Saturday 9 May 2009

The Duchess

Last weekend we finally got around to digging out The Duchess on Virgin's pay-for facility (I'm slow off the mark, I know) and what a disappointment... I mean, it looked gorgeous, but Keira Knightley made Georgiana look, unfortunately, like a pouting airhead. Ralph Fiennes did a fine job, but his role was one-dimensional and really did the Duke of Devonshire a disservice. The special UK spin (namely, Princess Diana 'there are three people in this marriage') was tiresome, and lines like 'Any sign of a Revolution yet?' [addressed to Charles Grey on his return from France] made me hoot with laughter. I thought Georgiana was a woman passionately interested in politics? Com'on Paramount, credit us with some intelligence!

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Heather Carroll said...

Sigh...the movie just did not do Georgiana justice.

Eliza Ward said...

I still haven't seen it, but that's the impression I get from the trailers. But then, what film does do justice to history? The only one I can think of is The Crucible, sort of; just because it's actually a great film and has a lot of accurate details (even though the storyline is total fiction).

Mrs Woffington said...

Hello ladies, I'm a big fan of Alan Bennett and I thought his The Madness of King George definitely gave a very rounded and human portrayal of the king, but then, he's an amazing writer. The Duchess had a terrible script, and any amount of fabulous costumes can't hide that.

Halldor said...

Eliza - I have seen one film that does history (or at least, a historical novel) justice, and believe it or not, it's "Master and Commander". I don't remotely like Russell Crowe normally - but I've never seen any historical film that captures the look, the feel and the whole texture of the period so perfectly and believably. I was dreading the idea of a film version of Patrick O'Brien, but I was bowled over.

You honestly wouldn't believe that an action film could be done with such care, such historical sensitivity, and such atention to detail - yet still feel so alive and believable. And, incredibly, it does justice to the language of the books, and the understated emotional relationships at their heart. It's note-perfect. Not a bit of dumbing-down in sight. If you haven't seen it (and, let's face it, who wouldn't run a mile from anything marketed as a blockbuster action adventure with Russell Crowe?), you're missing a unique Napoleonic-era treat.

The Duchess, though - boy, whst a turkey. It was even worse than "Marie Antoinette".

Eliza Ward said...

I'd swear you were my friend Liz if it weren't for that "I don't normally like Russell Crowe" line. She was in love with that film, and never stopped talking about it. Therefore, yes, I've seen it. That was a couple of years ago, so I'm a little foggy, but I remember that it was really violent and unpleasant--a guy performed surgery on himself and a kid's arm was cut off. I had to leave in the middle because I was "afraid of missing my train". But then, yeah, ship life wasn't pretty. So it's ironic that I praise The Crucible, which shows people being hanged, whipped, and even pressed to death!