Beau Brummell (1954) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
19 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
" Revolution is all around us, France, America, it's in the air "
thinker169115 June 2010
Of all the influences of men's fashion created during the 1800s, none ever compared with the flashes of inspirations set by George Bryan Brummell. This film entitled " Beau Brummell " is a superficial look at the man and his statements of life and fashion. Born in London, educated at Eton and for a time, a close friend of King George IV, Brummell rubbed shoulders with the rich and powerful, despite the fact, he was unfortunately, neither. Stewart Granger portrays Beau Brummell with a nonchalant but superior attitude and with the smug style of the up-and-coming, man-a-bout-town. Although, not in his actual life, Elizabeth Taylor plays Lady Patricia Belham, a woman of culture, breeding and social stature, who remains as elusive as Brummell's financial aspirations. Peter Ustinov plays the Prince of Wales and future King of England with convincing style and ease. Robert Morley, James Donald and James Hayter as Mortimer add to the fine cast as does Noel Willman who plays Lord Byron. As a result, this film may not exercise the accurate truth of the great Dandy of England, but does set the regal stage with which the real Beau Brummell was accustomed to. An excellent adaptation and recommended to all who wish to study the man, the times and the incredible influences he had in his day. ****
13 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Clothes maketh the man...
Lejink13 December 2008
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.
17 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"Beau Brummel" is not as bad as you might expect…
Nazi_Fighter_David7 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
With its lavish appointments and its excessively theatrical scene-stealing from Peter Ustinov and Robert Morley as the silly Prince of Wales and his even sillier father King George III, "Beau Brummel" is not as bad as you might expect…

The rooms look authentic, and, when Ustinov is jabbering some nonsense as the trivial, vain, empty monarch to be, the film even sounds authentic…

As Lady Patricia, Taylor is allowed to move on a sea of romantic indecision… She must choose between the impetuous adventurer and a serious court Politician… A little bourgeoise at heart, she makes her choice finally for the harbor rather than the tempest…

The movie is based on Clyde Fitch's play, but with a pallid Stewart Granger as the widely known sartorial dandy, the focus is wisely shifted to the crazy Regent… Ustinov's Regent has more glamor than Granger's soldier of fortune, and the movie becomes the story of the misguided, easily manipulated, finally rather pathetic Prince of Wales rather than a showcase for the skill and panache of Captain Beau Brummell…

As a character study of fashion-crazed royalty, Bernhardt's film is pompously entertaining; as romance, or as insight into the historical Beau himself, the movie is impoverished… Granger and his leading lady are responsible for the dead weight that surrounds Ustinov's spirited silliness…

The rich, willful Taylor contained intimations of the Southern belles to follow, but even at her maturity, in "A Place in the Sun" or "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Liz had not fully awakened to the best that was in her…
27 out of 34 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Granger Shines in Brummell Tale ***
edwagreen22 July 2006
Giving up a military career when he is rude to the Prince of Wales, Stewart Granger is excellent as the handsome gentleman consumed with looking great and cavorting with upper class society in this elegant film.

Peter Ustinov is just marvelous as The Prince of Wales. Again and again, he shows that he was just born to play these majestic spots. Robert Morely is fabulous in the one scene that he appears in the film as the insane king.

The weak link here is Elizabeth Taylor. She seems like she is acting in 1944's "National Velvet."

The picture is a wonderful study of class values, snobbery and redemption in the end.
22 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Beautiful Historical Drama Cum Regency Romance
silverscreen88818 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
As a writer, I appreciate the classic play from which "Beau Brummell" was adapted. The film directed by veteran Curtis Bernhardt and written by Karl Tunberg is a very solid one, which is a drama not an adventure. Perhaps post-1970 viewers are unused to listening to dialogue; also this is not history, it is fictionalized biography. This means the Beau Brummell we are given is the one to be judged; and frankly anyone who is the enemy of a half-mad pseudo-Christian monarch, and who tries to influence his son to be even marginally a better man and less of a dress parade fop, is an historical character worth making a movie about. Furthermore, any comparison between this film and "The Madness of King George", a naturalistic biography of a half-mad king is ridiculous; this is fiction, the latter cannot aspire to be anything comparable. The film is physically quite beautiful. Richard Addinsell and Miklos Rosza provided music, Oswald Morris the glowing cinematography and Elizabeth Haffenden the very striking and lovely period costumes.. With art direction by Alfred Junge, gorgeous bewigged hair and Joan Johnstone's makeup, the film looks quite lovely at all points. The storyline, which sometimes betrays its stage origins, in my judgment never really falters. George Brian Brummell attracts  the attention of the young Prince of England by critiquing his overly-elaborate redesign of the royal guard's uniforms. It's about all he has to do except wish he could marry his mistress, which his father will not allow. Brummell's audacity and subtle praise of his latent potential then causes him to make Brummell his chief unofficial adviser. He introduces pipe-stem trousers and the ancestor of the modern dress suit in place of the foppish fashions of the period; and he conducts himself honestly while hoping to free the prince from his father's madness and general tyranny. He is liked and respected by the ethical men at a corrupt and dangerous imperial court--remember we revolted against the mad king's family in the colonies--but eventually runs afoul of the king's touchiness, and to Lord Byron at a party instead of issuing an apology, asks of George Gordon, Lord Byron, "Gordie--who's your fat friend?" The Prince fails to forgive him for the intemperate remark; and Brummell is driven from court and only reconciled with the king as he lies dying. in poverty. This powerful and often thematic narrative may be a bit slow here and there, but intelligent dialogue, powerful confrontations and good acting make it a standout, compared to nearly every historical film made since its original release. In the title role, Stewart Granger is very good and charismatic. Even better perhaps are Robert Morley as the mad King, Peter Ustinov as the Prince, James Donald as Lord Mercer and Rosemary Harris as Mrs. Fitzherbert, the Prince's mistress. Other fine actors in this well-played feature include Peter Dyneley, James Hayter, Noel Willman as Lord Byron, Paul Rogers as Mr. Pitt, Peter Bull and Henry Oscar. As Lady Pamela, Brummell's love, Elizabeth Taylor lacks something in every department except looks; even after her relative shortcomings in classical films such as "ivanhoe" and this entry, studio heads hired her to play classical parts. I have always wondered why. Granger, handsome lead, was brought to star in a number of projects for the studio; he did not do a poor job in any one of them and turned in a very good one wherever, as here, he was able to inject humor into his part. This is a very fine, dignified and rewarding historical fictionalized biography, unlike so many before and since. It is very underrated.  
27 out of 38 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Unlikely to Please the Historian
JamesHitchcock18 December 2010
George Bryan "Beau" Brummell (1778-1840) was a leader of fashion in Regency England and a close friend of the Prince Regent, although they eventually quarrelled. Brummell was eventually forced to leave Britain because of debts and spent the latter part of his life in poverty in France. He appears to have a considerable influence on the men's fashions of his day, helping to popularise cravats, trousers instead of knee-breeches, natural hair instead of wigs and to make fashionable the restrained, sober elegance which was to be the keynote of gentlemen's costume in the nineteenth century in place of the ostentatious dandyism of the eighteenth. Outside the field of gents' tailoring, however, he was not a figure of any great historical significance, so it is perhaps not surprising that this film is not an academically serious biopic, but rather a celebration of a colourful figure in a colourful age.

The film is far from being historically accurate, especially as regards chronology. The events depicted here (the Regency Crisis of 1788, the Prince's marriage to Caroline of Brunswick, Brummell's rise in the Prince's favour, his fall from grace, the death of King George III in 1820 and Brummel's own death in 1840) historically cover a period in excess of fifty years, but here they are presented as occurring over a much shorter timescale. Rather oddly, the villain of the piece is William Pitt the Younger, widely regarded as one of Britain's greatest Prime Ministers but presented here as a cunning, power-hungry schemer who refuses to allow King George III to be certified as mad (although he quite obviously is) in order to protect his own power. (The relationship between Pitt and the King depicted here more closely resembles that between the Austrian Chancellor Prince Metternich and the feeble-minded Emperor Ferdinand I who, for political reasons, was never declared to be insane). In reality Pitt died in 1806, but here he is shown as outliving not only George III but also Brummell.

The film's politics are, in fact, rather inconsistent. Early on, Brummell, whose family although wealthy are of fairly humble stock, is portrayed as something of a radical filled with the spirit of the French Revolution and complaining about the class divisions within British society. Later on, however, he becomes as the Prince's friend an arch-reactionary, encouraging the future George IV to defy Parliament and to rule more as an autocrat than as a constitutional monarch. Brummell's justification for this apparent change of heart is that he feels that the Prince will make an admirably liberal ruler, far more liberal than Pitt, but the character played by Peter Ustinov does not really make us feel that this confidence is well-founded.

Stewart Granger was known for playing dashing heroes in costume dramas, so was well-suited to the lead role, although it contains less in the way of physical action than some of his other parts from this period. Ustinov gives a good comic performance as the petulant, self-pitying Prince, and Robert Morley a more serious one as the mad old King. I was, however, surprised to see Elizabeth Taylor, already a major star in her early twenties, in a comparatively minor role. She plays Brummell's love-interest Lady Patricia Belham, although he eventually loses her to another man. Apparently Lady Patricia, a fictitious character not found in the play on which the screenplay was based, was inserted to allay any suspicions on the part of the ultra-puritanical American censors that the friendship between Brummell and the Prince might be homosexual in nature.

"Beau Brummell" is not the sort of film which is likely to please the historian, but then it was never intended to. It was clearly intended as an enjoyable period romp and, to some extent, still works on that level. 6/10
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What a Fan-tas-tic Movie !
id_unplugged13 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of my fav movies. The last scene where he turns down the money from his publisher, which is akin to accepting a death sentence with his dwindling health, sums up the movie and the character of Brummell. He would accept a quick death, than compromise his principles. No matter that the man he was trying to shield, the plump prince, had so unceremoniously and unfairly shunned him. And after all he did for him.

Such is life. There is a prayer which goes, "Keep me safe from the evil of one, who I have favored". Because, it hurts a whole lot more when you get back-stabbed from them.

Most people on this board have no kind word for Brummell. Maybe, because they have been on the receiving end from somebody like that. A man with flair, elan, a quick wit and bold to boot. Such men do ruffle the feathers of the rest of us, make us look bad in comparison. But to not recognize their qualities is unfair. Some may also not appreciate the theme of a 'commoner' trying to mix with royalty. That's just a sad shame.

Brummell could have easily remained in the good graces of the prince, got his earlship, minted money and remain an insider, as long as plumpy was on the throne. But he threw it all away for pride 'n principle and even at death's door, he receives plumpy in a dignified manner and is overly kind and courteous to him.

You have to have character, to recognize it and cherish it, in this movie I guess. I would urge everyone with upright principle to watch this movie for an affirmation. :)
11 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Ustinov was Fantastic
whpratt123 July 2006
Enjoyed this film, however, I doubt very much if England found this a wonderful film to view. I know for a fact that this film was shown special to the royal family and they were simply shocked at how crazy their ancestors were portrayed in this film. It was from that time on, that all films ever shown to the royal family were to be screened first. Peter Ustinov,(Prince of Wales),"The Bachelor",'99 played the role of a fat prince who did not have a mind of his own or in other words, was a complete WIMP. Stewart Granger,(Beau Brummell), "The Trygon Factor",'66, was a care free character in the British Military and said what he wanted and did exactly what he wanted and lived off people. Beau also became good friends with Prince of Wales, after almost spitting in his face on different occasions. Elizabeth Taylor,(Lady Patricia Belham),"A Little Night Music",'78, was very pretty and played a rather quiet and confusing young lady, who did not know just what she wanted in life. Entertaining film, but not the greatest, but excellent acting.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Man Who Popularized Trousers, and his one-time "Fat Friend"
theowinthrop18 May 2005
Stewart Granger, in his prime, was damned by being too handsome and too British. It is fascinating to see the way he was used in films in England in the late 1940s and films in Hollywood in the 1950s. His countrymen recognized he was good looking, and muscular, but while he could play an adventurous rug dealer in CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA, it was a supporting part (the male lead was the less handsome looking, but greater actor, Claude Rains). In CAPTAIN BOYCOTT, he played an Irish farmer and horse racer (there the title character was a supporting character - played by Cecil Parker). In BLANCHE FURY he was a scheming murderer after an estate, based on the 19th Century killer James B. Rush. In THE MAN IN GREY he was one of a pair of doomed lovers (and the main role was a Regency buck villain played by James Mason, who in venting his anger on Margaret Leighton for her evil gained the audience's support). In short, Granger's English roles were a wide variety of types (they also included the violinist Paganini, and the unfortunate courtier Count Koenigsmarck). He had a wide variety of parts, and sometimes was not at the center of his films.

Hollywood was determined that he was at the center of the films. At his best (KING SOLOMON'S MINES, YOUNG BESS, SCARAMOUCHE) he was given good material, and good direction, and some humor (in SCARAMOUCHE anyway). But he was soon straight jacketed into costume films no matter how weak they were. Granger did occasionally break away from sword and leotard flicks, like ALL THE BROTHERS WERE VALLIANT and THE LAST HUNT and (a little later) NORTH TO ALASKA - a welcome comic part. But most of his Hollywood films were like BEAU BRUMMEL and FOOTSTEPS IN THE FOG: Weak stories with Granger pushed into British historical costumes.

BEAU BRUMMEL had been a play written at the turn of the century by America's leading dramatist of the day, Clyde Fitch. Forgotten (somewhat unjustly today), Fitch was usually a social comedy writer. His best known comic play (not revived for many decades) was a vehicle for a young actress named Ethel Barrymore called CAPTAIN JINKS OF THE HORSE MARINES. After watching Barrymore pursue the actor portraying Captain Adolphus Jinks (yes, that's his name) for two and a half hours, the play was so successful that Ethel added a line at the end to still the demands for encores: "That's all there is, there isn't anymore." Ironically, due to savage critics like Brooks Atkinson, Fitch's plays are rarely staged, so that final line is better remembered than it's play.

A number of years back (about 1986 or so) a group of female actors put together a review, called "The Club" (I believe that was the name). They were dressed in turn of the century clothing as male members of a club. Part of the review was a one act play of Fitch's. The critics felt it was quite well acted and even entertaining.

Fitch was known for historical dramas as well. He wrote one on NATHAN HALE. He also wrote this play, BEAU BRUMMEL, for Richard Mansfield. It is actually a study in a dandy's fall from "greatness" or social fame into tragedy. The real Brummell was to lose his social position, his fortune, his friendship with George, Prince of Wales ("Prinny" or "Florizel" - later George IV), and finally his sanity. The original play was grim. For an actor like Mansfield, who reveled in roles that emphasized opposites (the original "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde") he must have enjoyed going from plushy costumes to rags. The 1924 film version with John Barrymore as Brummel is closer to the original.

Brummel was a leader of social fashion. One of the Regency figures (including his "fat friend" the Prince) who created the style known as "Regency" that is for the period of 1795 to 1837. He influenced the Prince about wardrobe and social behavior - so much that George was called "The First Gentleman of Europe". But he had no political influence. He probably had no political ideas of importance at all.

The film tries to make him more important historically than he was. He was a fop who briefly influenced culture - but he did not confront William Pitt the Younger as this film suggests. In fact Prince George was not the best person to try to influence politically at all. Although in his youth he was frequently seen with Whig figures like Charles Fox (Peter Bull in the film) or Richard Sheridan, this was to spite his Tory father George III (Robert Morley in this film). If you saw that better historical film, THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE III, the poisonous relationship of the King and his heir was shown quite well. As Prince George grew older, his basic conservatism grew. By the time he was acting Prince Regent and then King (1811 - 1820; 1820 - 1830) he was firmly in the Tory ranks. But Pitt the Younger was dead by then.

As mentioned in another comment on this thread, Morley as the mad King, and Ustinov as the Prince (later King) were the best performers in this film. Poor Granger tries, but he has a terrible script to work with. They should have kept to the original - it might have been worth while as a film. For the sake of Ustinov and Morley I am giving this film a 6 out of 10.
13 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A certain amount of smarmy Regency charm
bkoganbing17 May 2005
The real Beau Brummell was not a terribly likable guy to be made a hero for a film. A near do well who might have gone his whole life as an obscure army captain, he worms his way into the good graces of the Prince of Wales, later George IV. And he uses that position to advance himself and tweak the noses of some of the powerful. When he offended the Prince his fate was assured.

That was the real Brummell and he only survives today as an expression to signify someone with good fashion sense. He had that and little else. He didn't invent anything, he wasn't a great military leader, he never went into politics and nor was he the champion of a great cause.

It's not much to work with and poor Stewart Granger tries his best, but the part defeats him. Elizabeth Taylor in one of the last films she was given a part to look pretty and little else, she does that. Peter Ustinov comes off far the best as the Prince of Wales.

I understood the Brummell character perfectly. We've all experienced someone like that in our midst. In my former work life we had such an individual who had no discernible talent, but a great knack for kissing up to the powers that be. One of them took him along when she moved to head another agency and basically tried to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Like Brummell he overreached himself and had a big fall. When last heard of he was working in a florist's shop. Like Brummell he thought he was on the fast track to something way beyond his talents and abilities.

In that sense the film is universally identifiable. But today I can see the part being played by a Rob Lowe and not so heroically. Beau was no hero.
11 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A remake would be interesting.
gregcouture6 November 2003
Though it's hardly likely that we'll see it (except perhaps on TV's 'Masterpiece Theater"), a remake of this story would possibly benefit from a somewhat less cautious approach to what looks like a more interesting story than what unreels in this glossy costumer. Peter Ustinov and Robert Morley, of course, outclass the nominal leads and the production values are sumptuous, though often quite obviously studio/soundstage-bound. Miss Taylor, before she came into her own as a movie actress of some ability, is gowned and coiffed in a manner that makes her presence understandable, but the whole enterprise is redolent of what helped to bring the studio system to a grinding halt. Just where one hopes for a little astringency and a more adult take on the story's complications, that dreaded Eisenhower-era conservatism blankets the proceedings in an ultra-safe approach that one suspects left even the audiences of the time when this was released wanting substantially more.
9 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A little boring, but pretty to watch
HotToastyRag19 July 2017
In the 1950s, VistaVision and Technicolor made way for an entirely new genre of films: historical epics. They'd been made before, but never in vivid color, widescreen ratio, and high resolution. Tons of films came out of the decade, like Ivanhoe, Raintree County, and Beau Brummell. Coincidentally, those all starred Elizabeth Taylor. She just looks lovely in Technicolor, doesn't she?

Beau Brummell is a biopic, about the love-hate friendship between the title character and the Prince of Wales, played by Stewart Granger and Peter Ustinov, respectively. It gets a little wordy, since it was based off a play, but those who like lots of beautiful sets and costumes to look at will be sufficiently distracted. The distraction for everyone will be Elizabeth Taylor, and she sparkles in the few romantic scenes she's given.

It's not a fantastic movie, but it won't hurt you to watch it, if you like historical movies, or the 1800s in particular. If you're not fully invested though, it might get a little boring.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A big yawn
blanche-21 August 2009
The 1954 MGM extravaganza "Beau Brummel" was the third making of this story, based on a play by Clyde Fitch. Can't see the name Clyde Fitch without hearing Bette Davis biting the name off in "All About Eve." Wish I'd been watching "All About Eve." MGM has given this story of the narcissistic George "Beau" Brummel and his friendship with the Prince of Wales a lavish, sumptuous color production and, if the scenery and costumes weren't enough, thrown in Elizabeth Taylor for good measure. She is, of course, rapturously beautiful as the confused Patricia, attracted to Beau but betrothed to a safer choice.

Stewart Granger was a good actor, always solid and attractive, with a powerful voice, but he had a tendency to be unexciting. Also, and this is just an opinion, he did better in macho action films. One of the posters pointed out that Elizabeth Taylor was thrown in to show that Beau was heterosexual, but the poster wasn't sure. He is a bit of a fop and not suited to the talents of Granger, who is on the boring side here. The acting honors go to Peter Ustinov and Robert Morley, as the Prince of Wales and his father. These performances could be considered over the top, but they're only over the top because no one else is doing anything.

The actual story is treated in a superficial manner, with not much of a look into Beau's politics or much else.

Just okay. I think if you have a large flat-screen TV it would be fun to watch.
5 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
He Walks in Beauty
rmax3048238 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Stewart Granger is George "Beau" Brummel, former Captain of Dragoons, who strikes up a friendship with the future King of England, the Prince of Wales, Peter Ustinov. Under Ustinov's imprimatur, Granger makes all sorts of friends and enemies in high places, including George Gordon, Lord Byron, advises the Prince on issues of politics and character, and, most important, changes the fashion of the nation from powdered wigs, white stockings, and elaborate dress, to understated black clothing with ordinary trousers.

Granger and Elizabeth Taylor fall for each other but Taylor opts for marriage to the stolid James Donald rather than the dashing but erratic Granger who is making a living by gambling and has piled up a mountain of debts. Eventually, Granger not being willing or able to come to the mountain, the mountain comes to Granger -- at about the same time Granger's pip-pip advice to the Prince becomes too frank. Granger flees to France where he dies in poverty.

It's not what you think of when you think of a Stewart Granger movie. He was the Errol Flynn of the 1950s. His best-known films involved swashbuckling, pursuits on horseback, that sort of thing. This movie is not like that. It's duller and, in a way, more adult.

Granger here is a complex man and although the audience is invariably going to root for him -- he IS, after all, Stewart Granger -- he has quite a few flaws. It could even be argued that he is made up of nothing BUT flaws. Despite the fact that the movie does its best to paper over them, the artifice shows and the cracks are visible.

My God, what a narcissist. He's self indulgent, full of rude Wildeian quips, snooty and insolent, manipulative, and reckless with the feelings of others. The Elizabeth Taylor character was invented to assure us that Beau Brummel was heterosexual but I don't know.

I don't know that Granger himself is any more manipulative than the movie. Okay, he's an adviser to the Prince on politics. What are his politics like? The film introduces them by having Granger make a few indignant remarks about the high-flown ways of the aristocracy. Why, take the flour that those aristos put into their wigs! Enough to feed fifty million families on bread for ten million years! Very populist.

And that's the end of his interest in people blessed with less opportunity than himself. Thereafter he urges the Prince to exert his power and, at the final confrontation, not to accept any compromise with parliament regarding the bestowing of earldoms. (Ustinov had promised to make Granger an earl.) Is Granger as Brummel simply using Ustinov as the Prince to advance his own interests? Granger muses to himself -- and to Mortimer, the servant who polishes his boots with champagne -- that it may have started off that way but now Granger realizes that the Prince needs his friendship as much as he, Granger, needs the Prince's. Right-o, Beau. That kind of reasoning is known as an ego defense mechanism.

Granger is extremely handsome, dressed to the nines, and strides around with pomp and character. But Peter Ustinov is equally good in a secondary role -- a pouting, blushing, pink little porker. Ustinov convinces us that he's filled with self doubt and hesitancy, as much as Granger so skillfully plays the role of the self-confident sociopath.

We all wind up rooting for Granger, yes, but we probably won't cheer so loudly if we pay attention to the goings on. Kids may miss the action of Stewart's other films of the period. Adults may be able to get into the intrigue and the intricacies of personal motives. They may also appreciate Elizabeth Taylor at her most gaspingly stunning.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Not so beau.....
dbdumonteil9 July 2008
Brummel really died in France (in Caen) but not of TB.He actually developed a VD!TB was certainly more romantic .

As we are told in " the man who shot Liberty Valance" ,when history is less beautiful than the legend,let's print the legend.

The cast is very good: Stewart Granger portrays a committed dandy -we are not told he used to spend five hours a day to dress himself- who is a friend of the prince of Wales but who is influenced by the New World and the French Revolution.He looks like a cross between Lafayette (who refused to be at the beck and call of Louis 16th even before the Revolution) and Beaumarchais' s "Figaro ("what did you do to deserve so many goods?You were born (a noble) and that's it").Granger displays panache,dignity and loyalty;Peter Ustinov,gives a performance which reminds me of his effeminate Nero in "Quo Vadis" ;Robert Morley briefly appears as the lunatic king but he makes his scenes count;Elizabeth Taylor's part of a lady who cannot make up her mind- adventure or security- is not one of the actress's best though ;it was her heyday and "Brummel" does not compare favorably to "suddenly last Summer" "giant" or even "the raintree county" or "Ivanhoe".
3 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The dandy gent doesn't get a dandy movie.
Spikeopath15 December 2010
Beau Brummell (1954) is out of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and directed by Curtis Bernhardt. It's based on the play of the same name by Clyde Fitch with a screenplay written by Karl Tunberg, The music score is by Richard Addinsell with Miklós Rózsa and it is filmed in Eastman Color by Oswald Morris. Starring are Stewart Granger as Beau Brummell, Elizabeth Taylor, and Peter Ustinov plays the Prince of Wales. It is also a remake of a Warner Bros. silent film made in 1924 that starred John Barrymore as Brummell.

"In the day of Napoleon, Nelson and Wellington, of Pitt, Burke and Fox, there lived a man called Beau Brummell. Lord Byron said he was the greatest man in Europe. Brummell agreed--and he very nearly proved it".

Well that sets the mood doesn't it? Time to sit back and enjoy a romping good costumer with dandy dashers dealing in politico shenanigans and romancing buxom beauties. Only that isn't quite the case, for what follows is more a staid picture about a supposed interesting man during what was undoubtedly a very interesting time in 19th century England (this is the time when King George III was losing his marbles and the Pitt family flourished in politics as Whig Independents). But not all historical periods make for a great movie, so perhaps Brummell's tale just isn't that interesting to begin with? He was known for his love of clothes and gambling, and true enough he wasn't afraid to speak his mind, but on the screen it never ignites into anything blood stirring. It's an over talky piece that is low on action and skirts around the chances to keep the narrative spicey.

Perhaps the presence of Granger lends false an expectation of a swashbuckler? But even armed with prior knowledge that this is not that type of Granger movie doesn't prepare for how laborious the picture is at times. Thank god, then, for Ustinov, who practically makes sitting thru the movie worth it on his own. He plays the Prince of Wales as a self-involved neurotic, thriving on decadence as he becomes the King in waiting and shares a passion with Brummell for the finer things in life. But away from Ustinov the acting is hit and miss, with Granger only asked to be handsome and deliver lines with style, and Taylor looking radiant yet hardly able to put any heat into the simmering romance with Brummell. It would have been nice to have had more of Robert Morley as George III, while both Paul Rogers as William Pitt & James Donald as Lord Edwin Mercer hold their respective ends up well enough. While away from the actors there's some good production value with Morris' photography, as the English countryside comes to life and the interiors of Ockwells Manor in Berkshire fit snuggly for the period setting.

The core issues such as fashion, elegance and society standings may indeed be camera friendly, but the story around those things is sadly rather bland. 5/10
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Correcting public errors about Beau
ray-222338 May 2017
Whether one is a good or bad person doesn't figure for legitimacy as a biography either in a book or movie. Obviously some people haven't a background in literature. King Lear or either Macbeths weren't good people. The point is that Beau Brummell changed forever the way men dressed, conversed and behaved or 'misbehaved' in West End London and it spread throughout the world. If you look at your shirt or trouser or even you underwear you have him to thank for your own version of masculinity, heterosexuality, homosexuality or metrosexuality. Do some research.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Old-fashioned history thing
Mort-3126 December 2000
Sir Peter Ustinov has always been a good actor, even fifty years ago, I noticed when I spotted this movie on television. Is he really so small? Or did they just put so many tall actors around him? I don't know.

However, this is not the right stuff for a movie. It's directed and acted like a stage drama and that's what it should be. Being a film, the old-fashioned plot isn't able to thrill. I was tired anyway and it was hard not to fall asleep.
4 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's not keeping you in suspense
Thulemanden14 December 1999
Historically rather accurate after my reading of Thomas Paine on the situation concerning the rule of England in the period.

Of course Stewart Granger as Mr Brummel is a farce. Peter Ustinov as the Prince of Wales is doing a rather well show.
2 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed