Masterpiece Theater: Bertie & Elizabeth [VHS]
|Contributor||Jeremy Child, Joanna Hole, Gabrielle Lloyd, Simon Day, Anthony Smee, Alexandra Staden, William Mickleburgh, David Hatton, Geoffrey Beevers, Moray Watson, Naomi Martin, Corin Redgrave, Oliver Ford Davies, Rupert Wickham, James Wilby, Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, Simon Day (III), Irene Richards (III), Jenna Molloy, Giles Foster, Terence Harvey, Michael Elwyn, Graham Bill, Paul Aubrey-Rees, Juliet Aubrey, Peter Eyre, Helen Ryan, David Burke (II), Michael Sherlock, Dolly Wells, Osmund Bullock, David Ryall, Paul Brooke, Hannah Wiltshire, Jeremy Swift, Nicholas Pritchard, Denis Lill, Alan Bates, Robert Hardy, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Eileen Atkins, Amber Rose Sealey, Ted Shepherd, Charles Edwards (VI), Deborah Cornelius See more|
- Language : English
- Package Dimensions : 7.32 x 4.19 x 1.12 inches; 7.36 Ounces
- Director : Giles Foster
- Run time : 2 hours
- Release date : January 4, 2005
- Date First Available : February 9, 2007
- Actors : James Wilby, Juliet Aubrey, Alan Bates, Eileen Atkins, Charles Edwards (VI)
- Studio : Wgbh / Pbs
- ASIN : B0006Q93LU
- Customer Reviews:
Wars, kings, and politicians come and go, but love endures in Bertie & Elizabeth, the story of one of the most enchanting and successful marriages in the annals of royal relationships.
Albert, the Duke of York, was a quiet young man second in line to the throne when he met Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, a beautiful and fun-loving young woman from an aristocratic Scottish family. Married in 1923, they expected to lead a life of genteel obscurity when they were suddenly thrust into the limelight in 1936 when Bertie's older brother, Edward VIII, created an international scandal when he abdicated to marry the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.
Shy, modest, and a habitual stutterer, Bertie was crowned George VI just as his country faced the onslaught of World War II. With the help of his devoted wife, and their daughters Elizabeth and Margaret, Bertie was able to rise magnificently to the challenges of being king, and together they inspired a nation soon embroiled in a horrific world war.
James Wilby (Gosford Park) and Juliet Aubrey (Middlemarch) portray the reluctant royals who became the beloved king and queen of England.
Top reviews from the United States
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Bertie has some very awkward acting moments like the scene when he loses his mind cleaning his daughter's blocks. It felt stiff and staged. There is no spark between these two, it is just hard to believe there's love between them.
The characters are overly cheesy, they act and talk more like a 90's soap opera than aristocrats from the 30's...
The portrayal of Bertie is especially annoying. He acts and sound childish, entirely too submissive and indecisive. I am sure they wanted to show how he rose to the occasion and became more confident as he "grew" as king but I thought it was done in a very clumsy way.
I also thought the vision of the events and historical characters were a little too black and white and lacked depth. Wallis is viewed only as a gold digger but I think she was a tad more complicated than that. Elisabeth is just the real nice dutiful gal next door who gets mocked by mean girls...Meh.
Overall it's an ok movie if there's really nothing else to do and you want to learn the basics of that particular historical event. I could not finish it. I gave up after an hour and 15mn or so.
I would like to see a film focusing on the significance of Bertie's becoming king just at the time Hitler was starting to conquer European nations. There has been little attention given to the fact that Edward VIII was a known sympathizer of the Nazi cause. Perhaps the English would not like to have that issue spread before them, but it could make a compelling movie.
The movie starts as Bertie and Elizabeth meet, Bertie being fully devoted to his brother, the future king. Bertie seemed humble, particularly since he had a severe problem with stuttering. We get to watch as he struggles to overcome his speech difficulties, finally with success, exceptions being when he was overcome with anger or emotion. At one such time he was lashing out at his brother the king, who had given up his throne and subsequently shown no signs of having any good character at all. Bertie finally had enough, his speech problems briefly recurring as he responded to that moment.
We see a few 'party' scenes where Bertie's brother meets the woman he would give up the throne for, and believe me, they don't come off too well. This movie is not sympathetic to Edward and Mrs. Simpson, showing them to be petty, lazy, uncaring, and ignorant.
In one impressive scene, Bertie and Elizabeth come to have dinner with the King and happen upon Mrs. Simpson carrying on about how common and silly Elizabeth, the current Queen Elizabeth's mother, was. She was making fun of her and even doing a demeaning imitation of her, while unknown to Mrs. Simpson, Elizabeth watched. Elizabeth, in response to their stunned looks when they realized she was there, said effectively and with great dignity, "We came to have dinner with the King." Mrs. Simpson was subsequently shunned and shut out of any family or official events.
We see the differences in the brothers. Bertie showed bravery as he literally spent his life trying to save his country. On the other hand, Edward tricked Bertie into giving him money by pretending he didn't have any. When he realized that, as well as the fact that Edward & Mrs. Simpson were traveling outside the country as if they were ambassadors, befriending Hitler, etc., Bertie lost respect for his brother. He also didn't have time for his brother's demands, because he devoted long, hard hours to his war-time work, which eventually contributed to his early death. Even his mother tried to intervene when she realized he was working himself to death, but stopped herself, because she realized that he was doing his duty. Finally, Edward was allowed to attend the funeral and Mrs. Simpson was not allowed. The movie doesn't go past his death and only briefly showed how his daughter was prepared for her role as Queen.
Top reviews from other countries
A bit of a hidden gem!
Stress is laid on his tremendous courage and strong sense of duty, both elicited and enhanced by his wife Elizabeth whose support
The story is handled with respect and a great dealof affection for both protagonists
One thing this film does do is clearly highlight the differences in attitudes, both royal and "commoner", between then and now. I will definitely be rewatching this one and for me that just about says it all!