To see the new film "The Duchess" tonight, with Keira Knightley in the eponymous role of the 18th Century Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Exquisitely lit, gorgeous costumes, stunning sets (including the glorious scenery of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire) - and the story - particularly the latter part, may well break your heart. It certainly had me in tears.
It is a story of the British aristocracy - of how the 5th Duke of Devonshire wed Georgiana Spencer when she was but 17, and used her to provide a son and heir, while he philandered elsewhere - and in his patrician manner, could not fathom why she found it unacceptable. As he comments to her in the film "you can do nothing, I control it all". Was it ever thus.
As an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, the "Diana link" is heavily alluded to (though the Director denies this, it is plain to see...) - even to introducing gestures and poses that became iconically associated with Diana. One scene has the Duchess, Georgiana, swooping down to greet her children, much in the manner of the images of Diana greeting her boys Harry and William on the Royal Yacht. If you see the film, see if you notice the many other similarities.
Notice also the parallels with the ever disintegrating relationship between Charles and Diana, another loveless marriage between a man fatally emotionally damaged by his upbringing, and a wife who was not enough for him, however hard she tried. Over two centuries, nothing really changes....does it?
Make haste to see this film - take your tissues with you, buy the more comprehensive biography by Amanda Foreman to read and learn more later, and be ready to swoon over the delectable Ralph Fiennes, who makes up for in physique what his character lacks in empathy!
(Oh, and watch all the video clips on the film link above - they really are very informative)
Being a Dramatis personae of the cinematographic
representation of Mr Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, and his vengeful deeds, in which...
Mr Todd – (Mr Depp) is magnificently lowering and glowering –
with (more than a) hint of bad-boy
glimmering in his eye
Mrs Lovett – (Miss Bonham-Carter) is an ethereally
corpse-like waif, even while living. Turns a mean hand with the meat-mincer,
The Judge (Mr Rickman) leches and sneers his delicious way
through most of the film, demonstrating his everlasting resemblance to a cross
between Casanova and the Marquis de Sade (but who amongst us ladies would
refuse the offer to browse his wickedly erotic tomes alongside him, bathed in
that voice like chocolate honey... Hmm?)
The Beadle (Mr Spall)
repels and repulses, simpers and drivels, ending up no better than he oughta!
The Music – (by Mr Sondheim), is divine – in fact, one could
quite easily sit through the whole film with eyes closed and just allow
yourself to be bathed in it, if you can’t face being bathed in....
The star of the film...THE BLOOD – which oozes and pumps,
trickles and gushes, drips and splatters just about everywhere. This is a
SERIOUSLY bloody – and graphic – film,
folks, so don’t go if your stomach won’t take it. If you do, take a big
handkerchief or gentleman’s shoulder to hide in if it all gets to be too much.
This is a spectacular film, with a magical opening sequence
of an old sailing ship, floating through the mist to enter the Victorian Pool
of London by night. Quite, quite wonderful. In fact, I think I would elevate the scenery and costume design to be
equal stealers with the other accolades – if this film doesn’t win every Oscar
in the book, then I am the Queen of Sheba. If you like Tim Burton's sense of the macabre, you will love it! (But take that handkerchief, just in