Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

"We have a scourge upon our land. Tis a woman with a crown." - John Knox

That quote obviously comes from the film 'Mary Queen of Scots' (spoken by David Tennant  unrecognisable behind a hugely impressive beard) rather than being historical fact; indeed any relationship between the film and what actually happened would appear to be accidental. The geography wasn't any better either: the scene labelled 'The Border' was clearly nowhere of the kind and they rather traduced Carlisle, which is a perfectly pleasant place, but was made to look like an outpost of Mordor. In fact visually the whole film was reminiscent of 'Lord of the Rings', although I would of course be the last person to draw any parallels between Orcs and Scotsmen. It was all enjoyable enough though and contained some fine acting as did all the films I'm going to mention.

"Looks like deep fried Mars bars are back on the menu boys."

Despite her own end being not exactly what she would have wished for, it was Mary's descendants rather than Elizabeth's who went on to reign over both England and Scotland. Queen Anne was, I think, her great-granddaughter and 'The Favourite' addresses aspects of the life of the last of the Stuart dynasty with what appears to be a similarly cavalier attitude to accuracy. It is a much better film though, despite the strange ending. Any film whose credits include 'Nude Pomegranate Tory' and 'Fastest Duck in the City' is going to be OK with me.

Boris Johnson

'All is True', which takes us back to the reign of Mary's son, is rather downbeat, melancholy even. Judi Dench is far too old to play Anne Hathaway opposite Kenneth Branagh, and whole chunks of it make no sense at all, with entire subplots disappearing left right and centre. It is however rescued by the acting especially Sir Ian McKellen. To hear him and Branagh each recite Sonnet 29 in very different ways is worth your time and money on its own.

"Fly you fools!"

I have also seen 'Colette' which, being set in 19th century France, has nothing to do with the Stuarts, but does feature a strong female character who has to put up with a lot of crap from the man in her life. She takes a leaf out of Queen Anne's book (specifically the version of it as portrayed in the film), replaces him with a woman or two and seems to be all the happier for it. And, last but not least, the film that I have seen this year which I would recommend the most is 'Stan & Ollie', a lovely paean to friendship. If the pair's final show together doesn't bring a tear to your eye then you have no soul.

"That's another fine mess you've gotten us into."

1 comment:

  1. Oh, of course, it was John Knox ...there was me, thinking it was Arthur Scargill, talking about Saint Maggie!ūüėĄ