Aging King George III of England (Sir Nigel Hawthorne) is exhibiting signs of madness, a problem little understood in 1788. As the monarch alternates between bouts of confusion and near-violent outbursts of temper, his hapless doctors attempt the ineffectual cures of the day. Meanwhile, Queen Charlotte (Dame Helen Mirren) and Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger (Julian Wadham) attempt to prevent the King's political enemies, led by the Prince of Wales (Rupert Everett), from usurping the throne.Written by
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Her Ladyship is game for anything. I just have to say the word! Skirts up! Legs in the air.
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Outstanding, impeccable, exquisitely done combination of tragedy and comedy...
THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE shows us how mad the ruler of England became at some point in time due to an illness doctors knew little about.
How his illness is treated is at the core of this story, when King George III is assigned a doctor (IAN HOLM) to use whatever means are necessary to restore sanity. All the while, court intrigue has everyone in parliament conspiring about appointing a Regent to take over the King's duties. His son, the Prince of Wales (RUPERT EVERETT) is more then willing to replace his father on the throne.
Much of it is played for fine comic effect with many nuances and comic timing in spite of the seriousness of the central character's illness. NIGEL HAWTHORNE recreates his London stage role, playing the part of the mad king to perfection. HELEN MIRREN is highly satisfactory as his wife who wants nothing more than to see him make a complete recovery and RUPERT GRAVES is fine in one of the more low-key roles as one of the King's supportive aids.
As usual in all of these British historical pieces, the settings, costumes, photography, art direction--all are exquisite. The photography is a marvel at suggesting that only candlelight illuminates many of the scenes so that it's like watching a series of fine paintings come to life. Effective use of Handel's music provides solid support throughout.
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