyfriend Ian Brady, of several child murders. Hindley is nothing short of notorious and even Longord's wife is shocked when he announces that he will visit her in prison. When Prime Minister Harold Wilson removes him as the Government Leader in the House of Lords soon after his visits to Hindley are made public, Longford continues to work for her release. A devout convert to Roman Catholicism, Longford sees hope for Hindley when he learns that she too once converted to Catholicism. In the end, his campaign to get her released on parole is for naught when she reveals that other murders took place. Longford stood by his convictions however and never regretted the good work he had done over a great many years.Written by
To look as much as possible like the real Lord Longford, Jim Broadbent wore a prosthetic nose and chin that took two hours to apply each day. A prison guard who had known the real Lord Longford was once very startled when Broadbent entered the prison door in costume. To make himself walk very slowly and lamely when Longford sees Myra Hindley for the last time in the movie (when the character is 92 years old), Broadbent put small, painful stones inside his shoes. See more »
In the closing credits, the last names of the characters "Rachel Pakenham" and "Paddy Pakenham," have been misspelled as "Packenham." The correct spelling of Lord Longford's family name, as seen on envelopes and elsewhere in the movie, is "Pakenham." See more »
The Myra Hindley/Ian Brady Moors murders of 1963, one of the most heinous crimes in England since Jack the Ripper, has been beautifully transcribed to the screen by writer Peter Morgan and Director Tom Hooper. And though the story is basically about Longford's relationship with the incarcerated Myra Hindley, the film paints a rather complete portrait of a strange man who vacillated during his lifetime among religious beliefs and spoke out strongly for the rights of prisoners and 'unfortunates' who fall out of line with the law all the while riling against pornography and other vices.
Jim Broadbent creates a wholly credible Lord Longford in this amazing performance. Transformed physically to resemble Longford's bizarre appearance, Broadbent manages to convey the spectrum of trust, self-doubt, pity, outrage, compassion and blind religious belief in a manner few actors could match. The remainder of the cast is equally excellent: Samantha Morton finds every nook and cranny of the enigmatic murderess Myra while Andy Serkis gives a chilling depiction of Ian Brady, her accomplice who knew how to manipulate the government and people as well as the infamously wily Myra.
The story is in many ways grounded by the strong forces of Lady Longford (beautifully realized by Lindsay Duncan) and the Lady Tree of Sarah Crowden and Harold Wilson of Robert Pugh. Hooper knows how to magnify the class differences between the gentry and the working class and his choices of locations and pacing of confrontations both in the prison and in the home and in the court are spot on.
This is one of those films for television that teaches us what really fine films can still be. It is a tremendously moving piece of work and Jim Broadbent will long be remember for this classic role. Highly recommended for repeated viewing. Grady Harp
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