In 1796, Captain George Brummell of the 10th Royal Hussars Regiment offends the Prince of Wales with his straightforward outspokenness and gets fired from the army but is chosen as the Prince's personal advisor.
Anthony John is an actor whose life is strongly influenced by the characters he plays. When he's playing comedy, he's the most enjoyable person in the world, but when he's playing drama, ... See full summary »
A business tycoon decides to wed a Middle Eastern princess whose customs dictate the pair must live apart for several months before marrying; even more complications settle in when the tycoon's ex-fiancée is assigned to chaperone the pair.
In nineteenth century England, Captain George Brummell (Stewart Granger) is an upper-class dandy. He has to leave the Army after having insulted the Prince of Wales (Sir Peter Ustinov). This gives him the opportunity to start a smear campaign against the Prince. The Prince, who is tired of all of the yes-men around him, hires him as his chief advisor.Written by
Unusual to see Stewart Granger in period costume without a flashing blade, but I found this costume drama on the rise and fall of the Regency dandy and confidante to the then Prince of Wales, eminently watchable. Granger himself shows more acting depth than he was usually allowed in the swashbuckling actioners he frequented and is well cast as the proud, aspiring but ultimately over-ambitious George "Beau" Brummell, whose loose tongue and haughty wit ultimately saw him cast out of high society into a life of penury in France, on the run from his numerous creditors. However the real acting plaudits unquestionably lie with Peter Ustinov, who again, like his portrayal of Nero in "Quo Vadis", easily demonstrates his character, the king-in-waiting Prince George's initially fey and petulant ways but later conveys the depth of character of a man who matured into his kingship and his conflicting loyalty which turns to generous magnamity to best friend but loose cannon Brummell. Robert Morley gets to act a fine cameo performance as the mentally ill King whose condition leads to the Regency crisis and Elizabeth Taylor gets to wear some elaborate costumes not to mention hairstyles as Lady Belham, torn between her passionate attraction to Brummell's rebellious individual and the safe society gentleman Lord Edwin Mercer played stoically by James Donald. Historical figures of the day flit in and out of the narrative, but surely the "mad, bad and dangerous to know" Lord Byron should have been played with more zest and by a more handsome actor than we get here. The sets and costumes are sumptuous, the direction steady if uninspired, (for example, an intimate dialogue scene between Granger and Taylor pans back and forth unimaginatively between their faces with every sentence spoken). The dialogue while well-written and rarely trivial, does get bogged down in speechifying, forced wit and point-scoring which gets decidedly stultifying at times. The key scene were Brummell rashly insults the Prince is well staged and played and the viewer is left in no doubt that the bold Brummell has gone too far this time, prefiguring the fate of another high society dandy from a later generation, the writer Oscar Wilde. Having read a little background on the real Brummell's life, I'm aware that the usual Hollywood bowdlerisation has occurred (nowhere did I read of the Prince when King's final reconciliation with the broken Brummell in France), but it makes for a good finish to a meatier costume drama than I might have expected given the subject and personnel involved.
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