Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Queen's Sister|
Actors: Lucy Cohu, Meredith MacNeill, Alex Barclay, Edward Tudor-Pole, James Wallace
Directors: Sheree Folkson, Simon Cellan Jones
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Television
Starring Lucy Cohu and Toby Stephens, The Queen's Sister is an in-depth biopic following the life of Princess Margaret from the days after her father's death in 1952 until the 1970s. Known to be a flamboyant royal, she had... more »
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Not Sure If It's A Comedy Or A Drama--A Film As Messy As Pri
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 11/05/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Queen's Sister," which had it's American debut on BBC America, tells the story of Princess Margaret. It's a fascinating, yet somewhat uneven, portrait of a royal we don't hear much about anymore. Marginalized by circumstance, she never really had a significant role to play within the framework of the Royal family. So by boredom, rebellion and/or greedy indifference--she began an unconventional lifestyle (for a Royal anyway) revolving around men and partying. Becoming a social celebrity of sorts, she sought acceptance anyway that she could get it and an acknowledgment of her status.
"The Queen's Sister" is at it's most effective when dealing with Margaret's internal struggles. Far from being a standard biopic, it is more of a psychological profile. And when depicting Margaret's search for purpose and worth, it has some nicely poignant moments. Even though she comes across unflatteringly on many occasions, there are times when we clearly see the girl beneath the title. The tone of the film, though, seesaws rather precariously between ribald comedy and quiet despair. This shifting focus does lessen the overall impact of the film, but it's never uninteresting.
The production benefits with a tremendous, vital performance by Lucy Cohu. Spanning 20 years of Margaret's life, it's a showy and robust showcase for Cohu's acting chops. The film is well presented and well done from a technical standpoint. I'm not so convinced that historical accuracy, however, was a top priority to the filmmakers. Nevertheless, I recommend the film to those interested in the Royals--it's a different perspective. And I give a big thumbs up to Cohu who holds everything together with a masterful and complicated performance. KGHarris, 11/06."
Odd, Sad, and Sometimes Amusing, Just Like the Princess
John D. Cofield | 02/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is supposed to be a dramatization of the life of Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth II. It begins just before the death of King George VI and ends sometime after her messy divorce in the 1970s (although in this film it looks more like the late 1960s). This is more of a tabloid style scandal piece than a factual documentary, but it does do a good job of depicting the Princess's madcap life in search of fun, diversion, and love. Margaret could be very elegant and dignified on occasion, but we don't see those occasions in this film. She could be manic and wanton too, and this film plays those periods up for all they are worth. And we never see her in her more tender moments. Even her children are barely mentioned.
Very little explanation is provided for Margaret's hedonism. We don't see her relationship with her father, whose favorite she was, and her mother and sister never appear on screen. We are not allowed to see how her celebrated romance with Peter Townsend began, nor do we get much of an idea about why she eventually fell into and then out of love with Anthony Armstrong-Jones, Roddy Llewellyn, and her other lovers. All these disjointed segments leave us with is a deep sense of sadness for the Princess's wasted life, and maybe that's what the producers intended.
Interestingly enough, one of the extras provided on this DVD is much superior to the main selection. A Royal Scandal is an hour long depiction of the unhappy marriage of King George IV and Queen Caroline, which was first shown back in the 1990s. It really is funny, and the narration by Ian Richardson at his driest and most sardonic best is priceless."
Five Stars for the Featurette! One for this Appalling Turkey
F. S. L'hoir | Irvine, CA | 03/28/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Has the BBC taken leave of its senses?
It must have, since it has subordinated an excellent full-length film, "Royal Scandal," narrated by Ian Richardson, and featuring such notable actors as Michael Kitchen, to a ghastly pseudo-biopic about Princess Margaret. "Royal Scandal" tells the true and tragic story of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, who had the misfortune to be married to the dissolute Prince Regent, who became George IV, and petitioned to divorce his wife. Thus the woman who would be Queen of England was forced to listen in person to her reputation being ruined in the House of Lords. Her husband was not even present. The film is fascinating, amusing, beautifully acted (with such a cast!) and lovely to look at. The writers, who have used the actual words from the correspondence and court transcripts have created a cinematic gem, which surely deserved to be featured as first-run on a DVD; however, the Beeb marketing geniuses doubtless thought it was not important enough to peddle to their former colonists.
Instead, they have given us a trashy film based upon the exploitative tabloid headlines of a later age than the 1950s. The story begins with a fast reference to the romance between Princess Margaret and Group Captain Peter Townsend, without dwelling upon the pressures that were put upon her and how she was forced to renounce him publicly (She was very young.). The director also had the bad judgment to have the actress read the princess's words, rather than letting Margaret's tragic voice, broadcast worldwide in 1955, speak for itself. The movie then jumps to her life in the 'fast lane' and her pursuit of Anthony Armstrong-Jones and subsequent unhappy marriage. Next we see a Margaret growing older and more dissipated as she turns to one disastrous affair after another. Ironically, as she ages, the makeup makes her look more like the actual older Princess Margaret. When we first meet her, however, she bears a strong resemblance to Mrs. Simpson! (One only has to look at the early photographs and the portraits by Cecil Beaton to see how truely lovely Princess Margaret was in her youth!)
Since the writing is so superficial and motiveless, the actors, who are more than competent, have a thankless uphill task to perform. Not even Toby Stephens as Anthony Armstrong-Jones can save this train wreck!
Buy this DVD for "Royal Scandal" and give the scandalous feature a miss!
Straight from the tabloids
Jay Dickson | Portland, OR | 03/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A biographical film of the adult life of Princess Margaret, covering her doomed relationship with Group-Captain Peter Townshend through her unhappy marriage to Tony Armstrong-Jones through her late midlife affair with Roddy Llewellyn. The animating idea behind it is to show almost all the more sordid aspects of Margaret's life blown up to absurdist mythic status; at key junctures the plot is advanced by flashing tabloid headlines and by people reacting to Margaret's antics while watching television, with funny subtitles clueing us into their internal sympathies.
This doesn't work so well (it doesn't seem carried through enough), but the film still succeeds largely by dint of its superior performances. Lucy Cohu is astonishingly good as Margaret, convincing playing her not only in many moods and at many ages but at many weights: she delivers the truly bravura performance the film needs to put it over. (Her mother and sister are pointedly never shown on film, as if to suggest their godly power over her life.) Thoby Stephens is also quite fine as Margaret's commoner husband the Prince of Wales, and Simon Woods is quite sweet as the spacey, kindly Roddy Llewellyn. Also in this film's favor are its superior sets, and its very carefully executed fashions and hairstyles that reveal the full resplendant ghastliness of Margaret's era of chic (roughly 1950 through 1978). This film also comes with a sweet little BBC documentary vignette about Margaret's life before her marriage to Armstrong-Jones, and "A Royal Scandal," a very strange half-attempt at an hour-long film covering the marriage of George IV and Caroline of Brunswick, with Rupert Everett oddly cast as the Prince Regent (a part he would even more oddly play again in THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE)."