Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Saw The Queen recently and it was as good as expected -- historical fiction of a high order. Verisimilitude and intelligent scripting's a fairly rare combination. And I was amused by the choice of James Cromwell, an American, to play Prince Philip sourly. Cromwell's a character actor with an enormous list of parts, but whenever I see him I think of Stretch Cunningham, Archie Bunker's lazy co-worker (All in the Family); Zefram Cochrane, inventor of the warp drive (a couple of Star Trek movies); and an important character in the little-remembered sitcom Hot L Baltimore.

Though an excellent movie, it was still a little strange to think of The Queen in historical terms. It seems like the events just happened. The main characters are still in office, for crying out loud, though barely in Blair's case, who, I have to add, is a bit younger than my oldest brother. It all seems like old news, not history, not yet. But no point in waiting for a movie like this, not at least when the quality is so high.

Remarkable, too, that the movie ended up so sympathetic to the monarch, if not the monarchy:

Alastair Campbell (Blair's flack): "Well, at least the old bat's finally agreed to visit Diana's coffin."

Tony Blair: "You know, when you get it wrong, you really get it wrong! That woman has given her whole life in service to her people. Fifty years doing a job she never wanted! A job she watched kill her father. She's executed it with honor, dignity, and, as far as I can tell, without a single blemish, and now we're all baying for her blood! All because she's struggling to lead the world in mourning for someone who... who threw everything she offered back in her face. And who, for the last few years, seemed committed 24/7 to destroying everything she holds most dear!"


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