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The Devil Eire Effect: Historical Films and Villains…

I wrote a little while ago about how suspicious I am concerning “true stories” that make it to the big screen. Truth be told, life doesn’t exactly fit into the three act structure or one-hundred-and-twenty minutes of screen time – I understand that changes need to be made. Real life characters are often boiled down or reduced to mere collections of quirks, the hero faces a more streamlined obstacle than they did in real life and sometimes even ends up a far better person for it. However, I was sitting down watching The King’s Speech at the weekend and I couldn’t help wondering if we really needed for Albert’s elder brother David and his American fiancée Wallis to be portrayed as nothing more than scheming villains, just because we needed to root for Albert a little more.

The Simpsons?

Note: The ever-wonderful TV Tropes describe this as a “Historical Villain Upgrade” if you’re looking for more examples of what I am talking about…

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Non-Review Review: The Young Victoria

There are a few period dramas about classical nobility released every year. Most of them, such as The Dutchess are fairly bland and lifeless affairs – indeed, it’s hard to create an energy or dynamism around a world most of us have never known which is built upon self-restraint and self-control. The tendency is towards po-faced self-importance and excessive melodrama. While I would be hard pressed to describe The Young Victoria as “exciting” or “thrilling”, it is one of the better period pieces I have seen to focus on the British Royal Family, perhaps because – despite the impressive scope of its subject matter (Queen Victoria was, as the end titlecard informs us, the longest-serving monarch of Great Britain) – it remains tightly focused. It’s a story of courtship and romance, loyalty and dependency. It’s a genuinely and honestly romantic film.

Royalty and politics make strange bedfellows...

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