Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Helena Bonham Carter, Cary Elwes, John Wood, Michael Hordern, Jill Bennett
Director: Trevor Nunn
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Genre: Drama Rating: PG13 Release Date: 3-FEB-2009 Media Type: DVD
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Why can't filmakers show real history?
Constant Librarian | Columbia, MD United States | 10/13/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let's start with what's good about this movie. The cast is wonderful, the costumes superb, etc.And, they even got part of the history right. In the 16th century people did argue passionately (and die) over religion, poor innocent Jane was the puppet of ruthlessly ambitious adults.Blast it! That dumb love story ruined the whoe movie. There is absolutely no evidence that Jane and Guilford Dudley ever loved each other. Nor did they attempt to reform the coinage, build public schools, redistribute income... I think Jane's story is even more tragic when you realize that her horrible parents forced her into a loveless marriage to further their own ends.But yet, the execution scene was true to the historical accounts. Can you imagine the horror of watching a blinfolded sixteen year old groping for the executioner's block, and asking: "Where is it? What do I do?"If you ever go to London, visit the British Library where Jane's prayerbook is on display. The night before she died, she wrote a letter to her sister on the endpapers. The handwriting never wavers. What courage this innocent child had."
Fine movie about a very tragic young life
Constant Librarian | 07/25/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Helena Bonham Carter does a superb job portraying one of the most tragic characters in history, Lady Jane Grey, otherwise known as "the Nine Days Queen". Her soft innocence and vulnerability are convincing and heart rendering. You also get to see a very very young Cary Elwes providing a fine supporting role as her doomed husband and Patrick Stewart (way before his Star Trek days) giving an equally fine performance as her scheming father. The story itself would make for a great Shakesparean tragedy if history hadn't written it first. I was quite moved at the cruel twists of fate that were handed out to this young girl. It is also a testament to the cruelty of parents to their children in sixteenth century England. This was commonplace at these times, even if one was of royal blood as Jane was. The moving and historically accurate execution scene, in which the blindfolded Jane cannot find the block to rest her neck is quite heart wrenching. You want her to survive the circumstances that her family placed her in, and the wretchedness of her miserable upbringing. However, life is not a fairy tale, even for princesses; this is a profound example of the misery that many Tudor woman, including Elizabeth I, went through. I subtract one star for some of the historical inaccuracies, but overall it is a wonderful and moving film. It also makes you grateful that you did not live in those precarious times."
Not historically accurate, but a wonderful historical drama
Joanna Daneman | Middletown, DE USA | 12/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this film for the great drama of a mere sixteen-year old being used for machinations of her family to ascend to the British throne. There is a scene where Lady Jane is punished (by spanking with a paddle or something) for disobedience; this is a harbinger of the ultimate tragedy for the hapless teenager. While the details of this historical drama are not precise, the tale is well-told and the costumes and scenery are magnificent. This is a good, riveting historical drama despite the liberties the screenwriters have taken."
Noble, Regal, Sparkling, Solemn, Tragic
Deborah Earle | USA | 05/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This gem of a film is from Helena Bonham-Carter's ingenue days in which she captures the strength of the pious and studious Nine-Days Queen magnificently. Strangely, paintings show she bears a stronger resemblance to Guildford Dudley than Cary Elwes, who makes up for his lack of physical resemblance to Jane's slovenly, disreputable husband by turning out a charismatic and thoughtful performance.
This rather heavy-handed account of Jane Grey's life has a lot of symbolism. In a very English hunting scene at the beginning (which closely resembles a Breughel painting), we see the elders in Jane's life closing in on a deer in much the same way they would trap Jane into serving their own corrupt ends. After Jane is whipped by her mother for her reluctance to marry the obnoxious Guildford Dudley, King Edward comforts her by giving her a puppet to play with. The symbolism of that moment at this point in the film is blantantly obvious.
Michael Hordern's Father Fekenham is a comforting presence in Jane's life, despite their disagreements over religion. He never hides the amount of respect he has for the young girl.
Inaccuracies of the film include the fact that Jane's parents, played by a hard-driven Patrick Stewart, and a ruthless Sarah Kestelman(who reaffirms the fact that the saintliness of Frances Grey's mother, Mary, who was Henry VIII's younger sister, truly skipped a generation)responded to Jane's initial refusal to marry Guildford by respectively slapping her in the face repeatedly and cursing her. While one is greatful that the audience is spared that, the nude scene between Jane and Guildford was a bit gratuitous, and as Jane was actually unwavering in her resentment of her chosen husband, it's highly unlikely that their union was consumated. But the earlier wedding scene was indeed, a phantasmagoria of white and gold, and beautiful to watch.
After her scheming elders place her on the throne, there is no evidence that Jane became, as Americans might say, a forerunner to FDR. She took to her bed, grief-stricken over the loss of King Edward.There is some truth to Guildford's having provided some comfort to her at this time, and part of the dialogue that is heard in the initial coronation scene is based on historical fact.
As Jane's Governess, Mrs. Ellen,played by Jill Bennett, stands by, a helpless witness to her brilliant charge's fate, Jane Lapotaire's gracefully portrayed Mary reclaims her throne, Henry Grey tears down the royal canopy, and all the conspirators, reluctant or otherwise, are placed under arrest. Jane bears these indignities, as she has many others throughout her life, with a courage and patience well beyond her years. John Dudley becomes a turncoat, deciding to return to Catholicism to save himself, much to the dismay of Guildford. But this scheme doesn't work. Jane and Guildford almost escape with their lives, until Henry Grey joins a rebellion to restore Jane to the throne.
Certain scenes of Jane's final days in the tower were given better treatment in the 1936 film, " Nine Days A Queen", starring Nova Pilbeam, and John Mills. But in the scenes of Jane on the scaffold are, for the most part, well-reenacted in this film. The sense of sorrow witnesses have at the brutal death that is to be faced by a girl so young, so brilliant, so sweet, and so innocent is almost beyond expession. Even Queen Mary (I hesitate to call her "Bloody Mary" when her father killed more people and has more flattering nicknames ascribed to him only because he had better P.R.)must have sensed that hers would not be a blessed reign as a result of her having to execute her own cousin in order to marry a Spanish King and restore England to Catholicism.
Frances Brandon Grey is shown curtseying to the Queen who has just executed her daughter and who would soon execute her husband. Ironically, she would become a court favorite with the Queen. But there is some sense of justice in the fact that history has not been kind to Jane Grey's parents.
Trevor Nunn has given the world a sharp, glistening, stately, and lavish production filled with a great sense of period and place. Whatever inconsistancies this film may have with history,its loving homage to Jane Grey is well-paid."